Bach transcription for technical practice (and fun)

Unfortunately for us bassoonists Bach didn’t write all that much specifically for us. The instrument of his time wasn’t as flexible as the members of the string family or keyboards, and it lacked the carrying power that the range of the flute provides. So what we get is usually continuo parts or occasionally an interesting actual solo line in something like the orchestral suites, but frequently the “fun” material is pretty short lived.

While I love continuo playing, I sometimes lust after the music the violins or other more “solo” instruments get. So I set my sights high and made a transcription of the violin part from Bach’s 4th Brandenburg concerto. It’s terribly not idiomatic for our instrument so it provides a challenge on what to do with transposition of octaves (retaining the original key) and then also a challenge to play given some of the requirements of the notes themselves, especially at typical performance tempi.

This is not really designed to be a drop-in replacement for the violin for the ambitious bassoonist that actually wants to solo on this piece, although it could be used that way. It’s probably not balanced at all. I made it more for a practice piece. It covers the entire range of the bassoon from low B to high D, and not always in the way that is practical if I were writing this as a performance version. Still, it’s fun to play Bach so I’m releasing it into the world for anyone else that wants something interesting and fresh to practice.

Addressing Stress VPI part 2

I did not write an update that indicated that I had a follow-up scheduled with the ENT to attempt the procedure of bulking up my palette, but the doctor worked out the details and we scheduled a short out-patient procedure that happened a few hours ago.

The procedure wasn’t much different than the initial diagnosis process, in that she put a camera through my nose, but this time she also needed to reach through my mouth into the area with a needle to put in the injection. Full honesty, this was not a pleasant experience. She had to use two different numbing agents in my nose and additional anti-gag medicine (who knew such a thing existed?) to get safely into my mouth.

So she had me make the snorting noise, located the area and after a couple of attempts before I figured out how to relax my anatomy in the way she needed to access the right area, made the injection. With all the numbing medicine I wouldn’t say it was painful, but I could actually hear the squirt out of the needle into my palette through my bone structure. And yeah it wasn’t exactly comfortable.

She pulled out the needle and asked me to make the noise again.

I literally could not do it.

This is something that I figured was just normal, but at least according to my wife, this is how most people typically feel this little part of their nose/throat working. Having this seal up completely with such little effort is like finding out that all this time my elbow was also supposed to bend in the other direction.

I’m not going to dive into playing, but rather let the area settle down for 24 hours, so I might try playing a bit tomorrow night. I’ll be on some preventative antibiotics for a couple weeks and I might need some mild pain killers. There are some other weird potential side effects that others that have had this procedure done have experienced (like neck pain) but we expect they will be mild if anything.

For the next follow-up post to this I’ll include more medical specifics for those curious, and my experience playing since the procedure. She said the injection typically lasts about 3 months. So we’ll see if it’s worth maintaining or not, but so far I’m hopeful.