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Bassoon

Instruments in the woodwind family used to all be made of wood, hence the name, but now they can be made of wood, metal, plastic, or some combination of materials. They are all tubes with an opening at one end and a mouthpiece at the other end. They each have rows of holes that are covered by metal caps called keys. Pressing on different keys produces different musical notes – the sound changes depending on where the air leaves the instrument (through one of the keyholes or out the far end). There are three ways in which the woodwind family creates sound: by blowing air across the edge of or into the mouthpiece (flute or piccolo), by blowing air between a single reed and a fixed surface (clarinet and bass clarinet), or by blowing air between two reeds (oboe, English horn, bassoon, and contrabassoon).

A bassoon is a double-reed woodwind instrument having a long U-shaped conical tube connected to the mouthpiece by a thin metal tube and a usual range of two octaves lower than that of the oboe. When the player blows air between the reeds, the vibrating column of air inside the instrument travels over nine feet to the bottom of the instrument, then up to the top where the sound comes out! Luckily, the bassoon comes apart into pieces for easy transport. There is a complex key work system to allow this large instrument to utilize its three-octave range with considerable agility.

Sources:

Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "In chamber-orchestra formation, with restricted audiences, the Dallas Symphony soldiers on," 2 Oct. 2020 (Accessed October 28, 2020)

“Bassoon.” The Merriam-Webster.Com Dictionary, 1828, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bassoon#other-words.(Accessed October 28, 2020)

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