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View Poll Results: Which 3 combinations have the best colours?

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18. You may not vote on this poll
  • Bassoon and piccolo

    0 0%
  • Bassoon and flute

    3 16.67%
  • Bassoon and oboe

    3 16.67%
  • Bassoon and cor anglais

    1 5.56%
  • Bassoon and clarinet

    5 27.78%
  • Bassoon and bass clarinet

    2 11.11%
  • Bassoon and bassoon. Two bassoons.

    2 11.11%
  • Bassoon and French horn

    1 5.56%
  • Bassoon (staccato) and xylophone???

    1 5.56%
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Thread: Colours of bassoon and wind intruments

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rhombic's Avatar
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    Default Colours of bassoon and wind intruments

    I am a composer and I have been thinking about how to include interesting passages in a small-scale orchestral work, which includes 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 oboes, 1 cor anglais, 2 flutes, 1 piccolo, 2 bassoons and 3 french horns, apart from the strings and percussion.
    I was thinking about the best combinations of bassoon and other instruments, so I thought that you TC members could vote on this poll and comment on the colours obtained by each combination. I accidentally restricted it to one vote per member for no particular reason.
    Last edited by Rhombic; Feb-16-2014 at 15:01.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    No one can say which is 'best' until the music is written for the particular instruments, because that is where it will tell.

    Any of these combinations are "good," but I would like to think your musical invention would itself clarify what choices you make (notes conceived of, and the instrumental specifics being one and the same).

    So much depends upon the register, if you are talking about doublings or each instrument having different material, and what, if anything, is; in front of; follows; or accompanies "said passage."

    It is up to you. Now that you've had a nice little break visiting TC, it is time to get back to work :-)
    Last edited by PetrB; Feb-16-2014 at 22:35.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Dunno about 'best'. Bassoon and oboe are complimentary. So are bassoon and English horn, but it's probably easier to write for if the bassoon part stays low... ?
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  6. #4
    Senior Member schuberkovich's Avatar
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    Bassoon always makes flute sound good. Brahms uses it a lot.

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  8. #5
    Senior Member Richannes Wrahms's Avatar
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    Bass clarinet can "lift" the bassoon (as in Le Sacre du printemps which happens to contain many "bassoon combinations"), bassoon + clarinet in unison or octaves blends into a mournful/pensive combined timbre (one of my favourite common pairings).

    Might want to pay a visit to old Rimsky-Korsakov to get more ideas http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ration-On-line
    Last edited by Richannes Wrahms; Feb-19-2014 at 02:53.

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  10. #6
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    OK, I had no idea that Rimsky-Korsakov page existed. As I'm trying to compose for orchestra, that looks like it'll be a goldmine!
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  12. #7
    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Why look to 120-year old music to see how to orchestrate? Scheherezade is nice and all that but... Rimsky might be the very beginning part of a programme to understand starting out (maybe alongside Mozart, Berlioz and Wagner as examples where there is plenty to learn), but then you should also get through R Strauss, Ravel and Stravinsky before you might think you know what the bassoon can do under regular circumstances (and these guys all tested that weird bit of plumbing in their own way) before you can blow you mind on something more contemporary. (a) don't be beholden to some old guy for how to do it, but (b) learn your stuff first - Rimsky won't be a goldmine, but may help you pick away at your first tunnel (or whatever suitable gold mining metaphor)

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  14. #8
    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    all combinations are best
    do what is best in the piece of music that you write
    bassoon and hobo (and cor anglais) have much in common, they are both double reeds and are more "piercing" and "nasal" than other woodwinds
    bassoon and flute works well as it can give a kind of warm depth sometimes, piccolo is a higher version of the flute, I hope you know this? So if you WANT the parts of bassoon and other instrument to be very close in register, I wouldn't chose a piccolo, but like I said it depends on what you want.
    bassoon and clarinet or bassoon and french horn is also really great
    if you want the parts to sound very similar in timbre two bassoons would be great
    bassoon and a xylophone doubling it (if thats what you mean? I'm not sure) would also be great sometimes because they are very different instruments

    it really depends totally on the music whats better, I know examples of all combinations which are really great

    since you are a composer and still learing, why don't you do this exercise? Make as an exercise small pieces for 2 instruments only,in all combinations you have given in your poll, in whatever style you like to write in, because in every style this would be a good exercise.
    And make sure every piece will sound (in some way) at least as good as the others!
    How emotionally or personal they will be for you to decide, or how "complex", anything. I would myself always make an exercise I do very personal and according to my emotions that fit best with the exercise, making it both an exercise as a
    "serious" piece, but you could also see it purely as an exercise.

