New Techniques for the Bassoon

Most college level bassoonists have begun to experiment with “extended” techniques on the instrument.  As part of my DMA preparation I am doing a lot of research on extended techniques.  No list of techniques is exhaustive, but one book (that is unfortunately no longer in print, but might be found at your college library) has a very extensive set of detailed descriptions on various extended techniques.  This book is Il fagotto : altre techniche : nuove fonti di espressione musicale (The bassoon : other techniques : new sources of musical expression) By Sergio Penazzi.  It’s got loads of multiphonic fingerings, timbre trill fingerings, flutter-tonguing technique… loads of stuff described in detail.  He also likes to use the typically undesireable noises of the keys on the bassoon deliberately for effect, sometimes within the context of a pitch.

Along with the book are supossed to be two disks with audio examples mentioned in the text.  Unfortunately they’re vinyl, and set up very odd at that – they look like 45s, but they play at 33rpm… go figure.  Anyway, I took the liberty of digitizing the examples, so if someone doesn’t have access to a record player, or if the disks are too damaged on the copy they have available, you can hear the examples here.

So here are the examples from the book.  I’ve run the files through a filter to remove the more offensive crackling and popping, but the source disks weren’t in great shape, so this is probably the best I could do.  Each clip is an entire side of a disk, running about 9 minutes.

If there is demand I’ll edit the post to contain a brief description of what the example is doing, but most of it is pretty intuitive.

I have no idea how he makes the insanely high notes.  I didn’t read that part of the text.  It’s gotta be with an insanely stiff reed and teeth.  Holy crap…

Bonus fun: play all four samples at the same time

Update: I found the files after having lost them, and now they’re back for good!

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24 Comments

  1. Vincent Ellin

     /  September 12, 2008

    Thanks for posting this. I have been using the Penazzi book for over 20 years. I had several quarter tone works written where this was indepensible, unfortunately my book never came with the records. Is there a way that this file can be down-loaded.

    Reply
  2. Eduardo Moguillansky

     /  November 27, 2008

    These are great, thanks!
    Could you post the files as direct links? I would love to listen to them with greater detail, maybe analyze them more carefully also.

    Reply
  3. trentjacobs

     /  November 27, 2008

    I edited the post to contain direct links. They weren’t all that hard to figure out anyway if you looked carefully enough at the page source.

    Reply
  4. Anka Kovac

     /  May 24, 2010

    Hello! I am bassoonist player from Croatia and I am writing my DMA in extended techniques, I ahve heard about this book that u are speaking but I can find it in Croatia and Germany where I am now. So can You pleas help me how to get that book. Thank You very much.

    Reply
    • trentjacobs

       /  May 24, 2010

      This book is out of print. I wouldn’t even know where to get a copy in the USA! I would suggest you find a copy of Pascal Gallois: The Techniques Of Bassoon Playing instead. It has just recently been published and is more up-to-date and practical than the Penazzi.

      Reply
  5. are.kay.more

     /  October 6, 2010

    Good grief! He gets some really amazing sounds out of a bassoon. Some of those high notes are incredible! Thank you very much for sharing this.

    Reply
  6. valdir caires

     /  March 30, 2011

    Is there someone that have this book? I think that it is too difficult to get…big hug

    Reply
    • trentjacobs

       /  March 30, 2011

      See my above comment about Pascal Gallois’ new book.

      Reply
  7. valdir caires

     /  April 7, 2011

    I bought this book (Pascal Gallois)and it is very interesting. However, I would like to take a copy of Penazzi. Can you send me by PDF? my e.mail is cairesbassoon@gmail.com

    Reply
  8. valdir caires

     /  April 7, 2011

    Excuse me. My correct e.mail is cairesbassoon@uol.com.br

    Reply
  9. Alessandro Ratoci

     /  May 15, 2011

    Please, any clue on the pdf of the book?

    THanks

    Reply
  10. ALessandro Ratoci

     /  May 15, 2011

    that’s so bad…suvini zerboni seems to sell it still, but i don’t know how much i can trust italian publisher to rapidly send such a rare book…
    Alessandro

    Reply
  11. irma

     /  August 8, 2012

    Hi! Thank you very much for the examples!!.
    The only…Ive taken the book from the library and I can’t find where the examples are…
    I’d like to know the correspondances between your sound examples and the printed ones.
    Could you please help me with this?

    Thank you very much in advance!!

    All the Best (and of course thanks for your post!!)

    Reply
    • trentjacobs

       /  August 8, 2012

      Unfortunately I don’t have access to the book anymore, so I’m unable to help you with this. Best of luck.

      Reply
    • Hi irma! I am a student composer now composing a work for piano bassoon 2 violins, and violoncello and I really need a text on extended bassoon techniques. I cam across your post on this bassoon forum. Is there anyway that you can send me the .pdf book of the Penazzi book? I would appreciate it sooo much!

      Reply
  12. Side 2 from about 2:30 – 3:30, what’s he doing there? Alla tromba? It can’t just be that even if I’m right (which I’m by no means very certain of).
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • trentjacobs

       /  November 23, 2012

      Your guess is as good as mine what’s going on at any given moment. I don’t have access to the book anymore so I can’t relay whatever might be the example there.

      Reply

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