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Bassoon

The bassoon is the bass member of the woodwind family. Like the oboe it has a double reed and overblows an octave higher. The bassoon is considered to have a register tone similar to that of the human voice, particularly in the central and upper register. The instrument has a significant length (slightly over 8 feet), made playable by doubling the tube back on itself. A metal keying system is vital to allow the player to operate the widely spaced holes, which control pitch. A large relative, the contrabassoon (or double bassoon), plays an octave lower.

The range of the bassoon begins at Bb0 (the first one below the bass staff) and extends upward about three and a half octaves; higher notes are possible but difficult to produce and very rarely called for. Bassoon music is written in untransposed bass clef (the contrabassoon, like the double bass, reads an octave above the sounding pitch), while tenor clef is frequently used for the higher ranges.



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