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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

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    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna - It is high time for me to visit your other sites again. Where could I find the links? You are definitely and obviously equally right/left brain orientated.

      Thanks a lot for your generous comments in my corner. Always-always much appreciated!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ drbj - Although all musicians are - and have to be - highly skilled, all of them cannot play the 1st part written for their specific instrument. Then what about the 2nd, 3rd and 4th parts that were written in harmony? I hope I am able to find another bassoonist to play 2nd Bassoon. Where, oh where, am I going to get another one like you? (A conductor's nightmare!)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie - ah! Well - I love activities that challenge and/or involve my nearly equal right/left brain orientation and that provide more opportunity for exploration of it. I think that's been the lure of so much online activity for me, especially my webpages and now, hubpages. Thank you for that insight about the way music study contributes to those hemisphere's development! Very interesting. You do much good with all that you do!

      Thank you, DrBJ. It was such a pleasure!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      @Alicia - Yes, indeed, m'dear, I am a wonderful bassoon player - in my mind!

      @ Nellieanna - Thank you for your sublime accolades, m'luv, and for enjoying my musical selections and rationale.

      @ Martie - A very large ditto and thank you to you as well for choosing me in the first place. And the second ...

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna, it has been proven that the study of music (including, practice, theory and sight-reading) is the only activity that develops the left and right hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. According to research studying music improved students' marks for maths and science with average 5%. I have personally witnessed how the study of music cured a student's dyslexia. You know, I am a keen promoter of music tuition. Unfortunately, sadly, many musicians are vain and temperamental persons - Prima Donnas - just like many achievers in maths and physics are rigid and insensitive persons. Therefor we cannot hope that the practice of music will destroy humans' shortcomings. Take care, my beautiful CM :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      AH - A lovely reply, Martie. Good points about music's transparency, as opposed to other kinds of self-expression which are more academic and, perhaps inclined to be somewhat more rigid. Music has enormous intellectual connections, but they're expressed in more heart-felt ways than, say, math or physics, probably.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Nellieanna – Being a musician yourself, you will understand that I don’t see music instruments as mere instruments per se, but as human-extensions – another mouth/voice for the expression of one’s emotions and actually one’s entire being. Professional musicians know how to use this voice, and so do we amateur musicians, but only not always as accurately and touching as the Pro’s.

      Drbj’s choice of music is absolutely delightful, reflecting her true, beautiful self. A person’s academic qualifications (and actions) are like harnesses – difficult to see the true self through them, but music is transparent. (Though it could be a harness for the Pro when produced on command.)

      Nellieanna, once we know the sound of a specific instrument, we listen with new ears to an orchestra. Identifying all the different sounds, and then listen to them as ‘one voice’ called ‘orchestra’, always fills me with awe.

      Your ex seems to have been the same kind of joke than mine. I always had to beg mine to attend the concerts of the orchestras our son was a member of, and he always had some ridiculous critique. While he knew nothing and had only his perception of pop music’s final productions (on tape or CD) as reference. Our son is now a professional musician on tuba and electric bass guitar for 20 years, and his father had not attended a single performance of him. He had actually paid our son only one visit during this entire 20 years, and just because I had managed to get him there. But let me rather not explode in here.... (I have the nastiest most tiresome habit of getting mad at God because He allows injustice committed by parents.)

      Anyway, LOL at ‘he could hardly play the radio’ and for withdrawing from Danny Boy.

      Thank you so much for your delightful comment, my dearest CM :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie, my lovely cyber-daughter - I love your musician series - and Dr. BJ is among my most favorite hub friends. The demands of a bassoonist for her presence, coordination, playfulness and likeableness all fit BJ to a "T" - or A or B, as the selection requires. Add to those demands having to play virtually 'blind' with the fingers finding the keys completely out of the field of vision, while also balancing and holding a rather awkward instrument, and one needs to be a combination of Mozart and Houdini!

      Our DrBJ needs to prove nothing, since her awesome resume speaks volumes about herself and her versatile accomplishments. Yet, to me, this musical accolade stands alone as a wonderful testament to the PERSON she is, even beyond her obvious outstanding traits and skills, including writing so well and regaling us with her humor chocked full of education and guidance!

      Listening to the selections here, especially that Mozart played on bassoon by a rather delicate looking musician is so delightfully entertaining, Martie! I really like its sound! Your presentation of both our gal and this instrument is magnificent. But then - what else? All the series has been a treat, along with the personalities of those being chosen!

