A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument; the history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications; the date and origin of the first device considered. The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple flute, dates back as far as 67,000 years; some consensus dates early flutes to about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition and the relative instability of materials used to make them.
Many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone and other non-durable materials. Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the Middle Ages, instruments from Mesopotamia were in maritime Southeast Asia, Europeans played instruments from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North and South America shared musical instruments. By 1400, musical instrument development was dominated by the Occident. Musical instrument classification is a discipline in its own right, many systems of classification have been used over the years. Instruments can be classified by their material composition, their size, etc.. However, the most common academic method, Hornbostel-Sachs, uses the means by which they produce sound; the academic study of musical instruments is called organology. A musical instrument makes sounds.
Once humans moved from making sounds with their bodies—for example, by clapping—to using objects to create music from sounds, musical instruments were born. Primitive instruments were designed to emulate natural sounds, their purpose was ritual rather than entertainment; the concept of melody and the artistic pursuit of musical composition were unknown to early players of musical instruments. A player sounding a flute to signal the start of a hunt does so without thought of the modern notion of "making music". Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from "found objects" such a shells and plant parts; as instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments. One plays a musical instrument by interacting with it in some way—for example, by plucking the strings on a string instrument. Researchers have discovered archaeological evidence of musical instruments in many parts of the world.
Some finds are 67,000 years old, however their status as musical instruments is in dispute. Consensus solidifies about artifacts dated back to around 37,000 years old and later. Only artifacts made from durable materials or using durable methods tend to survive; as such, the specimens found. In July 1995, Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Turk discovered a bone carving in the northwest region of Slovenia; the carving, named the Divje Babe Flute, features four holes that Canadian musicologist Bob Fink determined could have been used to play four notes of a diatonic scale. Researchers estimate the flute's age at between 43,400 and 67,000 years, making it the oldest known musical instrument and the only musical instrument associated with the Neanderthal culture. However, some archaeologists and ethnomusicologists dispute the flute's status as a musical instrument. German archaeologists have found mammoth bone and swan bone flutes dating back to 30,000 to 37,000 years old in the Swabian Alps; the flutes were made in the Upper Paleolithic age, are more accepted as being the oldest known musical instruments.
Archaeological evidence of musical instruments was discovered in excavations at the Royal Cemetery in the Sumerian city of Ur. These instruments, one of the first ensembles of instruments yet discovered, include nine lyres, two harps, a silver double flute and cymbals. A set of reed-sounded silver pipes discovered in Ur was the predecessor of modern bagpipes; the cylindrical pipes feature three side-holes. These excavations, carried out by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s, uncovered non-degradable fragments of instruments and the voids left by the degraded segments that, have been used to reconstruct them; the graves these instruments were buried in have been carbon dated to between 2600 and 2500 BC, providing evidence that these instruments were used in Sumeria by this time. Archaeologists in the Jiahu site of central Henan province of China have found flutes made of bones that date back 7,000 to 9,000 years, representing some of the "earliest complete, tightly-dated, multinote musical instruments" found.
Scholars agree that there are no reliable methods of determining the exact chronology of musical instruments across cultures. Comparing and organizing instruments based on their complexity is misleading, since advancements in musical instruments have sometimes reduced complexity. For example, construction of early slit drums involved f
The cor anglais or English horn in North America, is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. It is one and a half times the length of an oboe; the cor anglais is a transposing instrument pitched in a perfect fifth lower than the oboe. This means that music for the cor anglais is written a perfect fifth higher than the instrument sounds; the fingering and playing technique used for the cor anglais are the same as those of the oboe and oboists double on the cor anglais when required. The cor anglais lacks the lowest B♭ key found on most oboes and so its sounding range stretches from E3 below middle C to C6 two octaves above middle C; the pear-shaped bell of the cor anglais gives it a more covered timbre than the oboe, closer in tonal quality to the oboe d'amore. Whereas the oboe is the soprano instrument of the oboe family, the cor anglais is regarded as the tenor member of the family, the oboe d'amore—pitched between the two in the key of A—as the alto member; the cor anglais is perceived to have a more plaintive tone than the oboe.
