The bassoon is the biggest and longest woodwind instrument. It has an impressive range, which means it can play a great many notes, from very low to very high. In the upper register, the bassoon sounds very beautiful and lyrical, and in the lower register it can sound very robust, or even comical. In cartoons, you often hear a low bassoon portraying certain types of characters, like a dinosaur, a bear, an elephant or a grandfather.
The bassoon has a double reed which is attached to an S-shaped tube. The sound is produced by the vibrations made by the reed when you blow on it. The shape and material of the large tube determine the characteristic timbre of the bassoon.
De buis is voorzien van gaten en kleppen. Door alle gaten en kleppen dicht te houden met je vingers krijg je de laagste toon. By making the tube shorter öne key at a time”, the note produced is higher and higher. The bassoon is the bass of the woodwind group. It can play so low because the tube has a total length of 2.59 metres! That would of course be much too big to handle, which is why the tube is folded in half.
The double-folded tube can also be taken apart in 5 sections, which allows it to fit in a case which can be easily carried. You can start to learn the bassoon from the age of 8 (approximately). If you are not yet 8, or not very big, you could begin on the fagottino (a smaller bassoon) until you are big enough for a full-size bassoon.
The bassoon is used in almost every type of orchestra and ensemble, so it is always possible to play with others. In a big symphony orchestra, you sometimes see a contrabassoon. This is even bigger than the regular bassoon and sounds even lower. It is a spectacular instrument – the tube is 5.96 metres long, and has to be folded in four so that the size is manageable enough to play it!