Topic: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

For the high B at the end of the first movement in the first bassoon part, is there anything I can do to make it even softer? (But still in tune...) I am using my normal fingering.

It seems like every rehearsal I get told that I am too loud, but I swear I'm playing as soft as I possibly can and have worked it out with reeds that I think play it incredibly soft. Is this just a case for a magic reed? I figure I can't really do much differently before next Monday, but it's worth a shot. I'm excited about the rest of the piece!

By the way, the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic (Dr. Lucia Matos, conductor) is performing the Brahms Tragic Overture, Mozart Horn Concerto No.2 (John Fairfield, horn professor, soloist) and Scheherazade on Monday Nov. 24th at 8pm in DeKalb, IL.

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Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

Hi Alexis,

Try:    High C key, 1 & 2 fingers left hand, Eb Key,  1st finger  right hand and F key.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

Assuming your normal fingering is such:

     Eb
x x o | x x o F
c          Bb

You can remove the Eb and Bb keys to make the pitch quite low and the color dark, so that counteracts the tendency to go sharp when getting very quiet up there.  So the fingering becomes:

x x o | x x o F
c

Very similar to Mark's suggestion, probably flatter.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

Check the Toplansky Book too, for a modified high b.  If the upper winds aren't well blended and sweet sounding, the bassoon WILL stick out because our third overtone is so strong. The bassoon sonority will actually renforce the other instruments. I know that doesn't help but at least you know why. As always, we do depend on our colleagues to help as well. I suspect that place isn't easy for anyone.

Last edited by Vincent Ellin (2008-11-20 01:46:39)

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Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

Instead of the right thumb on the Bb key, use the F# key.

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Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

A small change to this fingering for high B

x x o | x x o F
c

is to play it

x x o | x x o Ab
c

Best wishes, Christopher Weait

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: Scheherazade - 1st movement pianissimo high B

One more option: using the whisper key lock (and no LH pinky resonance key) on the high B will lower it nicely. It's a fingering I use also at the end of the first movement of the St-Saëns Sonata, and if you have time to put it on for/during the last arpeggio (from the low D) then the G to high B slur is also improved. Good luck on Monday, by the way!

Last edited by levesque_montreal (2008-11-22 11:31:00)

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