Its appearance differs from the oboe in that the reed is attached to a bent metal tube called the bocal, or crook, the bell has a bulbous shape. It is much longer; the cor anglais is notated in the treble clef, a perfect fifth higher than sounding. Some composers notated it in the bass clef, when the lower register was persistently used, several other options were employed. Alto clef written at sounding pitch is used by as late a composer as Sergei Prokofiev. In late-18th- and early-19th-century Italy, where the instrument was played by bassoonists instead of oboists, it was notated in the bass clef an octave below sounding pitch. French operatic composers up to Fromental Halévy notated the instrument at sounding pitch in the mezzo-soprano clef, which enabled the player to read the part as if it were in the treble clef. Although the instrument descends only to low B♮, continental instruments with an extension to low B♭ have existed since early in the 19th century. Examples of works requiring this note include Arnold Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, Heitor Villa-Lobos's Chôros No.
6, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Zeitmaße. Antonín Dvořák, in his Scherzo Capriccioso writes for the cor anglais down to low A, though it seems unlikely that such an extension existed. Reeds used to play the cor anglais are similar to those used for an oboe, consisting of a piece of cane folded in two. While the cane on an oboe reed is mounted on a small metal tube covered in cork, there is no such cork on a cor anglais reed, which fits directly on the bocal; the cane part of the reed is longer than that of the oboe. Unlike American style oboe reeds, cor anglais reeds have wire at the base 5 mm from the top of the string used to attach the cane to the staple; this wire serves to stabilize tone and pitch. The best-known makers of modern cors anglais are the French firms of F. Lorée, Marigaux and Rigoutat, the British firm of T. W. Howarth, the American firm Fox Products. Instruments from smaller makers, such as A. Laubin, are sought after. Instruments are made from African blackwood, although some makers offer instruments in a choice of alternative woods as well, such as cocobolo or violet wood, which are said to alter the voice of the cor anglais reputedly making it more mellow and warmer.
Fox has made some instruments in plastic resin and in maple. The term cor anglais is French for English horn, but the instrument is neither from England nor related to the various conical-bore brass instruments called "horns", such as the French horn, the natural horn, the post horn, or the alto horn; the instrument originated in Silesia about 1720, when a bulb bell was fitted to a curved oboe da caccia-type body by the Weigel family of Breslau. The two-keyed, open-belled, straight tenor oboe, more the flare-belled oboe da caccia, resembled the horns played by angels in religious images of the Middle Ages; this gave rise in German-speaking central Europe to the Middle High German name engellisches Horn, meaning angelic horn. Because engellisch meant English in the vernacular of the time, the "angelic horn" became the "English horn". In the absence of any better alternative, the curved, bulb-belled tenor oboe retained the name after the oboe da caccia fell into disuse around 1760; the name first appeared on a regular basis in Italian and Austrian scores from 1741 on in the Italian form corno inglese.
The earliest known orchestral part for the instrument is in the Vienna version of Niccolò Jommelli's opera Ezio dating from 1749, where it was given the Italian name corno inglese. Gluck and Haydn followed suit in the 1750s, the first English horn concertos were written in the 1770s; the Schwarzenberg Wind Harmonie of 1771 employed 2 Cor Anglais as well as 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns. The Prince Fürst Joseph Adam Johann Nepomuk Franz de Paula Joachim Judas Thaddäus Abraham von Schwarzenberg was a keen boar hunter and so most employed Oboe de Caccia players, which explains the preference for the new Cor Anglais as opposed to the Clarinet. Johan Went was 1st; the first Oboe Trios were co
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft and ductile metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement. Copper is one of the few metals; this led to early human use in several regions, from c. 8000 BC. Thousands of years it was the first metal to be smelted from sulfide ores, c. 5000 BC, the first metal to be cast into a shape in a mold, c. 4000 BC and the first metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, c. 3500 BC. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, the origin of the name of the metal, from aes сyprium corrupted to сuprum, from which the words derived and copper, first used around 1530.
