What are the five elements of beautiful tone production on the bassoon?
What is the difference between air pressure and volume?
What is the bocalphone?
What elements affect pitch and how can we combine them to play in tune?
On the first day of LMC 2019 we discussed the 5 Elements of Beautiful Tone Production and how we can practice them individually to improve our tone and intonation.
Breathing: how we inhale and prepare to play
Relax shoulders and jaw, breathe calmly and deeply through the mouth
Breathe in a way that complements the music, create space to breathe
Anchor the reed one one lip to create a stable foundation and reset faster
Breathing exercises can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety!
Exercise: Set metronome to 72, Do each line twice (In/Out)
Embouchure: how we connect our lips to the reed
Avoid north south pressure on the reed, use more east-west pressure. Squeezing the reed closes the tip, raises the pitch and makes your sound thin.
Lips are round, corners firm
Exercise: Play F on the Reed, Play C or C# on the Bocal with the tuner.
Support: pressurizing the air in a way that works for the register in which you are playing
Pressure = air speed, how fast is the air
Volume = air quantity, how much air
Low notes use big, slow, warm air
High notes use small, fast, cold air
Exercise: Play C# on the bocal, relax jaw and drop to C, use air to raise it up to C# again
Vowel: the shape of the inside of your mouth
"OO" -focused and "OH" - open are great for most notes
Use "EE" if you need to raise the pitch and faster air isn't enough
Use "AH" or "OH" to lower the pitch and for low notes
Changing the vowel can change the response and intonation of a note
Fingerings: the combinations of keys and fingers we use
Select fingerings that match other notes well, play in tune and work with your music
Use a good fingering chart
Half Hole G: Always use the resonance key!
E-flat: use the "long" fingering with left and right hands
A-flat/F-sharp: can be played with pinkies or thumbs. I typically use thumb for low F-sharp and pinky for half hole F-sharp but this depends on the notes around it. I always use pinky A-flat.