3rd Bassoon Lesson with Terry B. Ewell (2008, BDP #34)

<Music: Vivaldi's E minor Concerto>

OK, So let's apply some of these principles  that we have already learned about articulation. 
Let's apply these now to some of the studies you would have for this lesson. 

Well the first study we are going to do now is from Rubank [Elementary Method]. I am 
going to play from the first two of measures of rhythmic studies number one. 


That particular stop to each note was done with just the tongue. I kept the air constant.
I didn't move the embouchure. This is the reed, this is the tongue. 

The reed is vibrating. The tongue stops the vibration and release. 

<demonstration of tonguing> 

Just a little touch of the tongue to the reed. I will do that again. 


I would like you to observe your embouchure. It is a good idea to have a mirror. Make sure 
that are no changes here [with your embouchure]. It should look the same as if you are slurring 
it like this.

<music-all slurred> 

The air is kept constant. There is still pressure behind the tongue when you stop the reed. 

The reed is vibrating here, the tongue stops it. It is a bit like your water faucet in your house or 
in your tap. When you turn it on, water comes out because there is already pressure behind it. 
When you turn off it off--that valve--or shut off, there is  no water coming out. OK so let's go 
on to the second example here. This is a little bit different because every note is not stopped 
with the tongue, but we have some rests introduced.  Where you have time to round out the note, to 
make a slight diminuendo,a nice a resonant ending to the note. You should do that. 

This is done with the air supply stopping and the embouchure closing to keep the pitch from dropping. 
Just as we have already illustrated with our experiments. 

So here is number two.


I don't know if you can see my embouchure here, if there is any change.


I am closing it [the embouchure] off slightly at the end of those notes [followed by rests.]

You see it is important for us to master both types of endings to notes. The ending using the air 
and the embouchure--the resonant ending to the note--and the ending stopping the note with the tongue. 

Alright, let's look at one other study. Let's look at this Weissenborn study number three. 

It is now appearing on your screen. In particular I want us to look at measures five and six. 

This is the first time we now have staccato eighth notes included here. With the staccato eighth notes 
we can play these with the two different endings. In fact I think it is good to practice the two different 
endings. Here in measures 5 and 6, and I will play measures 7 and 8 as well. Let me end the staccato 
notes with the air and the embouchure. 


So I am actually stopping each note and rounding it out again with the embouchure closing.


Now the other way I can stop the notes is with the tongue. This time I am going to stop the notes 
with the tongue abruptly. 

So you can hear it [the staccato notes] stop immediately.


Did you hear how the ending was squared off on those eighth notes.. Now I can adjust the length 
of a note just by when I place the tongue on the reed. First I will make them very short. then the 
next time I will make them longer for you.


Those were the shorter notes. Now I will lengthen the note but still stop it with the tongue.


Could you hear how those were longer? I kept the air supply going throughout the notes. Now 
those were with the more abrupt ending. I can also make short notes by placing the tongue on 
the reed a little bit more slowly and get the effect of the resonant ending however, doing it 
with the tongue.

Let me illustrate this in slow motion for you. So, for instance, let me play a note and make 
a tongued diminuendo. 

Yes, I am making a diminuendo just by the rate at which I put the tongue on the reed. 

<music: example of diminuendo with tongue>

Can you hear how the note closed off? 


This is just doing it with the tongue. You can do this with a faster motion, which is what 
I will do now.


I didn't do is well. Let me try it again. 


So you can vary the speed at which the tongue goes on the notes. 

Let me give you a little study. I know this is a lot to do in the third lesson, but some of these 
principles can carry forward later. I am giving to you a little study here with some eighth notes 
followed by eighth rests. Let's set the metronome for 80. 

What I want you to do is three different stops to the notes. The first stop is with the air and the 

<Music: demonstration of air and embouchure stops>

For each of those, I felt my (stomach) abdominal muscles pulsing: "hoo hoo hoo." Let's try 
that again. 

<Music: demonstration of air and embouchure stops>

So there was a pulse to it. Now this time for the tongued, abrupt stop. We are going to use 
the tongue, but keep the air constant through the whole thing. So here is the tongued, abrupt stop.

<Music: demonstration of tongued stops>

I missed a note there. I wasn't too happy. Let's do that again.

<Music: demonstration of tongued stops> Can you hear how each note was chopped off at the end? 

Now, I am going to use the air constant, but the tongue less abrupt at the end [of each note].

<Music: demonstration of tongued stops--less abrupt>

Could you here that? Could you hear those subtle differences? It is important for you as a bassoonist 
to master these different techniques. It is not that one is right and one is wrong. They are all 
equally good [for] certain situations.

Some are more appropriate for certain situations; other types of articulation for others. You want to 
be the type of player who has freedom, who is able to choose from all of these different techniques. 
You don't want to be locked into one type of articulation.

You want to have varied articulations. This will give you the greatest variety, the greatest color to 
your playing. 

So that is a little exercise for you to practice. Practice it at some different tempos. Explore what 
your tongue can do on the reed. Explore also your air and embouchure releases. So that you discover 
your abilities and you continue to improve your playing.

<Music: Vivaldi's “La Notte” concerto for Bassoon, Strings, and Continuo>