The encountered compounds are copper salts, which impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite and turquoise, have been used and as pigments. Copper used in buildings for roofing, oxidizes to form a green verdigris. Copper is sometimes used in decorative art, both in its elemental metal form and in compounds as pigments. Copper compounds are used as bacteriostatic agents and wood preservatives. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase. In molluscs and crustaceans, copper is a constituent of the blood pigment hemocyanin, replaced by the iron-complexed hemoglobin in fish and other vertebrates. In humans, copper is found in the liver and bone; the adult body contains between 2.1 mg of copper per kilogram of body weight. Copper and gold are in group 11 of the periodic table; the filled d-shells in these elements contribute little to interatomic interactions, which are dominated by the s-electrons through metallic bonds.
Unlike metals with incomplete d-shells, metallic bonds in copper are lacking a covalent character and are weak. This observation explains the low high ductility of single crystals of copper. At the macroscopic scale, introduction of extended defects to the crystal lattice, such as grain boundaries, hinders flow of the material under applied stress, thereby increasing its hardness. For this reason, copper is supplied in a fine-grained polycrystalline form, which has greater strength than monocrystalline forms; the softness of copper explains its high electrical conductivity and high thermal conductivity, second highest among pure metals at room temperature. This is because the resistivity to electron transport in metals at room temperature originates from scattering of electrons on thermal vibrations of the lattice, which are weak in a soft metal; the maximum permissible current density of copper in open air is 3.1×106 A/m2 of cross-sectional area, above which it begins to heat excessively. Copper is one of a few metallic elements with a natural color other than silver.
Pure copper acquires a reddish tarnish when exposed to air. The characteristic color of copper results from the electronic transitions between the filled 3d and half-empty 4s atomic shells – the energy difference between these shells corresponds to orange light; as with other metals, if copper is put in contact with another metal, galvanic corrosion will occur. Copper does not react with water, but it does react with atmospheric oxygen to form a layer of brown-black copper oxide which, unlike the rust that forms on iron in moist air, protects the underlying metal from further corrosion. A green layer of verdigris can be seen on old copper structures, such as the roofing of many older buildings and the Statue of Liberty. Copper tarnishes when exposed to some sulfur compounds, with which it reacts to form various copper sulfides. There are 29 isotopes of copper. 63Cu and 65Cu are stable, with 63Cu comprising 69% of occurring copper. The other isotopes are radioactive, with the most stable being 67Cu with a half-life of 61.83 hours.
Seven metastable isotopes have been characterized. Isotopes with a mass number above 64 decay by β−, whereas those with a mass number below 64 decay by β+. 64Cu, which has a half-life of 12.7 hours, decays both ways.62Cu and 64Cu have significant applications. 62Cu is used in 62Cu-PTSM as a radioactive tracer for positron emission tomography. Copper is produced in massive stars and is present in the Earth's crust in a proportion of about 50 parts per million. In nature, copper occurs in a variety of minerals, including native copper, copper sulfides such as chalcopyrite, digenite and chalcocite, copper sulfosalts such as tetrahedite-tennantite, enargite, copper carbonates such as azurite and malachite, as copper or copper oxides such as cuprite and tenorite, respectively; the largest mass of elemental copper discovered weighed 420 tonnes and was found in 1857 on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, US. Native copper is a polycrystal
A concert band called wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, wind band, symphonic winds, symphony band, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind and percussion families of instruments, including the double bass or bass guitar. On rare occasions, additional non-traditional instruments may be added to such ensembles such as piano, synthesizer, or electric guitar. A concert band's repertoire includes original wind compositions, transcriptions/arrangements of orchestral compositions, light music, popular tunes. Though the instrumentation is similar, a concert band is distinguished from the marching band in that its primary function is as a concert ensemble; the standard repertoire for the concert band does, contain concert marches. During the 19th century, large ensembles of wind and percussion instruments in the British and American traditions existed in the form of the military band for ceremonial and festive occasions, the works performed consisted of marches.
The only time wind bands were used in a concert setting comparable to that of a symphony orchestra was when transcriptions of orchestral or operatic pieces were arranged and performed, as there were comparatively few original concert works for a large wind ensemble. Prior to the 1950s, wind ensembles varied in the combinations of instruments included; the modern "standard" instrumentation of the wind ensemble was more or less established by Frederick Fennell at Eastman School of Music as the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952 after the model of the orchestra: a pool of players from which a composer can select in order to create different sonorities. The wind ensemble could be said to be modeled on the wind section of a "Wagner orchestra," an important difference being the addition of saxophones and baritone/euphonium. While many people consider the wind ensemble to be one player on a part, this is only practical in true chamber music. Full band pieces require doubling or tripling of the clarinet parts, six trumpeters is typical in a wind ensemble.
