Saturday, January 22, 2011

Does playing an historical instrument affect your modern playing?

I’ve had a funny week.
I have two bassoon teachers: Jo Ann, my modern teacher; and Mathieu, my baroque teacher. Jo Ann has recently shown some hesitation towards me taking up the baroque bassoon, and rightly so. At first she was very encouraging and was the one to get me in touch with Mathieu, but now that the baroque bassoon is taking more and more of my practice time it’s starting to invade on her territory.

Also, the way I play the baroque bassoon feels to me to be very different. There’s no resistance, I can pinch and the tone isn’t easily affected… etc. It seems, unfortunately, that I’ve been approaching my Heckel in the same manner i.e. not supporting, pinching and so on. I didn’t really notice how much it had affected my modern playing until Jo Ann and I just played a scale through the full register of the bassoon. Anyways, now I’m on a diet of long tone and slow scale exercises to get me back in the loop.  Thanks Jo Ann!
What really confuses me is that my modern playing could always be better in tune, but my intonation on the baroque bassoon seems to be in great shape.
This experience has led me to ask: Have you found that there are there both negatives and positives in playing both the modern and baroque equivalents to your instrument?
I’m curious to hear what you might have to say!
Here’s one of my favourite pieces for Gamba and Continuo, Enjoy

2 comments:

  1. I've always loved music, and wanted to play various instruments from when I was five to now. My first main instrument was piano, but I quickly picked up the clarinet, and I desperetely wanted to learn flute, and then I learned guitar too. Then, lucky for me my brother thought he might want to play french horn, and so we borrowed one from a family friend. I was having a lot of fun with it, but then I learned that playing a brass intrument would ruin my emboucher, and I had to stop. I never really had negative side effects, seeing as at that time I wasn't too serious about practicing bassoon at all. Heh. I still shoudl get more serious about it seeing as Ihve the three biggest performances of my life coming up in the next two weeks...

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  2. Hi Rose,

    I had no idea brass could be so detrimental to a double reed embouchure. Maybe at such a crucial age it's best to pick your favorite instrument?
    I feel for you about the bassoon not having been a priority before. I am kicking myself now for not practice enough in high school.

    Thanks for commenting!

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