    Im not saying you have to do anything but I know for everyone this will be very helpful, so I recommend it. Also making solo pieces for woodwinds if youve never done so (of course it could be you have done everything what I said already). It will all help to write better in orchestral works and know what you like or find beautiful or inspiring or moving or whatever.


    also, I like the book for orchestration by Rimsky Korsakov too, you might also want the one by Samuel Adler

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  16. #9
    Senior Member schuberkovich's Avatar
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    I have never tried to compose any orchestral music but I think that the bassoon must be one of the most versatile instruments in terms of orchestration. It blends and adds warmth and richness to every instrument; it has great bass and middle registers for accompanying; and the tenor register can be used as both a great accompanier as well as for solos.

  17. #10
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    Why look to 120-year old music to see how to orchestrate? Scheherezade is nice and all that but... Rimsky might be the very beginning part of a programme to understand starting out (maybe alongside Mozart, Berlioz and Wagner as examples where there is plenty to learn), but then you should also get through R Strauss, Ravel and Stravinsky before you might think you know what the bassoon can do under regular circumstances (and these guys all tested that weird bit of plumbing in their own way) before you can blow you mind on something more contemporary. (a) don't be beholden to some old guy for how to do it, but (b) learn your stuff first - Rimsky won't be a goldmine, but may help you pick away at your first tunnel (or whatever suitable gold mining metaphor)
    Quote Originally Posted by maestro267 View Post
    OK, I had no idea that Rimsky-Korsakov page existed. As I'm trying to compose for orchestra, that looks like it'll be a goldmine!
    To reinforce what Dgee has said:

    Two of the 'classic' and better known treatises on orchestration are by Berlioz and Rimsky Korsakov. That said, they are best studied keeping in mind they are 'about' how each composer orchestrated their music. That is not a bad thing to study, but "follow" it too closely, and instead of good general information to add to a more contemporary book with a more comprehensive view (Samuel Adler ~ Orchestration), you will be then somewhat 'copying' the instrumentation habits of each author.

    The Adler book has a wide array of examples from numerous composers, including those from the first half of the 20th century... a much better in-detail book and 'survey' of what you will be wanting to investigate than one or two more texts specific to one composer, and each of those antique, at that :-)
    Last edited by PetrB; Feb-23-2014 at 22:19.

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  19. #11
    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    That is not a bad thing to study, but "follow" it too closely, and instead of good general information too add to a more contemporary book with a more comprehensive view (Samuel Adler ~ Orchestration), you will be then somewhat 'copying' the instrumentation habits of each author.

    The Adler book has a wide array of examples from numerous composers, including those from the first half of the 20th century... a much better in-detail book and 'survey' of what you will be wanting to investigate than one or two more texts specific to one composer, and each of those antique, at that :-)
    Yeah I wouldn't know what to do without my Adler book. Especially the first half in which all the usual classical instruments and what you can and can't do with them are extensively explained.

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  21. #12
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    Depends what level of group you are writing for. If you are writing music that might be played by amateurs don't include an oboe. Amateur oboe players have difficulty controlling the sound on the high and low notes and so the oboe can be louder than anything else around it. English Horn tends to be quieter and so will blend in better. Professional oboists can play what they want so they will blend in.

  22. #13
    Senior Member Freischutz's Avatar
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    Don't forget the contrabassoon! Lots of fun to be had with that.

  23. #14
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    Don't forget the basset horn.

    Basset horn + bassoon = woodwinds intensify
    2 basset horns + 2 bassoons = Mozart's Requiem = incredibly well sounding combination

  24. #15
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    As a bassoonist, I always enjoyed the sound of the french horn. Second is the cor anglais.

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