According to Fennell, the wind ensemble was not revolutionary, but developed out of the music that led him to the concept. A military band is a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions for the armed forces. A typical military band consists of wind and percussion instruments; the conductor of a band bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music. Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world, dating from the 13th century; the military band should be capable of playing ceremonial and marching music, including the national anthems and patriotic songs of not only their own nation but others as well, both while stationary and as a marching band. Military bands play a part in military funeral ceremonies. There are two types of historical traditions in military bands; the first is military field music. This type of music includes bugles, bagpipes, or fifes and always drums; this type of music was used to control troops on the battlefield as well as for entertainment.
Following the development of instruments such as the keyed trumpet or the saxhorn family of brass instruments, a second tradition of the brass and woodwind military band was formed. Professional concert bands not associated with the military appear across the globe in developed countries. However, most do not offer full-time positions; the competition to make it into one of these concert bands is high and the ratio of performers to entrants is narrowly small. Examples of professional non-military concert bands include: Dallas Wind Symphony, led by Jerry Junkin Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, led for many years by Frederick Fennell, as of 2006 conducted by Sir Douglas Bostock Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band Royal Hawaiian Band, created by royal decree in 1836 by King Kamehameha III A community band is a concert band or brass band ensemble composed of volunteer amateur musicians in a particular geographic area, it may be sponsored by self-supporting. These groups rehearse and perform at least once a year.
Some bands are marching bands, participating in parades and other outdoor events. Although they are volunteer musical organizations, community bands may employ an Artistic Director or various operational staff. Notable community bands include: U. S. A; the American Band, Rhode Island, conducted by Brian Cardany Brooklyn Wind Symphony, Brooklyn, NY, conducted by Jeff W. Ball San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, San Francisco, conducted by Pete Nowlen. Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, New York, New York, conducted by Kelly Watkins Northshore Concert Band, Illinois, conducted by Mallory Thompson Salt Lake Symphonic Winds, Salt Lake City, conducted by Thomas P. Rohrer The TriBattery Pops, New York, NY, conducted by Tom Goodkind East Winds Symphonic Band, Pittsburgh, PA, conducted by Susan SandsUnited Kingdom Birmingham Symphonic Winds, conducted by Keith Allen Newark and Sherwood Concert Band, Nottinghamshire, conducted by Colum J O'Shea North Cheshire Wind Orchestra, Cheshire, conducted by Catherine Tackley Nottingham Concert Band, conducted by Robert Parker National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, various conductorsCanada Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Vancouver.
David Branter, Resident Conductor and Acting Music DirectorAustralia North West Wind Ens
A ligature is a device which holds a reed onto the mouthpiece of a single-reed instrument such as a saxophone or clarinet. The ligature must secure the reed against the table of the mouthpiece while allowing it to vibrate freely; the earliest ligatures were lengths of string tied. Iwan Müller invented a metal ligature to replace twine. String is still used by clarinetists in Germany. Modern German mouthpieces have a groove cut into the outside of the mouthpiece to facilitate wrapping with a string ligature; some modern clarinetists opt to use shoestring as a ligature substitute as it is more adjustable than string. Other modern clarinetists use electrical tape as a ligature. A ligature must be placed properly; the ligature must be placed at least halfway down the stock of the reed and the screws must not be overtightened, in order to allow free vibration and not distort the reed. Ligatures are most made out of metal and plated in nickel, silver, or gold. Ligatures are made out of wire, wire mesh, naugahyde, heavy nylon fabric, string, or leather.
