“No, it's not a fucking oboe!”
The bassoon is a musical instrument invented in 1615 by the Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci. No other instrument has been judged irritating enough to keep the birds and Mongolians away. A decline in agricultural usage has been largely attributed to the invention of the bagpipes. More recently, it has been misapplied in various places in the Third World to scatter demonstrations critical of the ruling junta and to torture political prisoners.
The bassoon is vital for survival on isolated islands when stranded. The bassoon can be used to scare off predators, make a long lasting fire, and alert rescuers within a twenty-mile radius. The lack of a good bassoon is why the characters in the TV show Lost have not been found yet.
The bassoon should not be confused with the faggot. Despite apparent superficial similarities, they are actually identical musical instruments, but played by different people.
The bassoon is known for its lovingly soothing sounds (for fans of flatulence) and its incidental use as a lethal weapon. It is approximately 3/10 of a league long and weighs about 2 stones. If thrown correctly (this is known as the "perfect pitch"), it can drop large game animals. The technical term for its shape is the "bong." Despite the bassoon's odd sound and look, it is a little better than the oboe and a lot better than the viola.
Bassoonists are good-natured, light-sensitive, and reticent creatures, who can be quaint and whimsical. With advancing age, their coat becomes quite gray. Their bassoon is their bride; once the Overture is over, they look forward to the 5th Act when they have perhaps a measure-long solo to play. The bassoon takes about 5 times as much air as a clarinet, and because of the double reed, bassoonists need to have exceptional "tongue stuff."
They do NOT, under any circumstances, associate themselves or their instruments with trumpets, lower brass or flutes. Hornists, however, are a bassoonist’s friend.
Bassoonists cannot be in marching band, as it tends to result in poked-out eyes and/or death by reed inhalation. To remedy this, many bassoonists choose to play other suitable instruments during the marching season, such as saxophone, clarinet, or kazoo.
Types of Bassoonists
There are many different kinds of bassoonists; the male are usually total faggots (named after the Italian name for bassoon, faggotto), but there are times (very few) when the males are actually tolerable. On your journey through the Double Reed Kingdom, we figure that you might want to know how to determine what species they are.
This girl is generally pretty laid back so she can still enjoy the quirky interactions between members of the section, but also has a lot of inner drive that allows her to overcome her rivals. She generally doesn't care what others think of her since she has to play her naturally quiet bassoon loud and well enough to a) make the bassoon section heard and b) drown out the awful low brass. She is generally very proud of her well-earned abilities, but underplays her cockiness. Still, everyone knows she's awesome and probably smarter than everyone else in the band (depending on the mental capacity of the 1st chair clarinettist).
Knowing that there are significantly fewer bassoonists around the country than say, for example, clarinettists, this girl will stick with band through high school and play her parts tolerably well in order to hopefully get some extra points with the colleges she applies to. This girl generally avoids mentioning the fact she doesn't intend to play at all once she actually gets to college, but still milks the mediocre contributions she has made for all they're worth. No one has ever heard her play any louder than mezzo-forte. Band is a social time to her, so she's there for the other bassoonists' entertainment, and to hold the really long notes when the soloist feels like taking a break mid-song.
This girl cares nothing for the amazing art of bassooning, she just is friends with the gay guy. She (like the gay guy) is really only there to hit on the hot bassoonists, be really close gossiping friends with the oboe, and hit on the other hot instrument players. She doesn't like playing bassoon, she would've been in percussion but she had absolutely no rhythm, and she's constantly scared that she's going to break her fingernails and ruining her makeup on the reeds. She hates the band dresses, plain, black, and completely unflattering,
He is an amazing player that everyone hates due to the fact that he ALWAYS has to be right. This guy could also be called "the square," because he believes fun is a sin and he's usually not quite as brilliant as he thinks he is. Usually, he dates the valedictorian of any major music school and ends up being the best MALE bassoon player in the world, but seeing how he's a male, it's not that impressive.
He doesn't really care that much about playing his bassoon, even though his fingers are very fast from applying make up to girls backstage at all of the big plays, he's only there to hit on the Euphoniums, Trombones, Saxophones and hot Bassoons. He doesn’t play very often, (only enough to stay in band) because he feels that if he plays, his reeds will soak up his lipgloss and his perfect manicures might get messed up by moving his fingers too much.
The Really Hot Guy
This guy is always flirting with every girl in band (and the Gay Guy) though he does show some proficiency in Bassooning. Most of the female bassoons, oboes, and flutes are very into him and all somehow know that he's gifted in bed.