      I confess that I'm not all that familiar with the instrument - though now am a bit more so. It occurs to me that an orchestra without the bassoon would be somehow 'watery' and wanting.

      My previous brush with it goes WAY back to about 1954 or so when my first husband was in the Air Force and his group sponsored a beauty & talent contest on the base. Some of the wives practiced up to do a French cancan - which is a stretch now even to recall doing it, but I did. But one of the contestants played her bassoon. Somehow that struck the funny bones of the obviously red-necked young officers. I know that my ex had fun poking jokes at her expense - - even for years to come. What a joke he was. He could hardly play the radio! It was but another clue of his true character.

      The songs you selected, BJ - and your lovely explanations have me crying, smiling & laughing;- you have the ability to do that! "The Man I Love" is so -o-o- beloved here too. And I see a connection with his nickname and surname. That's fun. And, Ah! - "Bolero" - - well,who can forget Bo Derek in "10"? "Wind Beneath My Wings" is so poignant and brings such vivid memories, especially to someone even older than soil who has outlived everyone, almost. Your counter-measure of deflecting anger with soothing "Clair de Lune" is right on. But alas, I must withdraw from "Danny Boy"; it's my first (abusive) husband's name, except that his was spelled with "i.e." rather than "y" like a guy's normally is. Of course, I understand its appeal and for most people there are no painful associations, only the actual nostalgic message of the song. The riotous Abbott & Costello are a perfect wrap-up of your musical selections! (5 out of 6 total winners here is not a bad ratio at all! ;-))

      Hugs and thank you both! Hope my tardiness doesn't disqualify my response! (Just one of those thangs. No real excuses.)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Vickiw, goed om jou the sien! I can't call myself an accomplished musician; I never had the opportunity to develop my talent. I am on amateur level - piano, organ, keyboard, flute, piano-accordion, only for my own pleasure and to be enjoyed by my relatives. But I've managed the admin and organisation of a music school for 20 years, so I have learned a lot about music and musicians.

      Some of your sentences made me curious: ".... and left after being pulled apart...... I'm going back to it now....." ????

      Sien jou weer, Vickiw :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Martie, hoe gaan dit? Your Hub is absolutely GORGEOUS!! I just love it. I had no idea you were such an accomplished musician. It is really beautiful, and I enjoyed reading it so much. Funny, I think of you quite often, and wonder how you are doing - I guess one does not forget roots put down long ago, and left there after being pulled apart. So much to read, congratulations, I'm going back to it now. Totsiens!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ Kallini - I've just read about "Disgrace" - "A film adaptation of Disgrace starring John Malkovich had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008, where it won the International Critics' Award."

      J.M. Coetzee has been awarded many prizes, including the Booker Prize (twice). In 2003, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. As far as I know he immigrated to Australia -

      Believe it or not, although I've read many reviews, I haven't read one of his books yet, while they are on my list of 'To-be-Read' for years.

      Oh, Svetlana, I just have too many balls in the air! But nice balls nowadays, as I am catching up on living after I have had no life until quite recently - only work, work, work.... Between 2004 and 2010 I did not even had time for reading, writing or movies.

      B has decided to replace my ordinary TV with a flat, widescreen kind of a thing, so as soon as it is installed, "Disgrace" will be watched by us. In the meantime, take care, Svetlana :)

      @drbj - Really? You have Rooibos Tea over there? Delicious with sugar and hot milk, or with sugar and lemon juice. (Yes, I have a sweet tooth.) Also, without milk, an excellent refreshment when one feels ill, but in need of fluids. Annetjie Theron's beauty products are made of those bush leaves as well. drbj, I think you will find this info quite interesting. (Yes, I am proudly South-African in spite of all the political sh-t.)

      Friday-morning 1/3/2013 down here. Yesterday was the end of our financial year. Too many crucial chores still to be done... driving me nuts!

    • kallini2010 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      @drbj - I am sorry about the baboon reference - I guess I watched too much the Planet Earth series - I don't know why, but this pensive baboon carefully and apprehensively treading the water, a flower in his hand... the image was just so stuck, maybe because he so reminded me of us humans. And his thoughtful face... Now it is even more sinking in!

      But the whole "fagotto" reference - the linguistic aspect of it - I found mostly entertaining!