Ligatures fall into two general categories, depending on whether the band contacts the reed or a pressure plate, either riding the band or adjusted inward from a block mounted on the band, using a thumbscrew, is used. Various features are incorporated into the design of ligatures to hold the reed securely while minimizing pressure distortion of the reed and allowing maximum vibration. Contact rails may be either parallel or transverse to the reed, on either a metal band or pressure plate type ligature; the contact rails may be wood, or plastic. Pressure plates may have raised contact points, prongs, or a concave form to control contact with the reed; some bands are designed for minimal contact with the mouthpiece, allowing less absorption of the reed's vibrations
A reed is a thin strip of material that vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. Most woodwind instrument reeds are made from synthetic material. Tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics. Musical instruments are classified according to the number of reeds; the earliest types of single-reed instruments used idioglottal reeds, where the vibrating reed is a tongue cut and shaped on the tube of cane. Much single-reed instruments started using heteroglottal reeds, where a reed is cut and separated from the tube of cane and attached to a mouthpiece of some sort. By contrast, in an uncapped double reed instrument, there is no mouthpiece. Single reeds are used on the mouthpieces of saxophones; the back of the reed is flat and is placed against the mouthpiece, the rounded top side tapers to a thin tip. These reeds are rectangular in shape except for the thin vibrating tip, curved to match the curve of the mouthpiece tip. All single reeds are shaped but vary in size to fit each instrument's mouthpiece.
Reeds designed for the same instrument vary in thickness. Hardness is measured on a scale of 1 through 5 from softest to hardest; this is not a standardized scale and reed strengths vary by manufacturer. The thickness of the tip and heel and the profile in between affect the playability. Cane of different grades if cut with the same profile respond differently due to natural differences in cane fiber density; the cane used to make reeds for saxophone and other single-reed instruments grows in the southern coastal regions of France, Spain—and in the last 30 years, in the area of Cuyo in Argentina. After growers cut the cane, they lay it out in direct sunlight for about a month to dry, they rotate the cane to ensure and complete drying. Once dry, growers store the cane in a warehouse; as reed production requires it, workers pull the cane from the warehouse and take it to the factory—to the cutting department, which cuts it into tubes and grades the tubes by diameter and wall density. They cut the tubes into splits, make those into reed blanks.
They profile the blanks into reeds using blades or CNC machines. A machine grades completed completed reeds for strength. Double reeds are used on the oboe, oboe d'amore, English horn, bass oboe, bassoon, sarrusophone, bagpipes and shehnai, they are not used in conjunction with a mouthpiece. However, in the case of the crumhorn and Rauschpfeife, a reed cap that contains an airway is placed over the reeds and blown without the reeds coming in contact with the player's mouth. Reed strengths are graded from hard to soft; the making of double reeds begins in the same way as. The cane is collected from Arundo donax, dried and cut down to manageable sizes for reed-making. Similar to single reed production, the cane is separated into various diameters; the most common diameters for American-style oboe reeds are as follows: 9.5–10 mm, 10–10.5 mm, 10.5–11 mm. Many American oboists prefer a specific diameter at one time of the year and a different diameter at other times, depending on the season and the weather.
They split the tubes into three equal parts, picking out the pieces that are not warped. A reed made from a piece of warped tube cane won't vibrate on both sides, affecting the sound. After the cane is split, the pieces are gouged in a gouging machine to remove many cane layers to drastically decrease thickness; this eases the scraping process for the reed-maker, helps maintain sharper knives. Reed makers not only learn to master reed making, but learn how to sharpen knives with great skill; the gouged pieces of cane soaked and "shaped" on a shaper with razor blades and allowed to dry before the final steps. The shaped piece of cane is re-soaked and tied onto a "staple" for oboe reeds and formed on a mandrel for bassoon reeds. Bassoon reeds are wrapped with nylon thread or cotton thread, depending on the musician's preference. Oboe reeds are most tied with nylon thread. Finishing both bassoon and oboe reeds requires the reed-maker to scrape along the cane section of the reed with a scraping knife to specific dimensions and lengths depending on the reed style and the musician's preference.
