A series of films demonstratin some of the many effects possible within the repertoise of the basson. These techniques are important to understand from the perspective of both composer and musician alike.
Vibrato is a slight undulation in pitch. It can also be a variation in intensity of sound. Either way the effect is of a sound that 'wobbles' slightly. Written instruction in the music - Vib. or Vibrato. Sometimes with a wavy line just after the note. If a composer wants lots of vibrato, they may write Molto Vib. or if a plain sound is required, Non Vib. Generally vibrato is used sparingly on the bassoon especially in chords.
A slide in pitch between notes. The beginning and end note of the glissando are written and connected by either a straight or a wavy line. Usually the word gliss or glissando will be written above. Possible on holed notes, but extremely limited on keyed notes. The contrabassoon has entirely covered holes, so embouchure gliss is the only possibility.
The bassoon produces a more 'reedy' sound as it becomes louder. It is notated by verbal instruction - molto crescendo.
Using different fingerings to change the timbre of a given note. Fingerings may be specified using standard fingering notation. It is usual to leave the player to choose the fingering. This is normally done to effect dynamics.
A soft object inserted into the end of the bassoon to muffle the sound. Notation: con sord. or con sordino. Mutes are only effective in the bottom register of the bassoon and extremely rare on the contrabassoon.
Tremolo or 'shake'
A trill or rapid alternation between two notes more than a tone apart. Thick slanting lines between two notes. The tremolo shown on the left lasts for one beat. Most are possible, except for very low on the bassoon. However, shakes over more than a 4th can sound clumsy on a solo instrument.
A rapid alternation between two pitches - either a tone or a semitone apart. The example shows a minor trill (semitone) followed by a major trill (whole tone), indicated by accidentals over the note. If these are not given, players will choose a trill type based on musical context. Wavy lines to indicate the duration of a trill are optional. All trills are possible, except low down on the bassoon and the contra. Timbral trills are also possible.