      @ Martie:

      I don't know if I told you, I took (as in finished listening to without doing the exercises) the course "Writing creative nonfiction". It has an extensive and very inspiring reading (&/or reference list) and when I have the time, I might read some of it.

      Literature is important, you can't aspire to be a good writer without reading a lot.

      I've seen a film lately, it is set in South Africa (not too many I know take place there) with John Malkovich "Disgrace" - very thought-provocative. It is based on the book J.M. Coetzee - the last name of the writer reminded me of you. Maybe you've read it or watched the film.

      Or forgive me, it might be too painful a topic.


      Disgrace is a novel by J. M. Coetzee, published in 1999. It won the Booker Prize. The writer was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature four years after its publication.


      What I liked the most about the book that the story is so disturbing, but in the end, it seems that the old truth that things tend to settle on its own is still true. No matter what.

      Take care, Martie!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      It's my pleasure to BE in your corner, dear Martie. I wish I could have that special SA tea, too. Is it available in the US do you know?

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi drbj, so good to have you in my corner. I wish I could offer you a refreshing cup of pure South African Rooibos tea :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Kallini, the weather, the moon, the stars, the ions in the air, the vibes of the people in our zones, everything have an effect on our perceptions. The wind in particular makes me irritable and short-tempered. In my region the humidity is low, the air is dry and hot. I might as well write a hub about the various climates in SA.

      I've read some Tolstoy & Dostoyevsky. Love their style! At a time I've read 2-3 books (called literature) per week. Nowadays I read only Facebook and HubPages... lol!

      Take care, Svetlana. Your winter is almost over :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      @ midget38 - nice to meet you. Thanks for appreciating Marti's hard work.

      @ Ruby - delighted you came back to listen to the videos. Thank you for the blessings, m'luv.

      @ Deborah Brooks - Of course I'm a magician, er, musician!

      @ Kallini2010 - nice to meet you. Wanted you to know I would never compare a bassoon to a baboon, m'dear. In my comment to Martie, I joked about a buffoon! Thanks for enjoying my 'Romantic Love' story which may sound like a fairy tale but it really did happen.

    • kallini2010 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      My dearest Martie, I hope you survive the heat! I find heat and humidity to be the most challenging weather for me. I did not grow up in a country with extreme climates. What I dislike most about Toronto is winds, but other things are mostly tolerable. Then there is, of course, MARCH - the worst weather of the year.

      I read in one of the most profound and interesting books a paragraph summarizing the Russian Literature of the 19th century - it is such a sad picture, but the conclusion somehow fits me. I thought, maybe one day I might write about it. But all I am trying to say is that no literature is a substitute for the experience of life and trying to make sense of all the senselessness of it. Read this novel, read that novel, grow up in this country, move to another, marry, don't marry, have children, don't have children, write, don't write... all our understanding is the sum of all our life experiences plowed by thoughts and pressed by socities.

      And sometimes, if not always, it is the weather that skews our perception!!!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi, Kallini, I've found your comment very interesting and profound and your humor here and there between the lines hilarious. The video takes the cake - absolutely fantastic!

      I've put "Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov on my list of novels to read. It seems to be the kind of novel I will enjoy. I do love Russian literature, of course, when translated to English.

      We had a heat wave today - 36 Celsius in the shade. So snow and cold in Toronto seem to be a hallucination in my imagination.

      Thanks for your generous and most enjoyable comment, Svetlana. Take care :)

      Oh, BTW, so often we miss the most wonderful experiences in life just because we want to prove ourselves as individuals not to be manipulated.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ Deborah - No, the writers I feature in this series are not necessarily musicians, but in my imagination they are. At the end you, too, will be a member of the Hubville Symphonic Wind Orchestra. I wonder what instrument will suit you the best?

      @ Alicia - So good to know you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for the visit :)

    • kallini2010 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think this is my absolutely favourite series of Martie's hubs.

      These hubs are as entertaining and surprising as they are difficult to comment on.

      There are two separate parts - an instrument and a person, both unknown to me.

      I heard the word bassoon (not in English, but in Russian, but ask me whether I had ever bothered to check out the instrument. A rhetorical question - in my Danny Boy's version - my son Daniel's version - a HISTORICAL question).

      I was absolutely taken (a prisoner of beauty of music by the first piece). So I did look up the instrument, something I rarely do.