The Really Hot Nerd
This guy should be the really hot guy, but has played bassoon for the past few years and is therefore corrupted (or improved?) personality-wise by the nerdy and quirky ways of the section, making him fall out of the really hot guy category every time he opens his mouth. He is still loved, but in an "aren't you adorable" sort of way. He's generally a little low on confidence, so may not always live up to his full bassoon-god potential.
It was once believed that the renowned Mr. Heckel was partaking of the marijuana one night, and, finding his shoelaces to be hilarious, snorted into his bong. The resulting sound brought into being a new instrumental family. However, Dr. Alan Alda's groundbreaking work has debunked the Heckel origin story, and confirmed da Vinci as the instrument's creator to all but the most determined Heckelian partisans.
During the great Orchestral Wars, the bassoon took a key role as leader of the famous "Wind Band", which led the fight against the repression of other instruments by flutes and strings. Naturally, its belligerent superiority allowed the bassoon to overcome the obstacles without much of a challenge, culminating in the liberation of the Mountain King with the help of a crack team of tromboners and cellists. However, it is interesting to note that, after the war, it became illegal to sell a bassoon with a pointed stick on the end, and so the design was changed to incorporate a bell on the end. Most bassoonists live in the savannah, but ascend to higher altitudes during Spring, including the spoleto and the brevard.
Origins, Bassoons vs. French Horns
Although Bassoons and French Horns are sworn allies today, such was not always the case. Long ago, before time itself, lived Joshua, King of the Double Reed Kingdom, and a talented Bassoonist, who proudly led his small nation through rough days, as Nitya, The French Horn Princess led her nation of Hornala in an invasion of the Double Reed Kingdom. Through the efforts of Joshua's General Joseph The Well-Tuned the Double Reed Kingdom successfully repelled the invasion, and was able to Banish the wicked princess Nitya to the next dimension, where she was forced to listen to Tenor Sax's attempt to transpose Baroque music for all time.
For many years after tensions were high as prejudice grew between the French Horns and Bassoonists, but when the Sundering occurred, the French Horns sacrificed one of their holy valves to provide a new Bocal for the Bassoons. In exchange, Bassoons gift of perfect pitch was taught to the French horns, and an immortal alliance was formed as the two nations joined to form the Reeded Horn Alliance.
Playing the Bassoon
The prospective bassoon user should do careful research on the subject. Being a bassoonist is not as simple as dragging a stick across some strings or blowing into a horn. The bassoonist's entire lifestyle must revolve around the bassoon. Many bassoonists have taken to grouping together, such that they are not overwhelmed by the "lesser" instruments, while still upholding their core values.
The Commandments of Bassoonery
Several of the great bassoonists of our time have formulated a set of structured rules to guide all bassoonists to a better life. These commandments must supersede all other life rules in a bassoonist's life in order to fully respect and love their instrument.
- Thou shalt play well, or thou shall be hit with thy own Bassoon.
- Thou shalt play IN TUNE and with the correct embouchure
- Thou must worketh on scales at least thrice a fortnight.
- Thou must constantly increase thy range from a low Bb to a HIGH F
- Thou must be able to play the opening of The Rite of Spring
- Thou shalt own a copy of Mozart's Bassoon Concerto
- The low Bb shalt be thy favourite note on the instrument
- Thou must play the low Bb if, during an orchestral warm up, a cellist shouldst be so foolhardy as to play a downward C major scale.
- One must immerse thyself in the art of Bassoonery.
- One must be friends with a French Horn player, for Bassoons and French Horns have been friends since the beginning of time.
- Thou must tryeth to get along with trombonists and cellists. They have been known to come to your aid in your time of greatest need.
- One must befriend the oboist, for they are a double reeder.
- If an individual calleth your Bassoon an oboe, you are legally entitled to curse at the person and hit them with the bell of your Bassoon.
- Long supported notes show strength and competence.
- Short staccato notes show precision.
- Thou shalt imitate fog horns on the North Sea on the lower register
- Thou shalt never complain of a weary thumb. A bassoonist’s thumb is his greatest asset.
- Thou shalt make reeds constantly, and complain about the tribulations of making reeds.
- 2nd bassoonist shall not be made a mockery of by the Principal.
- Contra-bassoons, and their players, may be inferior and associate themselves with tubas and bass-clarinets, but they are still cool.
- Thou shalt include the Bee Gees or other appropriate bands into classical works at all times. (As revealed to the world by Bill Bailey)
- Thou shalt keep the Tenor Sax in their place, and constantly remind them that they will never be able to replace the Bassoon.
- Thou shalt seek a master, to train and guide thee, and once a bassoonist has risen to the ranks of mastery, they must in turn take on the task of training new prospective bassoonists.
- Alda, Alan, Double Reeds and Naughty Deeds: The History of the Bassoon, 1958, Cambridge University Press
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