Monday, November 12, 2012

"Baltimore Rhapsody" Block #12 - the bassoon, the bass of the woodwinds

The bassoon rounds out the woodwind section of the "Baltimore Rhapsody" symphony blocks.  (Read more about the "Baltimore Rhapsody" project here.)

The body of the bassoon is wooden and would stretch to 8 feet long if it wasn't doubled up so that the player can reach all the keys.  The longer the instrument's body or tubing, the lower the sound.  The bassoon plays in the bass and tenor range...very low.

A thin, metal tube, or bocal, connects the body of the instrument to the double reed...two pieces of reed that are tied together and trimmed carefully to make the mouthpiece.

Air blown through this double reed causes the reeds to vibrate to produce the tone in the same way as the oboe and English horn.  Some people consider the distinctive bassoon sound to be the "comedian" or "clown" of the orchestra.

The bassoon represented the comical, ever-increasing, enchanted brooms carrying buckets of water in the Disney cartoon Fantasia's version of  "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Dukas.

It can also play sweet melodies or whisper the deep tragic feelings expressed in the opening of Tchaikowsky's "Pathetique" Symphony #6.

Remember the "59th Street Bridge Song" by Simon and Garfunkel (also called "Feelin' Groovy")?  The bassoon was featured prominently in that top 40 hit of 1966 (probably the only pop song to feature a bassoon...).

The bassoon was invented in 1600.  It is used in orchestras, bands, and woodwind quintets (along with flute, oboe, clarinet and French horn).

Next, on to the string section of the orchestra!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. Another beautiful block. Such interesting facts and history of instruments - I love it!

  2. You just amaze me! What magnificent blocks. Love the history also.

  3. Just lovely! Cant wait to see (and learn about) the strings - this has been such a treat for all of us.

  4. And now "Feelin Groovy" is stuck in my head. :D Not a bad song to be hanging around today! LOVE LOVE LOVE your work on this project.

  5. Teresa, Again a beautiful block for your quilt....
    Love Love Love your attention to details.

  6. i LOOOOVE your blocks, to me this looks like a flute, isn't the bassoon the huge brass thing?

  7. This is fantastic, Teresa, your workmanship is flawless; plus I love your paras on each instrument--lotsa fun. This will be a fabulous quilt!! Julierose

  8. What a great way to start off the week... another of your gorgeous blocks!

  9. can't wait to see the patterns for sale, I don't know that I would dare to make this but I know I would gift the pattern/(book?) several times. great work!

  10. block #12 and you are making more!
    How big are these blocks?
    Love those leaves and acorns and the history as always.

  11. When I was learning bassoon back in the mid-1960s, it was the Alfred Hitchcock show theme we wanted to learn. Now, how did that go? I can't remember. Can't wait for the patterns to be available.

  12. When you get ready to publish these patterns, PLEASE please get in touch with me - I want to carry them in my quilt shop. :)


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  14. Another great block, I am getting excited for the big reveal of the whole quilt. This has been so nice following your creative process, thank you for sharing each step.

  15. Enjoyed reading about the bassoon, thanks for taking the time to share the information along with your gorgeous block.

  16. Amazing applique! Your bassoon block is awesome. I'm really enjoying your information on instruments in the orchestra too.

  17. Another beautiful block with all those tiny pieces. Thank you for the history lesson as well.


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