      I know the name as fagotto (in Italian) and it literally means "a bundle of sticks". In Russian, it sounds "fagot" and I may have never paid any attention to an obscure musical instrument as I was "allergic" to classical music in my early years (out of fear that my parents might subject me to misery of attending a musical school) and because I had to undergo torture by listening to my best friend playing accordion (for me specially). My friend did not "escape" his parents aspirations and he hated it.

      I don't know whether it all made more good or damage, but here I am - learning now.

      But while I admit my general ignorance in music, I would like to share something that most of you may not know and I am sure you are all dying to know ...

      There is a famous novel "Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov, one of those things you have to read before you die.

      Master is a writer that ends up in ... we are all writers of sorts... but there is one character...

      I will quote wikipedia for those who will decide to check it out...


      The novel alternates between two settings. The first is 1930s Moscow, which is visited by Satan in the guise of "Professor" Woland or Voland (Воланд), a mysterious gentleman "magician" of uncertain origin, who arrives with a retinue that includes the grotesquely dressed "ex-choirmaster" valet Koroviev (Fagotto) (Фагот, the name means "bassoon" in Russian among other languages, from the Italian word fagotto), a mischievous, gun-happy, fast-talking black cat Behemoth (Бегемот, a subversive Puss in Boots, the name referring at once to the Biblical monster and the Russian word for Hippopotamus), the fanged hitman Azazello (Азазелло, hinting of Azazel), the pale-faced Abadonna (Абадонна, a reference to Abaddon) with a death-inflicting stare, and the witch Hella (Гелла). The havoc wreaked by this group targets the literary elite,....


      The second part of those series always talks about a writer and in this case I don't know drbj. I just thought that by description, drbj might fit the character of Fagot.

      She said that bassoon is almost a babboon and I would say a buffoon... meaning it as a compliment, of course. Having gone through the ordeal (note: for me, everything is an ordeal) of choosing music for those categories, I am now more than curious what others choose. And you can see by how the choices differ (clearly), how different players/people are.

      I found the choice of anger the most surprising - but I have to admit - it was the trickiest category for me as well.

      And "Bolero" - I keep calling it "Caravan" - all I see a caravan making it through the dessert and I am surprised that being stuck in a dessert does not result in more mental misfortunes. I would go nuts there. On the other hand, I could easily go nuts here. Wait, I think, I have done that already.

      My absolute favourite story was the first one - it sounds so much like a fairy tale. My ex-husband did not even remember what music was played at our wedding. However, not all of us are romantic.

      If I had to choose a musical instrument for him - I would pick an axe. Or what is the most popular instruments for the masses lacking any sophistication?

      Have a wonderful day, Martie and Drbj, and all other unfortunate readers of my comment,

      and let me tell you that Toronto is again covered in snow, slushy snow...

      The snow is falling, the singer is singing, the writer is writing...

      Life goes on.

      Toronto, Canada

      27 February, 2013

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great hub, Martie! It was wonderful to learn about the bassoon and to learn more about drbj, who is a wonderful bassoon player!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Martie ... wow... bassoon players.. thank you for teaching me so much.. I do love this hub.. I would love to go to a concert.. You are actually arranging them.. how wonderful.. are you going to do a YOU TUBE..?

      I didn't know that drbj was a musician.. do you play too Martie?

      I love your hub



    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for the floor, Martie, m'luv.

      @ Kelly - Thank you for the adoration, dear, the feeling, you know, is mutual. Isn't it awesome? Now I can play two instruments: the bassoon and the radio!

      @ bizna - Thank you for loving the music and the videos. Martie does not know how not to be creative.

      @WillStarr - "... beautifully written ... one of HubPages premier authors ..." You do know how to pay a compliment, m'dear.

      @ Faith Reaper - Thank you for loving Red Skelton, Faith, as well as my music choices and quotes. Happy to have provided great memories with Bud and Lou.

      @ Rosemay50 - Thank you for your gracious words, Rosemary, and admiration. Knew you would enjoy my musical choices. Promise to keep up the doses of laughter forevermore.

      @ Nell Rose - Wow, Nell, what sublime comments. Especially since you thought I was still a young'un. Delighted my hubs make you laugh. Now put your socks back on! And the song, "Wind beneath my Wings," always makes me tear up, too.

      @ always exploring - If I can make your day come alive, Ruby, and sometimes provide a tiny tear, then I could not ask for more. Me steal the show? You must be thinking of another drbj, m'luv.

