Which wood is used to make a bassoon?
As previously established, the bassoon is a woodwind instrument, therefore made of wood. However, the wood that is chosen for a bassoon is not just any random wood- it is carefully selected and has to be the perfect type of wood in order for the instrument to work well. Bassoons are made from maple wood, which is from maple trees. There are two different types of maple wood, (hard and soft) but for bassoons, hard maple is selected. This hard maple is typically from Europe and it allows instrument makers to build the bassoons with wood that is durable and able to to be varnished and treated. One the instrument is built, it is not instantly the distinct red colour that is commonly associated with bassoons, it has to be varnished and stained. This differs between instrument makers. For example, Yamaha and Heckel will both stain their instruments in different colours of varnish. It can also change between makers- if you take an old Heckel and a new Heckel they will be stained in different colours. This is great as it means that each instrument has a slightly different colour and is unique and special in its own way!
Are there keys on a bassoon?
Once you have the bore of the bassoon with the holes for fingers drilled in, the next thing to finish the instrument is the keys! Without these, the instrument isn’t possible to play nor would it be of any use. Over the years of the bassoon developing, it has got more and more keys. Take a baroque bassoon compared to a modern bassoon, the modern bassoon has 22 or more keys whereas a baroque bassoon has 4/6 keys. The keys on the bassoon are made from nickel silver, which is why they have a shiny colour to them. Nickel silver is a very durable and stable material which normally does not rust. Funnily enough, nickel silver is made of copper, zinc and nickel – it actually contains no silver! To achieve this shiny coating outside of the keys, they are coated with sterling silver. Not only does this make them look aesthetically nicer, it also adds another layer to the key which makes it more robust. Furthermore, it prevents it from rusting as easily. If you do have a key which begins to rust on your bassoon, it is a very easily fixed and can be repaired quickly.