An undulation in pitch, that may be notated with a verbal instruction or a wavy line. Sometimes given with a wavy line if a specific effect is required:
Vibrato is fully available on the bassoon, but is generally used sparingly, especially in chords.
Vibrato on the bassoon:
Vibrato on the contra:
How vibrato is produced:



A slide in pitch between notes. Possible on holed notes, but extremely limited on keyed notes. The contrabassoon
has entirely covered holes, so embouchure gliss is the only possibility.
Available glissandi on the bassoon:
Glissandi on the contra:



A soft object insterted into the end of the bassoon. Only effective in the bottom register of the bassoon and extremely rare on the contra.
Mute (bassoon):


Tremolo or "Shake"

A trill between two notes more than a tone apart. Most are possible, except for very low on the bassoon. However, shakes over more than a 4th can sound clumsy on a solo instrument.



Bassoon Trills
A rapid alternation between two pitches. The notation above, read in treble clef, shows a minor trill followed by a major trill, indicated by accidentals over the note. If these are not given, players will choose trill type based on musical context. The wavy lines indicating duration of trill are also optional. Trills are all possible, except low down on the bassoon and the contra. Timbral trills are also possible.
Trills on the contra:
Timbral trills:

Varied Fingerings

Using different fingerings to change the timbre of a given note. 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.
Different fingerings:

Molto crescendo

This produces a distinctive 'reedy' sound. Notated with a verbal instruction.
Molto crescendo:

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]