LMC Thursday: All About Reeds

Musical Selections

Vibrato Exercise

#13 Oh Danny Boy from Blue Moon Bassoon Songbook

Tenor Clef

  • Tenor clef is a musical staff notation that helps bassoonists read high notes without having too many ledger lines.

  • The 4th Line is our flick key C.

  • Most often used in challenging etudes, advanced solos, and orchestral music.

  • Most students begin learning tenor clef around 8th grade.

Lifecycle of a Reed

  • Baby: flat, buzzy, loud, responsive

  • Middle Aged: stable, mostly in tune, comfortable

  • Dead: stuffy, sharp, muted, resistant

Caring for Your Reeds

Anatomy of a Reed

  • Tip & Aperture

  • Heart

  • Rails

  • Channels

  • Spine

  • Collar

  • Butt

Reed Tools & Supplies

Forming and Finishing a Reed

Buying Reeds

  • Most ore bought reeds are inconsistent and don't play easily or in tune with good tone

  • Best option: handmade by your private lesson teacher

  • Handmade by Professional Bassoon Reed Makers

Exploration Questions

  1. What is tenor clef and what is it used for?

  2. What is the lifecycle of a reed?

  3. What reed adjustments can I make to improve pitch and response?

  4. Where can I find good reeds?


For more information about making or adjusting reeds, check out these videos!