[lit-ideas] Andy: Then why are the Americans so hated?

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 09:52:16 -0500

Andy: Then why are the Americans so hated?

Eric: You think Americans are hated, you should read what bassoonists think of French bassoons. The usual orchestral or soloist bassoon, like a Hekel, is the so-called German bassoon.

French bassoons on the other hand, such as was taught by the great French bassoonist Letellier, are very uncomfortable to play. The French bassoon has no thumb B-flat key; instead it has the key for right hand ring finger--the main key, used in conjunction with 1, 2, and the low E thumb hole to produce an excellent B flat--and it does retain the classic and excellent "forked B-flat". Still, there are many types of music for which the French bassoon simply tangles one's fingers and which require much arduous practice for even adequate performance.

For an example of why the French bassoon is so unpopular these days, listen to the opening of the Finale to Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 4. What this design lacks for this piece is another touch for the right thumb so the bassoonist can depress the B-flat key on the French bassoon. It lacks one, natch!

Perhaps if French bassoonists were not so unilateral in their pedagogy and bizarre fingerings, the world of concert performers would open their arms and insert double reeds to greet them in a great sloppy group hug.

On the other hand, you can't please everyone and it's foolish to try.

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