Suggestions to bassoonists for fingerings, the low A bell extension, and other aspects of performance for the Nielsen Quintet. Terry B. Ewell, Bassoon Digital Professor #84.

<music: Nielsen Quintet, first movement>

Welcome this is my fourth video, the final video in the collection on the Nielsen Quintet. This contains some “odds and ends” for the bassoonist, a discussion of fingerings, and then a final discussion of how to get the low A at the end of the piece.

On page 3 at the bottom you will find a very awkward passage. It is awkward because the F# goes to an A# and back and forth. If you try to do that by leaping the right hand thumb back and forth like this, it will not be possible to smoothly do that. So instead I use the alternate F# fingering, which uses the little finger here for the F#. You can see on the screen that I have indicated with an upside down “A” the alternate fingering. This is the symbol I have used for many years to indicate an alternate fingering. I didn’t find in the literature that anyone else had come up with a symbol to represent an alternate fingering so I developed that myself. Any time I have an alternate fingering I need to alert myself to I will put that upside down “A” there to indicate it to me.

Now on page 4 right before “D” there is a diminuendo to pianissimo and we have to diminuendo to F#. That F# on our instruments tends to stick out so I use the muted or pianissimo F# fingering which you now see on your screen.

The long sustained A in variation 8, I play in a single breath. But I do that by circular breathing. You can watch one of my videos that will demonstrate how to circular breathe. I have indicated that on the screen here.

I also make use, however, of the pianissimo fingering for A. It is nice in this passage because it changes the tone color as well as helps with the dynamics. So I will start the A with the regular fingering (appearing on the screen now), and then in measure 5 I will change to the pianissimo fingering, adding the F# key to that A. As I crescendo in measure 8 I will slowly lift the thumb off. In measures 9, 10, 11, and 12 I will take a couple of quick breaths while circular breathing. I will then have enough air to the end where I will again use the pianissimo fingering.

Well the Quintet ends with a fun low A for the bassoon. It is enjoyable to play that low. The audience enjoys seeing you put the tube in the end of your instrument. Here is a video about how to construct that tube. We conclude this video with a performance at the end of that movement. God bless you. I hope that this has been helpful for you as you play the Nielsen Wind Quintet.

Here is my example of the Low A extension for the bassoon in order to play the last note in the Nielsen Quintet. I have taken a piece of rolled up paper you can see that it is roughly 14 inches (365 mm) in length. You want to make sure that you have about 11 inches (27j9 mm) that stick outside of the bassoon bell so that you can get the low A in tune.

Now I have continued the conical bore of the bassoon. You will notice that this end is smaller than that end. I have continued the flare (enlargement) on this end by unrolling the paper a little bit. I tape the ends. That gives me the nice low A. If you wish to have the low A lower in pitch you need to have a longer tube. If you need it sharper, make the extension a little bit shorter.

So there it is. The low A extension for the Nielsen Quintet.

<music: Nielsen Quintet, ending>


<music: Nielsen Quintet, first movement>