Bassoon

The bassoon is a double-reed instrument in the woodwind family. Music written in tenor and brass registers is suitable for the bassoon. It is an instrument with a history of greater than four centuries. Together with the flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and contrabassoon, it covers the role of the bass and tenor instrument of the orchestra.

Bassoon history

The 16th century ancestor of the bassoon was given many names: fagot for the French, dulcian for the Germans, bajon for the Spanish, curtal for the English, and fagotto for the Italians. This was not made of four separate sections like in the modern bassoon but was made of only one piece of wood.

In the 1700’s, there were six varieties of curtal based on length. The French later on developed into a four-piece musical instrument. During the time of Mozart, it had six keys but, during Hayden’s, the 17 to 24 key versions arose.

It elevated its status in the orchestra during the 18th century wherein orchestral and major solo music was made for it. Bassoons for military bands, tenoroons, and sub contrabassoons were created in the 19th century. It was released from the curse of playing the continuo part. Nowadays, it is played in opera, symphony orchestra, and in contemporary musicals.

Structure

There are six major pieces of the bassoon. The bell extends upward. The tenor joint connects the bell and the boot which is at the bottom of the instrument. Fourth is the wing joint which is from boot to crook in length while fifth is the crook, a metal tube that joins the reed and wing joint. And last but certainly not the least is the reed.

Bassoons today are commonly made of pearwood or maple such as sugar maple and sycamore maple. If you prefer less expensive ones, you can also have those that are made of ebonite or polypropylene which are usually for the outdoors and beginner’s use.

Its normal range is about 3 octaves, from B1flat to E5flat. The tube, 2.79 m (9 ft 2 in) long, is bent to make a height of 1.22 m (4 ft) and consists of a metal crook on which the reed is placed and four sections of maple or pearwood: the tenor, the butt, the bass, and the bell.

Bassoons in modern ensembles

Two bassoons are typically required in today’s symphony orchestra with the first used in solo passages. It is also a valuable bass in the woodwind choirs.

Its function in the wind band is the same to its function in the orchestra. It is quite significant because it is a component of the wind quintet instrumentation standard. The quartet has recently also become popular.

Basics of playing

Here are the basics of playing the bassoon. It is diagonally held in front. Regrettably, it cannot be propped up by the hands of the player alone. A seat strap or a neck strap is required to play it to give additional support.

It is played with the left hand above the right hand. There are 5 major finger holes at the front and one open-standing key. The little fingers handle five added keys at the front while the thumb manipulates no less than twelve keys at the back. Many bassoonist use a crutch to support the right hand. It makes it easier to flatten the finger pads against the keys and finger holes.

Five Beginner Tips for Starting A Music Box Collection

Copyright 2006 Monique Hawkins

Music boxes, as we know them today have been around at least since the end of the 18th century. The finest artisans in Europe created them and brought music into family homes when there were really no other types of music entertainment for homes. Music boxes performed the popular music of their day; songs from the opera, traditional songs, and hymns. Because of their unique history and other reasons, collecting music boxes is a hobby greatly enjoyed for music box and some antique collectors. Some collectors like collecting music boxes such as antique music boxes, inlaid music boxes, ballerina music boxes, and carousel music boxes. For those who are currently looking to begin collecting, here are five tips to assist in this process.

#1: Decide on how much you are willing to spend. You could end up with lots of music boxes, but are poor in quality. Or, you might decide to collect more valuable, high quality music boxes. If this were the case, your collection would start off slowly. Take your time and do what is best for you.

#2: Take your individual taste into account. This will influence what types of music boxes you will collect. Some collectors might prefer only miniature pieces, or rare music boxes. Others music box collectors might desire to focus on disc boxes, Regina’s, Stella’s, or objects d’ art.

#3: Consider starting a collection made up with a variety of music boxes. You might desire this so that you don’t get bored with having the same type of box. Choose from cylinder music boxes, disc musical boxes, polyphons, or Stella music boxes. The lesson here is that having a hodge podge of music boxes is just fine!

#4: Have a plan as to how you would like to develop your collection. Next, take the necessary steps to see it come alive! Also, consider space. If you have limited space, you will have to be creative, especially if you like to collect large music boxes.

#5: When going to purchase a music box for your collection, always check for those things that demand immediate attention such as rust. If need be, restore it when you have the time and money. It is always a good rule of thumb to look carefully after all the music boxes you have in your collection.

Starting a music box collection can be a fun process. Whether you are collecting a antique music box, inlaid music box, carousel music box, ballerina music boxes, or other types of music boxes, follow these five tips and be on your way to starting an outstanding music box collection.

Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is hollow-bodied and uses only acoustic techniques to produce sound which means it does not have electric amplification. Its name is a retronym of the electric guitar to differentiate them from each other. Its strings could be made of steel or nylon while its top plate could be made of cedar or spruce. At the top is a circular hole with a diameter of 3.25 inches to 3.5 inches which strengthens and reinforces the produced sound.

Sound production

Generally, guitars produce sound through the strings’ vibration. The increase of volume is done by the sound box consisting of a resonant cavity and a soundboard. The vibration of the strings also causes vibration of the soundboard. It has a much larger area than the strings which means that is also produces a louder sound.

Sound waves are created coming from the back and front panels as the soundboard is vibrating. The sound box serves as a resonant cavity and reflects the sound waves produced. The sound volume increases greatly compared to the primary volume created by the strings. Some sound is then projected out of the hole.

Acoustic guitar qualities

The acoustic guitar has eight basic qualities ? volume, balance, dynamic range, cutting power, tone, presence, sustain, and separation.

Some guitars have a higher volume compared to others but it does not mean that these guitars produce better sound output. There are many other qualities to consider. Calling a guitar balances means that all of its notes have the same level of power. The guitar should not have too much midrange.

The dynamic range is the ability of the guitar to easily switch from very loud to very soft. The cutting power is the capability of the guitar to be audible even when accompanying other instruments. This does not mean that a guitar must always be loud but it means fitting and filling dry areas instead.

The variation of tone depends on the acoustic guitar’s material and method of construction. Even if two guitars are from the same manufacturer and are the same model, these do not have exactly the same sound. The presence refers to the quality and distinguished sound produced when playing the guitar both softly and loudly.

The sustain is how long a note will sound well after picking the string while separation is hearing the individual notes distinctly.

Different playing styles

A few guitar styles aside from the regular guitar playing are bluegrass playing, blues, jazz, big band, lap style, flamenco, and classical playing. A guitar style has a suitable type of guitar. Smaller guitars made of mahogany are very good for blues while nylon string guitars made with rosewood are for classical playing.

Flamenco playing is best with nylon string guitars made with Spanish cypress which are thinner than the classical guitar.

Acoustic guitar care

The best way to keep the acoustic guitar from accumulating dirt is using a case for storage protection but you could also use a cover. Choose a guitar cover that is easy to take off and put on and has a fabric material.

To avoid sweat marks on your guitar, you could wear a sweat band when playing. Place it below the elbow or wherever area in your arm that rests on the guitar’s side. Use a brush to buff and remove light scratches on the pickguard. If the scratch is deeper, use water sand and sand paper and micro mesh sand papers and buff the pickguard after.

Use a tiny piece of thin cardboard folded in half to clean stings and frets every week. Hook the folded cardboard under a string and slide it up and down to remove the dirt and oil that has built up.