ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Bassoon and the Bassoon Player: B.j. Rakow aka drbj

Updated on April 12, 2013

The Bassoon

© Martie Coetser
© Martie Coetser

Hub Index

1. The Bassoon;

2. The Bassoon-player;

3. B.j. Rakow aka drbj is a typical bassoon player;

4. Drbj’s favorite music for romantic love, sensual love, raw sadness, anger, nostalgia plus one specific memory.

Listen to the sound of the Bassoon (after intro at .50 min.)

Bassoon & Piano

The ancestor of the Bassoon is the Dulcian

Photographer: Janos Stekovics
Photographer: Janos Stekovics | Source

The modern bassoon disassembles into six main pieces including a double reed.


Bassoon reed - distinctively a double reed


The range of the bassoon

Spectrogram: B♭ in four octaves
Spectrogram: B♭ in four octaves | Source

The Bassoon

Most relevant information –

The bassoon - the lowest and largest of the woodwinds - is a heavy instrument made of maple wood, plastic, polypropylene or ebonite. Fully assembled it is nearly 5 feet long.

To produce sound with a bassoon air is blown through a double reed made of cane. (Two reeds tied together are known as a double reed.) The vibrating air then travels over nine feet before it finally leaves the instrument as a sound.

Embouchure (the shape of the mouth and lips when playing a music instrument) is an essential aspect of producing a full, round bassoon tone, and this is not easy to obtain as a beginner. In order to blow air into the bassoon both sets of teeth should be covered by the lips. The reed in the mouth is therefore sealed with the lips and facial muscles. While blowing air into the bassoon between the two reeds, lips are kept together as if one is whistling. The jaw is dropped down as in a yawning motion without actually yawning or opening the mouth. Not at all easy!

The bassoon has a distinctive tone color and a wide range, similar to a male baritone voice. Comparing to the strings, it would equal the sound of the cello. The word bassoon means “bass with the augmentative suffix one.” It can easily play the same lines as the tuba, which is the lowest brass instrument.

The bassoon is particularly known for its deliverance of a variety of character and agility.

A unique bassoon technique is called flicking - accomplished when the left hand thumb momentarily presses the high A, C and D keys at the beginning of certain notes in the middle octave. An alternative method is called venting, when the register key is used as part of the full fingering. The bassoon also has a whisper key to be used in order to prevent low notes to crack into a higher octave. Extended techniques are multiphonics, double tonguing, circular breathing and flutter tonguing. The latter is accomplished by “gargling" in the back of the throat or by the conventional method of rolling Rs.

Complicated fingering with high demands for the thumbs makes the bassoon a difficult instrument to learn. Another factor that keeps it almost inaccessibly is its price – at present between $8000.00 - $35000,00 for a good-quality bassoon.

Interesting: In my language and many others a bassoon is called a ‘fagot’. Sadly, the word ‘fagot’ is also the offensive terms for an openly homosexual man.

I have to mention that my tuba player son once hated the bassoon. His explanation, and keep in mind that he was a teenager: “.... that damn hoarse cricket steals all my shine.” He had the same opinion about the bass clarinet, so I almost jumped to the conclusion that the players of bass instruments don't like sharing any limelight. Almost. In fact, all true musicians want their instrument to be known as the one producing the most beautiful sound.

Bassoon sheet music (always written in the bass clef and sometimes in the tenor.)


The Bassoon-player

A bassoon-player is called a bassoonist. Because of its size, weight and price the bassoon normally becomes a second or third instrument to master by an adolescent or young adult who started to play music instruments at an early age.

The bassoon is particularly known for its deliverance of a variety of character and agility, therefore it attracts a musician with the same qualities. Because a player cannot see his hands and fingers when playing, perfect co-ordination between eyes-brain-fingers is a prime requisite. Typical of a bassoonist is their quality of being responsive and pleasantly gregarious. A unique sense of humour tend to make them the jokers of the orchestra.


B.j. Rakow aka drbj

Looking for the musician in drbj, I could clearly see a bassoonist in her. She is indeed known for her deliverance of a variety of character and agility. Her responsiveness, pleasant gregarious personality and delighting sense of humour make her one of the most popular authors in HubPages.

She has distinguished herself as a Psychologist, Marketing VP, Training Director, Entrepreneur, Management Consultant, Executive Coach, Writer, Motivational Speaker, and a stand-up humorist ‘‘older than dirt’.

In HubPages she is known as the interviewer of famous characters who had died decades and even ages ago, such as Grogg from the Paleolithic era, Zeus, Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs.

She also interviewed the strangest animals, inter alia the Proboscis Monkey and the Weird-Axolotl.

She taught us how to choose the perfect avatar and she even listed the 53 craziest laws in the world.

As part of her audition for musicianship in the Hubville Symphonic Wind Orchestra, I've asked drbj to submit a few songs that have the power to put her in a specific mood.

Here she is, presenting her choices ~


Lyrics to Chorus of “The Man I Love”

Some day he'll come along

The Man I Love,

And he'll be big and strong

The Man I Love,

And when he comes my way

I'll do my best to make him stay.

He'll look at me and smile

I'll understand;
And in a little while

He'll take my hand;
And though it seems absurd

I know we both won't say a word.

