Mr. Fred J. Allen

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Intonation Tendencies of Wind Instruments

Flute  | Oboe  | Bassoon  | Clarinet  | Saxophone  | Brass & Percussion 

Quick-reference Guide to Bassoon Intonation Problems

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Bocals come in three common lengths, with 2 being standard, 1 being shorter (sharper) and 3 being longer (flatter).  There are also the rarer sizes of the longer 4 and the shorter 0 and 00.  It harms response to pull the bocal out because of the "bubble" created in the receiving tube.

  • Temperature:  cold = flat, hot = sharp
  • Reed strength:  hard reed = sharp, soft reed = flat
  • Embouchure:  (usually directly related to reed strength) loose embouchure = flat, pinched embouchure = sharp
  • Range:  lower notes are sharp on many bassoons, but the bass joint can be pulled a little from the boot, because there is not bridge key between those two joints.  High range depends on too many factors too generalize.
  • Dynamic range:  Hard to answer this one!  Experienced players flatten in extremely loud dynamics.  Softer dynamics are harder to generalize.  Young players usually do not have a wide dynamic range, and the problem of flatting in a diminuendo is really caused by reed, air and embouchure.


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