      @ mckbirdbks - Thank you for the orchestral welcome and the kind comments. So I'm now a member of the wind section. Hmmmm! Is Martie trying to tell me something? Thanks for liking my music and Bud and Lou. And for enjoying my engagement story. All true!

      @ Petra Vlah - Thank you, Petra, for your lovely adjectives and sweet appreciation. Encore is my middle name. :)

      @ Mhatter99 - I'll accept a tiny piece of that Bravo, Martin. Thank you.

      @ Jools99 - Thanks for loving the videos and the quotes. Signed: 'another great hubber.' I love the sound of the bassoon, too, and may even learn to play it. :)

      @ tillsontitan - Now you put your socks back on, too. Thanks for enjoying this amazing ride and for being a friend and follower. You are so right: Martie is a mistress-ful interviewer. So you can ramble as much as you like.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ drbj – I just knew you were busy doing something very important. Bassoon may rhyme with buffoon and baboon, but bassoonist rhymes with saxophonist, trombonist, clarinetist, flutist, et cetera, and they are all most-admirable musicists.... er... musicians. Now you know we get wisecrackers, jokers and comedians. You are one of the latter – the sophisticated, super-effective type, delighting and enlightening your audience at the same time. You are so welcome to address your fans after your successful audition. The floor is yours - :)

      @ mckbirdbks – at least you don’t need sunglasses to face the music in here. But headphones, maybe? :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ midget38 - I would have organized exiting trips and concerts for your/our band. What counts is not what people can do for music, but what music can do for people :)

      @ always exploring - Music is a wonderful medium of communication. We can explain our emotions via music, so much better than with words; music also makes it easier for us to reveal our losses. Losing a husband is a traumatic experience, but losing a child is certainly the most devastating sorrow for a mother to bear. This we cannot share when humor is our most favorite genre in writing. I feel honored because drbj has shown so much of herself in this hub of mine. We have loved her dearly, and now we can love and admire her even more.

      @ Eiddwen - Thank you, my dear Eddy!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      You already have a special place in my heart, Martie, so I hope you won't mind if I take up a little space in your comments responding to all the lovable commenters who have taken the time to write something nice. As I always say, 'If you can't say something nice . . . then sit down right next to me."

      @ Gypsy Rose Lee - thanks for enjoying the videos and loving Abbott and Costello and their 'Who's on First' routine as I do.

      @ Maria - I don't know about the 'fabulous' but the 'more zanier' with my addition to the band does apply, m'dear. Thanks for the 'inner strength and beauty' appellation, but 'fossil'? I prefer the term older than soil. Just sayin'.

      @ billybuc - thanks for your positive comment - 'wonderful subject.' You are SO perceptive.

      @ mary - and you are one of my favorites, too, m'luv. But promise me one thing. Do not ever call yourself 'dull' again. You are anything but, trust me.

      @ Peg - you are an 'amazing, hubber,' too m'dear. And I'm happy that my musical choices may be yours as well.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Martie I just stopped back to face the music, ah-er, I mean to listen to the music. Very nice and a nice addition to the orchestra.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Martie, my dear Hubbuddy, I would have been here sooner but I was practicing playing the buffoon. Oops! I mean bassoon. I wondered why you had chosen that unique instrument for me. Now I know - you stated they are the jokers of the orchestra. Hmmmm? I guess that's a compliment. :)

      Thank you for the honor, m'dear. And for all the gracious adjectives as well (stubbing my toe in humility as I write). I shall start practicing at once, maybe even twice, and begin with Mozart's Concerto in A and work up to B. Whatcha think?

      Now I will have a new unique skill to add to my 32-page resume. I'm thinking of removing 'skilled in typing on an IBM Selectric.'

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant hub Martie and thank you for sharing.


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I did not take the time to listen to the videos, which i am now doing. I also forgot to tell you that you have presented a beautiful hub, the format is excellent , it shows how much work you put into your work. Thank you again. drbj, i am so sorry about your loss. Blessings my friend.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the sweet harmonies here! I used to conduct a school band, and I found it so amusing to introduce kids with absolutely NO musical knowledge to the theory of music and instruments like the bassoon. piccolo, clarinet..........some of these kids had never seen these instruments before. Thanks for sharing, Martie!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Tillsontitan! Thank you for your fabulous comment. There are so many surprises on drbj's profile. I wish I could mentioned them all.

