B is for…

A bassoon is a large woodwind instrument with a low range and a double reed.  In music the larger the instrument, the lower the notes it plays.

Bass and baritone may be used together or separately to describe singers with low and lower voices.  A family of instruments may include a bass one, but things are not always what they seem.  The range of a bass recorder is equivalent to an alto singing voice, but the music for it is written in the bass clef and sounds an octave higher than written.  A double bass is a large string instrument in an orchestra.  It plays music which sounds an octave lower than the written notes.  A similar smaller instrument in a jazz ensemble (for example) would be called an acoustic bass (even when amplified) to distinguish it from a bass guitar, which comes in electric or acoustic forms.

What else begins with B?

A brass band includes various instruments.  If you want to know about a barrel-organ, please come back later, I am mentioning that in a week from now.

A banjo is a stringed instrument unlikely to be found in an orchestra.  Bagpipes are often associated with Scotland, but there are other similar instruments from other places.  Bagpipers may practise (without using the full volume possible with the bag) by using a chanter on its own.  But that begins with C…


27 thoughts on “B is for…

  1. Bill Douglas uses this instrument a good bit in his music. If you haven’t heard of him, I’d encourage you to check him out. He’s a new-age artist. I’m enjoying your posts.


  2. A bassoon can be used for an interesting effect though I much prefer the sound of an oboe.

    Have you heard any of the banjo work of Sandy Bull? He does some wonderful things with classical music on the banjo.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog


  3. Reading this brought back many wonderful memories of my years in Wind Ensemble. I played brass instruments – trumpet and french horn. Good luck this April. This is my first attempt at the A-Z challenge. 🙂


  4. One of the instruments I’d like to learn is the bassoon, since it has such a melancholy sound. I’m even more interested in its ancestor the dulcian, which has an even more melancholy sound. It’s hard to find affordable Renaissance and Medieval instruments, even if they’re just modern replicas and not real antiques.


  5. Hi Sue .. I love these .. and I’m so unmusical – but I love finding out .. you mention Bagpipes .. and looking in the Oxford Dictionary of Music … I see there is an A for Alphorn … part of the Bagpipe family!

    Cheers Hilary


    • My favourite is the piano. I also play descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders occasionally. In my youth I played the clarinet, but it requires practice and breath control. My attempt to learn the violin was a complete failure.
      Do you play an instrument? Sue


  6. Wind instruments are sounds apart and so interesting in their own way. I’ve tried the clarinet some time ago, without much success, but enjoy listening to others play it.


    • Have you seen the sound waves displayed? Different instruments produce different patterns. The clarinet is a good instrument in lots of different styles of music, jazz and classical for instance. Which do you enjoy? Sue


      • I tried the clarinet for folk music, but I enjoy it for jazz as well. Yes, different patterns and vibrations. Beautiful music. (And I hope this reply doesn’t show up twice. )


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