Topic: Flick Fingering

I have a question about flick fingerings that I would like some feedback about.  Recently in a master class the question arose about when to use the A key or the B key for A above the staff.  Once I heard Richard Svoboda say that in a very fast passage, such as the scale early in the Mozart Concerto that goes up to high F, he would leave the b key down for both the A, Bb and C because he got a cleaner passage than if he tried to move from the A to the the Bb key.  Experimenting with both the A and Bb key for the notes A and Bb above the staff I found on my instrument that the A and Bb were slightly higher in pitch when using the B key rather than the A, not usually a bad thing on my Fox 601.  Have others found the same? Sometimes I use the flick keys as part of the fingering rather than just as a quick flick as I know many others do.  Dr. Matthew Ruggiero always taught that fingerings, whether flicked or not, depended on the musical passage.  Since the proper intonation of a note depends on the context and is not a fixed matter, I wonder what others do regarding the use of the flick A and B keys for the specifically for A above the staff.  I also refer to these as keys as octave or speaker keys with my students so they get a full understanding as to their use and to the nomenclature of bassoon technique. Any Fox players as well as others who respond would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dale Clark

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Re: Flick Fingering

Hi Dale

I prefer to use the keys as "register keys" i.e generally hold them down for the duraton of the note and not flick esp if the note is to be held for any length, risking a croak or break in the tone. However on my Puchner (which has a link between the A key and the bocal key), I find that both A & Bb can be played using the A register key and that Bb B and C work best with the B register key. i.e Bb can be used with either depending on the passage. If only going to Bb and back down, I won'r worry about changing register key but if the B,C are involved I will move up (usually on the Bb if iti is part of the run). Vey occasionally I may find Bb unstable in pitch with the B key, then I will use the A key instead. "Horses for courses".

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Flick Fingering

Thanks, Neville.

I often incorporate the register key fo the length of the note instead of just flicking, and do also use that term with my students.  The flicking method I will use for certain passages as you do in case I'm moving quickly to a note especially in another register.  I have found that method books in the UK often teach using the register keys as oart of the note and when I taught a couple of bassoonists at the Cork School of Music that the students weren't aware you could even play A, B, Bb, or C above the staff without the register keys.

Best,
Dale

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Re: Flick Fingering

As far as your original question is concerned regarding pitch on the A, I also find on my Moosmann that the A is slightly higher in pitch when used with the B key.  It's also a bit off when the A key is used as part of the fingering rather than just flicked, however - just a tiny tad sharp.  Having said that, it's easier for me personally to hold the speaker key down rather than flick,  so I usually just compensate by lipping down........

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Re: Flick Fingering

Hey Dale,

I do what Svoboda does.  I just make sure I'm thinking a lower on the A.  Keeping the A key down doesn't work as well on my horn.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: Flick Fingering

I play on a 601.

I do basically the same. My default is to depress the A speaker key for the A, the C speaker key for the Bb, B and C. If the passage is too fast, I depress the C key for the A as well. The A does go sharp with the C speaker key, but it's unnoticeable or, at worst, barely noticeable if the passage is fast enough, and the improved clarity of attack is worth it.

My A speaker key has an A bridge. Closing the whisper key partially offsets the increase in pitch caused by the A speaker key. That's not part of your question, but I thought I'd mention it in case it's helpful.

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Re: Flick Fingering

The A bridge is something that I don't have on my instrument and a possibility I might consider when i have my yearly service.  Thanks for the reminder, William.

Dale

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Re: Flick Fingering

I will add my two cents, as I have been playing a Fox 601. I will use the C key for the A if I HAVE to, but I find the pitch better for the A with the A key itself but only if I have the time. I always use the A key for Marriage of Figaro (of course !!) I do have the bridge key with the A key and I am using a Heckel bocal instead of a Fox because I've never felt comfortable with the Foxes....sorry Alan.

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Re: Flick Fingering

You're welcome, Dale. I think it's a worthy addition to the instrument.

In my experience, there is exactly one pitch that is adversely affected by the high A bridge: the G above the treble clef staff. Unless you plan to perform Ligeti (piano concerto? violin concerto?), it's probably not a big deal. Even if so, the bridge (at least in the Fox implementation) is easy to deactivate: just remove the roller. All the rest benefit from it.

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Re: Flick Fingering

William,

I can understand that the A bridge would make the A key a more effective vent just as closing the whisper key makes half-hole vents more effective. I don't understand how the A bridge effects the high G. You don't activate the bridge when using that note do you? Can you clarify?

Thanks,
Dale

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Re: Flick Fingering

I'll clarify best I can.

What I colloquially call the "stupid-high G" (G above the treble clef staff) is fingered as follows: left hand first finger and the A vent. (Do you know a different fingering?)

If there's an A bridge, then opening the A vent closes the whisper key.

I do not know specifically why closing the whisper key vent makes the stupid-high G speak with more difficulty; I just know from experience that it does. Of course, it's a very difficult note to produce to begin with, requiring a high note reed and/or high note bocal.

It was really a throwaway comment on my side. Basically, the high A bridge works great and causes virtually no problems.

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Re: Flick Fingering

High Gs are stupid. The few that I have seen have rarely been worth the effort.

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Re: Flick Fingering

Sorry, I should have noted above the "treble clef staff" not bass clef.  I'm not too worried about high G's most of the time. 

Dale

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