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      @ RealHousewife – I can clearly see you on the bass clarinet. Clarinet players are hard and diligent workers. They prefer working in a team, even as the leader of a team. So the bass clarinet player is normally for some reason a loner, or a rebel, challenging the opportunity to be different. I am so glad to hear that drbj is also one of your favorite co-hubbers.

      @ bizna – Good to know you enjoyed this hub and videos :)

      @ WillStarr – so nice to see you in my corner. A compliment from you is always deeply appreciated. I wonder what instrument will suit you the best? Pondering….

      @ Faith Reaper – The bassoonist needs a special sling to keep the bassoon in the correct and most comfortable position. I will find a picture and add it to the hub. Thank you so much for your generous and enthusiastic comment. You are such a darling!

      @ Rosemay50 – drbj is a unique, ingenious lady who had mastered the art of decorating reality with humor. I am so glad you enjoy this series. I wonder what instrument will emphasize your unique qualities?

      @ Nell Rose – drbj is indeed ageless. She is also ultra-professional in the sense that she does not display any typical female (or male) characteristics. She simply commands respect as a well-informed, thoroughly-qualified professional writer. Imagine her in any position, and you will not be disappointed. She told me her real name – one of those most beautiful ‘I-am-a-woman-in-love-names’, so keeping all her professions in mind, Dr. B.J. suits them all. (I forgot to ask her permission to use her real name; maybe she’ll satisfy everybody’s curiosity in her next hub?)

      @ always exploring – Perfectly said: “…. Drbj is genuine, no bull, shoots from the hip.” I would also add ‘down to earth’, never aggressive and snobby. She is a role model par excellence. Always good to see you, Ruby!

      @ mckbirdbks – drbj is indeed a fine addition to the wind section. You and Kallini are still the only instrumentists in the brass section. Time to add a trumpet…

      @ Petra Vlah – your compliments are deeply appreciated. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since we arrived in HubPages 2-3 years ago. So good to see you in my corner again!

      @ Mhatter99 – Thank you. So glad you enjoyed the read.

      @ Jools99 – Of course, drbj’s contribution makes this hub what it is. While some instruments are able to resemble sorrow and romance, the tone of a bassoon is uplifting and humorous. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I have to agree with Nell, this hub does knock your socks off. It was an amazing ride from start to finish! A wonderful introduction to Drbj for those who don't know her...thankfully I'm not one of them and have been friend and follower. Your masterful creativity turns an ordinary interview into a work of art. So very much information along with a glimpse into a wonderful personality. Uh oh, I'm starting to ramble, but I can't help myself this was just, plain GREAT!

      Voted all buttons, wish there were more so I could vote them too!!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Martie, just wonderful! This is so 'put together', I can only feel genuine envy at its composition. Loved the videos, loved the quotes and now I know more about another great hubber. I love the sound of the bassoon too (though I cannot play it).

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Well you certainly did a very admirable on this subject. Bravo. Congratulations on a great hub and thank you

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Your hubs are always great - intelligent and imaginative, interesting and informative. Your talents and those of our beloved and most appreciated drbj with her wit and outstanding sense oh humor is the perfect combination for an incredible show and you offered us just that. Bravooo and keep the orchestra going; you know we are ready for an encore

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello drbj. Let me get you a chair and we will pull the chairs close together to maybe disguise my missed notes. Welcome to the orchestra. Martie this is a fine addition to the wind section (hope I got that right). drbj your music selections are stellar and the Abbott and Costello is classic. This orchestra is really shaping up with your chair now filled.

      The story about the proposal is just perfect.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      What can i say? drbj makes my day come alive with her wit and occasionally a comment that makes me cry. She is gunuine, no bull, shoots from the hip, i like that. Great choice for your orchestra, but watch out, she'll try to steal the show. Just sayin'

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Sometimes a hub comes along that knocks your socks off. This was it. Awesome doesn't cover it. drbj is also one of my favorites and makes me laugh so much with her hubs, for some reason I thought she was a really young women, just goes to show how special she is, wonderful writing Martie, and the videos were great. Wind beneath my wings makes me bawl like a baby so you can imagine what I am like now! wonderful, voted up all the way and shared, nell

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Another awesome member to your Hubville orchestra Martie. I enjoyed the way you put this together. It sounds like a difficult instrument to play. I had to smile at your son's comment, typical teenager

      drbj is one of my favourites, I admire her strength of character portrayed in this audition. I love her music choices especially Clair De Lune and her reason for that choice. Unfortunately I couldn't watch the Liam Mcnally video without going to Youtube, but it was so beautiful.