Maybe I shall meet him Sunday

Maybe Monday, maybe not;
Still I'm sure to meet him one day

Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day

He'll build a little home

Just meant for two,
From which I'll never roam

Who would - would you?
And so all else above

I'm waiting for The Man I Love


“Romantic love is mental illness. But it's a pleasurable one …” – Fran Lebowitz

Rocky (that was his nickname) was 27, eight years older, and the girl he had met only two months earlier had the fleeting thought at times that perhaps he might be too old for her. But he was kind and generous, good-looking, a great dancer (he resembled the actor/dancer, Gene Kelly) and a successful businessman. And her family was already in love with him. Soon she was, too.

That night while dining at an expensive hotel restaurant, the bandleader announced that the next song would be in honor of a couple who were soon to be married. The band began to play her favorite song. What a coincidence. she thought, that’s my favorite, too. Rocky asked her to dance but she demurred.‘Wait,” she said, “the couple haven’t gone on to the dance floor yet.” Rocky said,“I know,” as he slipped a beautiful diamond engagement ring on her finger. How do I know all these details? Rocky was my beloved husband for 44½ years. This is the song:

“The Man I Love”– George and Ira Gershwin (1924) – performed by Barbra Streisand (just for fun, I've added the lyrics),


“You know, music is s-x. It’s a sensual driving mode that affects people if it’s played a certain way.” – Dick Dale


I once read that more babies were probably conceived while the incipient parents were under the spell of love songs sung by Frank Sinatra than any other singer. That may be true but I believe that Maurice Ravel’s haunting“Bolero” would run a close second. That booming, repetitive theme is close to org-sm-c.

Footnote: “Bolero” lasts for 15 minutes and is played somewhere in the world every 15 minutes. Ravel was born on March 7, 1875 in Ciboure, southwest France, and was a contemporary and rival of fellow composer, Claude Debussy (another of my favorites). The familiar theme is repeated 18 times – evidence, according to psychologists – that Ravel may have been suffering from Alzheimer's when he wrote this memorable piece of music.

“Bolero” – Maurice Ravel” (1928)


“The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Carl Jung

“Live by this credo: have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations.” – Red Skelton


The first quote may be true but I prefer to live my life according to Red’s more positive philosophy. What has caused the most sadness in my life? Since I am older than soil (which came before dirt), I have already lost the family members I most loved and was closest to: my maternal grandmother, mother, father, husband, and youngest son, Scotty.

This was Scotty’s favorite song which also describes how I and every family member, his wife, his daughter, every friend, and every person he ever met felt about him.

“Wind Beneath My Wings” – Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley (1982) – performed by Bette Midler


“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain


Twain is one of the writers I admire whose profound as well as humorous quotes can often be found in my Hubs. I believe that anger is an emotion that generally stresses the donor much more than the receiver. So I try not to display it. But I admit that it was the powerful emotion that I most often felt long after my youngest son, a heroic police detective, was ambushed and killed during a drug sting.

It is ironic that as an Executive Coach, very often I have worked with corporate executives who needed to learn anger management techniques to control their inappropriate or uncontrolled anger. So I have adopted the same major deterrent for myself – change my focus. Find a way to concentrate on more pleasant emotions: serenity, tranquility, peacefulness and beauty. This beautiful piece of music does it for me.

Footnote: “Clair de Lune” is actually the third and most famous movement of Claude Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque.” Although Debussy wrote the piece in 1890 at the age of 25, it was not published until fifteen years later in 1905.

“Clair de Lune” – Achille-Claude Debussy (1890)


“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.” – Doug Larson


A little nostalgia is good – even fun (if you still possess enough working brain cells). But someone famous once said, “Happiness is health and a short memory!” Touche! Personally I subscribe to this insightful motto: Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is unknown. The Present is a gift. Enjoy it.

True, I sometimes yearn for my earlier lifestyle growing up when I lived in a small, bucolic town where no one locked the doors to their home, everyone knew their neighbors’ names and activities, kids actually ‘played’ outside, and the bus driver knew that our dog, Pudgy, liked to lie in the middle of the street so rather than honk the horn, he drove his bus around him. True!

‘Course I wouldn’t want to give up the advantages we have today like computers, HD color television, washing machines without wringers, microwaves, self-cleaning ovens, iPads, Kindles, etc., etc. Here is the song that personifies nostalgia to me.

“Danny Boy” (Londonderry Air folk song) – lyrics by Frederick Weatherly (1913) – performed by Liam McNally.

ONE SPECIFIC MEMORY (my funniest) ~

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”– Charlie Chaplin

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain


If you follow my written ramblings on Hubpages, then you know how important humor and laughter are to me. Both quotes above help explain its significance. So one specific memory for me would also be one of my funniest memories. It’s not a song but it does start out with Bud Abbott singing, 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' before he is rudely interrupted by Lou Costello. Then they perform their famous and still unforgettable routine. Enjoy!

“Who’s on First?” – Abbott and Costello “The Naughty Nineties” (1945)

Thank you drbj aka B.j. Rakow

The fact that you are able to connect your emotions to specific songs is a quality in your favor and will certainly ensure your success as a musician in Hubville Symphonic Wind Orchestra. To make your audition for Bassoon player an unforgettable experience you'll have to play the 1st movement (Allegro) of Mozart's Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major. Mozart was only 18 when he wrote this concerto.

© Martie Coetser

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: 2013-02-25 16:05:04
Title :: The Bassoon and the Bassoon Player: B.j. Rakow aka
Category :: Article Hub
Fingerprint :: 087064d7c3fd2ace1b69fac9e1fd370f7d10069a386017bf2d0f992e5e44cf95
MCN :: C967A-7056A-JENCP


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)