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 What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: LaurieBell 
Date:   2018-08-15 15:33

Our adult amateur sextet (woodwind quintet + piano) has lost it's bassoon player and we can't seem to find a replacement. Can anyone suggest another instrument we might substitute?

If push comes to shove, at least for the WWQ pieces, we could ask the pianist to play the bassoon part. Do you think that would be acceptable?

We know it would be a bit of work to re-arrange the bassoon part, but we can't think of what else to do.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2018-08-15 16:22

There’s no good answer: nothing else sounds like a bassoon! A bass clarinet could cover the part, but you’d need a player able to handle with the transposition and bass clef - or rewrite the part in Bb/treble clef.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2018-08-15 17:08

I did a quintet once in school using a bass clarinet for bassoon. But yes, the part has to be transposed and probably copied.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: sax panther 
Date:   2018-08-15 18:36

Bass clarinet would probably be the best choice, but as others have said you'll want to rewrite all the parts for it. Not something you want to do by sight. I've depped for a bassoonist on my bass clarinet once, in an orchestral gig...sightreading tenor clef and also transposing to Bb- one of the trickiest gigs I've done!

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: LaurieBell 
Date:   2018-08-15 18:41

Yes, we would transpose the bassoon music for whichever instrument we could get to play that part.

Bass clarinet sounds like a good choice, although they are almost as scarce as bassoonists on our south side of Atlanta.

Another option I wondered about was maybe tenor saxophone. I heard an ensemble on YouTube that looked to be a WWQ with Piano but they had a sax player subbing for the French Horn. It was unexpectedly lovely. But I don't know if sax would be a good substitute for bassoon.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2018-08-15 19:42

With a contra-alto clarinet in Eb you can read bass-clef bassoon parts directly by pretending they're in treble clef and adding three sharps; the trouble comes when the bassoon part goes into tenor clef. At that point, you're on your own :)

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2018-08-15 19:47

Maybe get a keyboard player to play an electronic keyboard set to sound like a bassoon.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2018-08-15 20:16

A baritone sax with a very "legit" setup could pinch-hit for a bassoon.

I am surprised about all the angst regarding tenor clef. The notes are on the staff exactly where they'd be for a B-flat part. Just delete two flats from the key signature and you can play the parts on a bass clarinet or tenor/bass sax straightaway.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2018-08-15 20:19

You may laugh, but one group I have played in uses a bari sax. Like the contralto clarinet in Eb, you do the pretend thing with the bass-treble clef as noted by David. Or, how about a double bass player or cello?

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: marcia 
Date:   2018-08-15 20:30

Or a non wind sub could be cello. I think it has similar range, and does not require any transposition.

Marcia

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2018-08-15 20:48

If you can find an ophicleidist, you might be all set...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWRfU7a59r4

To my ears, the smaller instrument on the right sure sounds like a good sub for a bassoon.



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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: oian 
Date:   2018-08-15 21:08

Something that may help someone new to the bass clarinet (like me) I made up a key with all the notes in the bass clef, with the transposed notes written directly above them in the treble clef. Using this key I write them into the score I'm transposing below the note in bass clef as if it were the treble clef and play it as such. Of course you should make a copy of the original to do this with. I tried to attach a copy of the key wasn't allowed for some reason



Post Edited (2018-08-15 21:27)

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-08-16 16:28

I have used a Bari sax. Also a wind synthesizer with a bassoon patch transposed to Eb.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-08-16 21:40

a cello could work. definitely has the range to cover the bassoon part.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-08-16 21:58

Are you aware of the Associated Chamber Music Players? They have a directory which has been useful to me at times and they also provide events which can be great for networking and playing with other musicians.

https://www.acmp.net/

Anders

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: William Hughes 2017
Date:   2018-08-16 23:29

I second the Eb Contra Alto-- my instrument of choice. Right range and sight transposition is quite easy. In a previous community band gig, I played the bassoon part 80% of the time.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-08-17 00:41

Bari sax fits the range well, but (as mentioned above) you need a Bari players who does "legit" style (almost impossible to find here in NZ at any rate, but quite possible to do). Tenor sax doesn't really go low enough, but in my experience SOUNDS better, fits the ensemble better and is more "bassoon like". Just my 2c

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: davyd 
Date:   2018-08-17 01:05

Tenor sax isn't a good substitute for bassoon - doesn't go nearly low enough. Same with Eb alto clarinet (good luck finding one, too).

Maybe a bass clef euphonium? No transposition issues, though tenor clef might well be a problem.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: LaurieBell 
Date:   2018-08-17 14:47

I had to look up "ophicleide". That's interesting.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: LaurieBell 
Date:   2018-08-17 14:50

I had previously joined the Associated Chamber Music Players, but didn't find it useful for me. Atlanta, and its nearby metro cities, is so spread out, it doesn't do us much good to find chamber players 80 miles away.

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2018-08-18 21:32

A more helpful suggestion: If you can find a tubist who can really work their way around an F tuba, you'd be in business.

I regret there's a lot of commentary in the video, but there's some really deft F tuba playing here. Note how sprightly and light-on-its-feet the F tuba is, without all the "flatulent" artifacts you might normally associate with tubas...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG4fWWaA77s

As a low brass player and enthusiast as well as a clarinetist, it's sad to me that the ophicleide has been largely relegated to the dustbin of history. Kindly listen to this movement of Symphonie Fantastique played as scored by Berlioz, with serpent and ophicleide. Using a tuba to cover the ophicleide and serpent just seems so...blasphemous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZzr4xXPeyw



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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: MusicMadnessShirts 
Date:   2018-08-18 23:07

A bass clarinet would definitely work well but it would just be a big challenge. As long as they’re able to handle it, it’d work

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 Re: What's a substitute for bassoon
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2018-08-19 19:57

I saw this thread and I was like, “Nothing is a substitute for a bassoon.” LOL

Isn’t a bari sax too loud?

You know they have those single reed mouthpieces for bassoons, so that clarinetists and saxophonists can fake it - if you have a bassoon and know the fingerings.

- Matthew Simington


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