      Thank you Martie and drbj keep dosing us up with laughter.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA


      You have presented yet another masterpiece of a hub here with the latest addition to the Hubville Symphonic Wind Orchestra, drbj!!!

      I am in awe that anyone can hold such a large instrument as the bassoon. I noticed in one video, the person has it strapped on. For some reason, on my end, I am unable to view and listen to the first video, so I know I missed out. However, I really loved listening to the second video. I am truly amazed at the bassoon's range! drbj's music choices are great. Great choices of quotes here. I have always loved Red Skelton, especially. A lot of great memories have been brought back with the addition of Abbott & Costello!

      I appreciate you sharing your son's mention of the bassoon and, although, a teenager, it seems he voiced his experience quite well!

      Thank you for this wonderful and extensive hub here you have written to add to your magnificent series.

      I so enjoyed Mozart Bassoon Concerto 1st Movement, as it is evident what the bassoon adds to this piece, quite a baritone voice!

      Another clever and creative share.

      Voted up +++++ and sharing

      Hugs, Faith Reaper

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      A beautiful sound from a beautiful instrument, and a beautifully written piece from one of HubPages premier authors.

    • bizna profile image


      6 years ago from NAIROBI - KENYA

      Quite interesting and well put. I loved the music plus the videos. Very creative hub.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Awesome! Dear Martie - I just adore Drbj! I did not know of her musical talent but I am not surprised. I played the clarinet and the bass clarinet which looks so similar to the Bassoon. Drbj is a great isn't she?! Such an interesting and delightful hub for me today:). fabulous!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Peg :) I, too, enjoyed drbj's choices of music very much. All of them happen to be on my list of favorites. And not to talk about the concerto's for bassoon I have found on YouTube. Thanks for clicking in for the read :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Mary, well I would never categorize you as dull :) The certificate certifies that drbj is now a member of the Hubville Symphonic Orchestra, impersonating a bassoonist. Because she is not really a bassoonist, I have to use the term 'impersonation of''. Sometimes I can see only the old lady, or the young girl, in that avatar of hers. I believe that is how we, too, look/feel. Some days as 'old as dirt' and other days as 'young as dew on a rose bud'. Thank you, Mary, for your kind comment :)

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi billybuc, your opinion always counts. Thank you!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      marcoujor, well it must be telepathy between you and me - I had some thoughts about the conductor (me) this morning. But all of that has to wait, for what is a conductor without an orchestra? Oh, I always smile when drbj refer to herself as 'as old as soil/dirt'.... While she is totally adorable. Hugs to you, Maria!

    • MartieCoetser profile imageAUTHOR

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you, Gypsy! Lots of hugs to you :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Funny, witty, musical and smart. What a great combination. Drbj is an amazing hubber and now to find out she is a bassoon artiste!

      Ooooh la la. I will be back to listen to the music again and again. Some of my favs. Good one Martie.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      drbj is one of my favorite Hubbers! As one of the dullest "tools in the shed", I didn't quite understand the Certificate you included that says she is awarded this impersonation of a Bassoon player. I asked drbj to explain her avatar ages ago. Now I know it's an old lady and a young girl. I told you I'm not too sharp!!

      Fun Hub. I loved the music and videos you chose.

      Voted UP, etc.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is one of the most clever series on HP. Excellent job, Martie, just quality writing and you picked a wonderful subject.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh Sista,

      This band is getting bigger and zanier and more fabulous by each installment.

      I am agog at the inner strength and beauty of this fossil...oh I mean drbj, I believe we are the same age (LOL)! Your simple questions get us all to share so much about ourselves, with the power of music.

      I love your series and do hope you are planning to include the conductor

      ( aka) YOU in the line- up some time.

      Voted UP and UABI. Hugs to you both, Maria

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Voted up and awesome. Fascinating hub Martie. Enjoyed reading about the bassoon and bassoon players. Enjoyed all the videos. Loved seeing the video about Abbott and Costello. Used to love watching their movies. Thanks for sharing this wonderful and delightful hub and passing it on. Hugs.


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