Sharp bassoon

    
Sharp bassoon    08:22 on Thursday, April 5, 2007          

fagotten
(24 points)
Posted by fagotten

Hi
Silly question but would getting a longer crook/bocal flatten my sharp bassoon? It sounds almost a semitone sharper than my piano and flute... over its entire range. I am about to join a wind band and dont want to be horrendously out of tune!
There is no number on my crook/bocal.
I have tried a lose embouchure to lower the notes but this is tiring and makes the notes unstable not to mention the tone quality going.
Would a longer bocal solve my problem?
Are American instruments tuned to a slightly higher pitch?
Thanks lovely people


Re: Sharp bassoon    11:22 on Thursday, April 5, 2007          

fagotten
(24 points)
Posted by fagotten

Found a number 1 on the crook!


Re: Sharp bassoon    12:51 on Thursday, April 5, 2007          

crawford
(4 points)
Posted by crawford

Hi,
You can, of course, get a crook with a zero which will sharpen things a bit however the bassoon is susceptible to a wide range of pitch control by the embouchure and I would seriously consider some minor experiments with different reed types to get to a better pitch without so much compromise of quality. Incidentally, is there a previous owner who could give his/ her observations, or an experienced player who could test the instrument?
Crawford.


Re: Sharp bassoon    13:33 on Thursday, April 5, 2007          

fagotten
(24 points)
Posted by fagotten

Thanks for the reply

Ive no idea who the previous owner was but it looks like there were originally 2 crooks.
Ive been experimenting with lengthening the existing no.1 crook with tubes of paper and it does flatten the instrument considerably by adding 1/4 inch to the end of the crook....
I am now looking for a no.2 crook before next tuesday lol
As for reeds, I am using a handmade reed from the local music shop which is very good!
Got right up to a top F!! even if a little sharp lol

All the best

Andy


Re: Sharp bassoon    17:29 on Thursday, April 5, 2007          

crawford
(4 points)
Posted by crawford

Andy,
Sorry I seem to have got confused dashing off a reply to you.Of course a 2 will flatten the pitch a bit, but don't raise your hopes, and anyway a decent crook costs! I see you have been an oboist --- almost speaks for itself; also getting high F with a reed is good fun but such a reed, however good you say it is, is just what you don't want; it is probably very stable, quite hard, and not easy to control wrt. pitch.In short, either your bassoon is not in tune itself (not terribly likely)or you have a sharpening reed and/or an inflexible (oboist's) embouchure.
regards,
Crawford


Re: Sharp bassoon    08:44 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

contra448
(771 points)
Posted by contra448

Hi Andy

You can't go by number when looking for a longer crook as there is no standardisation eg Heckel 2 = Fox 3. Also I have 2 Monnig crooks here stamped '2' which are not the same length!

As Crawford says if you can get a top F (By which I assume you mean top of the treble stave) your reed is almost certainly too hard for the normal range.

Ian


Re: Sharp bassoon    08:55 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

contra448
(771 points)
Posted by contra448

I've just noticed in your original post you say it is sounding about a semi-tone sharp - no crook will compensate for that.

Relax! - you're not playing the oboe now

Ian


Re: Sharp bassoon    08:57 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

contra448
(771 points)
Posted by contra448

.... or you could get the brain working & transpose everything down a semi-tone

Ian


Re: Sharp bassoon    10:59 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

fagotten
(24 points)
Posted by fagotten

LOL

Thankyou. I think the deeper you get into these things the more complicated they become hehe

Transpose everything?? You got to be kidding hehe Its hard enough reading the tenor clef! Might have to transpose though to save face at a new band.

I couldnt get top F today, I think my lip muscles have given up lol

Cheers fellas

Andy


Re: Sharp bassoon    12:06 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

Drew
(371 points)
Posted by Drew

All the previous posters are right - the modern thinking with bassoon embouchure nowadays is to have a more relaxed one, often not as easy as it sounds when it comes to the crunch! I wondered, however, if your bocal, which sounds like it ought to be a No. 2 instead of a No. 1 for your bassoon (I never use my No. 1 bocal), has worn cork and is going all the way down into the wing joint. Your whisper key will set the height within certain limits but you do have some leeway, and if you can keep your bocal vent up at the top of the whisper key pad, then you have done everything you can with that shorter bocal. If it goes way down into the wing joint, you can try to get that bocal re-corked so it stays up a bit higher. This will give you more length. Other than that, I'd opt for a new No. 2 bocal, as this will definitely flatten the bassoon a little.


Re: Sharp bassoon    12:12 on Friday, April 6, 2007          

Account Closed
(904 points)
Posted by Account Closed

Try wetting the reed more or less, for me, I had to soak the reeds longer than normal to fix tone problems.


Re: Sharp bassoon    15:00 on Monday, April 16, 2007          

Ruth88
(168 points)
Posted by Ruth88

I've generally been told that you should play on the shortest crook possible to encourage a relaxed embouchure. However, as you've realised, sometimes a #1 crook is just too sharp (I myself play on a 2 aswel). It probably will make quite a considerable difference, dunno if it'll make a semitone though.
Like someone else said, a decent crook is v.expensive. Here in the UK they're a couple of hundred pounds at least. Don't rush into buying one, because they make a big difference to your bassoon! Try them all out just like you would a whole bassoon to see whether you like it.
I personally have no idea how different american instruments are. However, heat and humidity will make your instrument sharper.
.....how did you manage to play with bits of paper lengthening your crook? :s
other small things that might help (generally if not with tuning) is make sure your crook is cleaned from any gunk that might be in there. And clean your reed too, you should do that every couple of days if you play a lot. I have a small dental brush which is perfect for cleaning out reeds. Try to not store or play your bassoon in a hot room. (though, needless to say, not really cold either)
If not... bassoon tuning can be dodgy anyway :p
Hope some of this helps
Ruth


Re: Sharp bassoon    15:05 on Monday, April 16, 2007          

Ruth88
(168 points)
Posted by Ruth88

Ok, just posted a reply then looked at your profile after - and you're an oboeist and a bassoonist with grade 8 distinction?? You're probably better than I am, lol! I'm a mere 1st year bassoonist with grade 8 merit. I apologise if any of that sounded patronising at all as i'm sure you must know most of what i said.
Just out of curiosity, which college were you at? And how did you manage to study the oboe and have time to get to that standard with no lessons?


Re: Sharp bassoon    08:08 on Tuesday, April 17, 2007          

fagotten
(24 points)
Posted by fagotten

Hello Ruth

Thanks for the advice. I didnt think any of it sounded patronising at all.....it was really helpful!
I went to South-East Derbyshire Music Centre for a couple of years where I learnt the oboe at the age of 16! The college had a couple of bassoons in the store cupboard and I decided to have a go out of curiosity and became 'hooked'....next thing i knew i was taking grade 8!!! Our music teacher was very ambitious LOL There was a bassoon teacher on Saturday mornings (Joanne Taft?) and I remember having a few lessons with her....but I mostly taught myself. Without the experience of the oboe I would have never been able to get to that standard in such a short time.
As ive said, all this was 20 years ago and I feel Ive forgot most of what I knew then and am trying to get back to a reasonable standard....it takes time!
I have bought a longer crook and it has helped. (the tube of paper worked for a few notes then became damp and useless)
All the best
Andy


   




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