Topic: Low Db/Eb-Shake

Can anybody suggest a suitable fingering for rapid Db/Eb-Shakes?

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Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

Get one of these!

http://ortweinwoodwinds.com/product/hig … trill-key/

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

I second Mark's suggestion. I have this as a permanent key on my bassoon. Not terribly common to need it, but when you do it's pretty invaluable.

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: Low Db/Eb-Shake

Basically, no -- there isn't a satisfactory fingering for the low Db/Eb trill, with German-system bassoons (or contrabassoons) with standard keywork. In fact, I have pointed out this deficiency to several composers, and I still remember the grumbling from a teacher of mine when he was given such a passage in a new orchestral work.

Mark's device is one way to do so.

There are several kinds of keywork that can be added to an instrument -- at a cost, of course. Such keywork can add capabilities beyond the trill, such as facilitating tricky fast low passages (e.g. Tchaikovsky symphonies).

Heckel, Fox, and others list such keywork options. You can see the Fox examples on their website.

Bob Williams has a paragraph on this topic in a monograph on his website: http://www.womblewilliams.net/bassoon-helps.html

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Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

If the music doesn't descend below the Db and you time have to to insert a wedge, you can put one under the bridge by the Low Eb key to hold Low Db open.  Handy for licks like the 2nd bassoon passage in Chance's Variations on a Korean Folk Song.

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Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

Looks great Mark, since I have worn all the silver plate off of my keys, I just soldered a small nickel silver plate for a C# thumb spatula. Actually, the other option is to, ( strong pinky required), hold the low C key and wiggle between the low C# and D# keys. The key is to not lift off the three left hand finger holes. It's a little inconsistent and you need to find a position on the rollers to slide the pinkey back and forth, but if you need it now, it can work.

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

I've had a low C#/D# trill mechanism on every bassoon I have owned since I purchased my first Heckel from the factory in 1969.  When I was in the process of ordering a new Fox 601 I spoke to Chip Owen at the Fox Factory and he highly recommended the "Mechanism" that is a separate key that both opens the C# key and closes the C key versus the "Key" that simply is soldiered to the C# rod.  The "Key" is much more awkward to use as you have to press both the "Key" and the low C key together to get it to work.  I find as I get older I am using the "Mechanism" more as an alternate low C# then as a trill key as the trill does not come along very often.  I can think of only three works where I have had to use the "Mechanism" as a trill key in my 45 year professional career.  Mahler "V", a Kurt Weil Symphony that I can't remember the number and the the Chance "Variations on a Korean Theme".

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Re: Low Db/Eb-Shake

rswbassoon wrote:

I've had a low C#/D# trill mechanism on every bassoon I have owned since I purchased my first Heckel from the factory in 1969.  When I was in the process of ordering a new Fox 601 I spoke to Chip Owen at the Fox Factory and he highly recommended the "Mechanism" that is a separate key that both opens the C# key and closes the C key versus the "Key" that simply is soldiered to the C# rod.  The "Key" is much more awkward to use as you have to press both the "Key" and the low C key together to get it to work.  I find as I get older I am using the "Mechanism" more as an alternate low C# then as a trill key as the trill does not come along very often.  I can think of only three works where I have had to use the "Mechanism" as a trill key in my 45 year professional career.  Mahler "V", a Kurt Weil Symphony that I can't remember the number and the the Chance "Variations on a Korean Theme".

That is a nice advancement on the simple alt C# thumb lever mechanism. A bit overly complicated, but I bet it is a smooth key to operate.

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