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Thread: Flute player looking to take up a 2nd woodwind

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    Default Flute player looking to take up a 2nd woodwind

    Hi everyone! I'm a flute player who plays with the local college orchestra. We have the chronic problem of having too many flutes and too few of the less common instruments like oboe, bassoon, etc. It's likely I'll be playing with them for quite a long time and am thinking long-term. I'm still young and want to learn something new! I have always enjoyed the deeper sounds like a bass clarinet and wouldn't mind learning treble/bass clef so I could play bassoon parts if needed.

    Double reeds scare me, but I am open to hearing about those instruments
    What is it like to learn an instrument like bass clarinet? I played alto sax a bit in high school and found that enjoyable.

    Thank you for any input you might have!

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    I am not going to deal with the physical playing of a double reed vs single. But most orchestral music does not include a bass clarinet part. And you automatically can not take the bassoon part and play it on the bass clarinet because (1) their range is not the same and (2) the bass clarinet is a "B-flat instrument" that uses the treble clef while the bassoon is a "C instrument" that is in the bass clef. Which means to play a printed bassoon part, you would have to transpose the part up a whole step and preferably have it written in the treble clef unless you can transpose by sight off the bass clef bassoon part and account for octave displacement when the bassoon part goes beyond the bass clarinet's range.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    I would recommend starting with B-flat clarinet. Then if you wanted to, go to other instruments. The fingerings are similar to the flute, but it depends upon what register you’re playing in and this might be a bit of an adjustment for you. The clarinet is very doable. But make sure you get the embouchure right from the very beginning, and that might mean taking a few lessons so you don’t learn bad habits. I started out on clarinet then went to saxophone and flute, and clarinet is a wonderful instrument because its sound is woody and warm. I still love it. Of course, the concertos by Mozart and con Weber are classics, most people probably already know the Brahms loved the instrument too.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-13-2019 at 00:53.
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    Thanks, both! :-)

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