Bassoon and oboe reeds are finished when the reeds play in tune or can make a sufficient "crow"-like noise. Quadruple reed instruments have two on top and two on bottom. Examples of this include an archetypal instrument from India, the Shehnai, as well as the Pi from Thailand, the Cambodian Sralai. Having four reeds instead of two produces a different tone and set of harmonics. There are two types of free reeds: framed and unframed. Framed free reeds are used on ancient Asian instruments such as the Chinese shēng, Japanese shō, Laotian khene, modern European instruments such as the harmonium or reed organ, concertina, bandoneón, Russian bayan; the reed is made from cane, brass or steel, is enclosed in a rigid frame. The pitch of the framed free reed is fixed; the ancient bullroarer is an unframed free reed made of a stone or wood board tied to a rope, swung around through the air to make a whistling sound. Another primitive unframed free-reed instrument is the leaf, used in some traditional Chinese music ensembles.
A leaf or long blade of grass is st
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that plays music written in the bass and tenor clefs, the treble. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band, chamber music literature, it is known for its distinctive tone colour, wide range, variety of character, agility. One who plays the bassoon is called a bassoonist; the word bassoon comes from Italian bassone. However, the Italian name for the same instrument is fagotto, in Spanish and Romanian it is fagot, in German fagott. Fagot is an Old French word meaning a bundle of sticks; the dulcian came to be known as fagotto in Italy. However, the usual etymology that equates fagotto with "bundle of sticks" is somewhat misleading, as the latter term did not come into general use until later; however an early English variation, "faget," was used as early as 1450 to refer to firewood, 100 years before the earliest recorded use of the dulcian. Further citation is needed to prove the lack of relation between the meaning "bundle of sticks" and "fagotto" or variants.
Some think it may resemble the Roman Fasces, a standard of bound sticks with an ax. A further discrepancy lies in the fact that the dulcian was carved out of a single block of wood—in other words, a single "stick" and not a bundle. B♭1–C5 The range of the bassoon begins at B♭1 and extends upward over three octaves to the G above the treble staff. Higher notes are possible but difficult to produce, called for: orchestral and concert band parts go higher than C5 or D5. Stravinsky's famously difficult opening solo in The Rite of Spring only ascends to D5. A1 is possible with a special extension to the instrument—see "Extended techniques" below; the bassoon is non-transposing. The bassoon disassembles into six main pieces, including the reed; the bell, extending upward. Bassoons are double reed instruments like the oboe; the bore of the bassoon is conical, like that of the oboe and the saxophone, the two adjoining bores of the boot joint are connected at the bottom of the instrument with a U-shaped metal connector.
Both bore and tone holes are precision-machined, each instrument is finished by hand for proper tuning. The walls of the bassoon are thicker at various points along the bore; this ensures coverage by the fingers of the average adult hand. Playing is facilitated by closing the distance between the spaced holes with a complex system of key work, which extends throughout nearly the entire length of the instrument; the overall height of the bassoon stretches to 1.34 m tall, but the total sounding length is 2.54 m considering that the tube is doubled back on itself. There are short-reach bassoons made for the benefit of young or petite players. A modern beginner's bassoon is made of maple, with medium-hardness types such as sycamore maple and sugar maple preferred. Less-expensive models are made of materials such as polypropylene and ebonite for student and outdoor use; the art of reed-making has been practiced for several hundred years, some of the earliest known reeds having been made for the dulcian, a predecessor of the bassoon.
Current methods of reed-making consist of a set of basic methods. Advanced players goes as far as making their own reeds to match their individual playing style. With regards to commercially made reeds, many companies and individuals offer pre-made reeds for sale, but players find that such reeds still require adjustments to suit their particular playing style. Modern bassoon reeds, made of Arundo donax cane, are made by the players themselves, although beginner bassoonists tend to buy their reeds from professional reed makers or use reeds made by their teachers. Reeds begin with a length of tube cane, split into three or four pieces using a tool called a cane splitter; the cane is trimmed and gouged to the desired thickness, leaving the bark attached. After soaking, the gouged cane is cut to the proper shape and milled to the desired thickness, or profiled, by removing material from the bark side; this can be done by hand with a file. After the profiled cane has soaked once again it is folded over in the middle.
Prior to soaking, the reed maker will have scored the bark with parallel lines with a knife. On the bark portion, the reed maker binds on one, two, or three coils or loops of brass wire to aid in the final forming process; the exact placement of these loops can vary somewhat depending on the reed maker. The bound reed blank is wrapped with thick cotton or linen thread to protect it, a conical steel mandrel is inserted in between the blades. Using a special pair o