Good Studies or practicing materials for contrabassoon

The IDRS Forum is an archived resource. Some boards will remain open for discussions. Visit the Marketplace to list items for sale, or the Community Events and Openings page to list and search job openings, community shared events, and educational openings. Visit the IDRS Fingering page to search and suggest fingerings.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home Forums Pedagogy Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips Good Studies or practicing materials for contrabassoon

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #89246
    Tony Liu

    Can anyone suggest some good materials for practicing contra bassoon???My school has recently bought a second-handed contra and I found that it is quite difficult for me to find basic stuffs to practice.


    Terry B. Ewell


    You might want to pick up a book of studies for the contrabassoon. There are several available (Piard etc.)

    I suggest first, however, you settle on fingerings that will work for your instrument. Here is a website that provides contrabassoon fingerings for the German System bassoon:


    This site explains the ascii fingering representation:


    Contrabassoons are often out of tune so I suggest practicing with drones. Here are free mp3 files of drones I created:


    Good practicing!


    Trent Jacobs

    Practice some of the easier Weissenborn book sections. Any music for bassoon designed at a high school or lower level will also work great. You can also try checking out some trombone books for the same level, as they might be easier to find.

    Harry Searing

    My teacher in high school had me work on the Bach Cello Suites – on the contra!

    Why not? It’s good music.

    Matthew Harvell
    DaHah wrote:
    My teacher in high school had me work on the Bach Cello Suites – on the contra!

    Why not? It’s good music.

    For whatever it is worth, I totally agree with this general concept which kind of goes along with what Trent suggested above, too. I think that the contra needs to be treated pretty much the same as any other instrument in terms of technical progression. For instance, many people I have met who are learning to play contra never think to practice scales, arpeggios, etc. on the instrument. It seems that the contra practice is often treated as “utility” practice: One practices whatever and only whatever fingerings and scales and the like that are needed for whatever piece of music is put on the stand that week.

    I think that it is best to simply treat the contra as a separate instrument in its own right (IMHO, this tends to simplify the thought process around reeds and fingerings/hand position) that just happens to have a similar range to the bassoon rather than thinking of it as a modified/handicapped bassoon. If you do this then playing the Bach Suites and etudes such as the Milde Scale Studies, etc. isn’t a strange thought. Sure the high register is a lot more difficult and certain pitches are really a pain to get out in a consistent manner (I think this is true for everyone not playing a contraforte or Arlen’s new system Fox contra, anyway :) but, well, that’s what practice is all about.

    I always figure that if I can play this other stuff cleanly and in tune, even if I have to go pretty slowly in the really high register at times, then all of the stuff in the standard repertoire is “cake” by comparison and this is what I’m after – not that I achieve it NEARLY as often as I hope!

    Have fun,

    Matthew Harvell
    Richmond Symphony Orchestra

    William Safford

    I agree with all the info posted to this thread.

    In addition, once you have progressed beyond the basics (e.g. Weissenborn), here are three method books that are very useful for the aspiring contrabassoonist:

    Seltmann, Das Fagott, volume 6

    Orchesterstudien fur KFG

    Piard, Enseignement du Contrabasson

    The first two are available for purchase from companies such as Trevco.

    The last is out of print and difficult to locate.

    All three emphasize orchestral excerpts. For example, Das Fagott has orchestral excerpts, and also etudes (written by Victor Bruns, if I recall correctly) based on orchestral excerpts.

    Best wishes!

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

The forum ‘Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips’ is closed to new topics and replies.