My Love Affair

I love the bassoon


I love my instrument with all the love an instrumentalist could have for one’s instrument.  I love the way it sounds when I play one long tone, with just a touch of vibrato. The middle register is vocal and full of resonance; the meat and sustenance of my instrument.  I love the way the high notes sound when played with a straight tone.  They sound cold, and slight, like a breezy winter morning just as the sun rises.  The low notes have a thick chocolate tone that make me smile when another bassoonist plays them.

I love the weight of the instrument in my hand.  The way the joints feel when I push the pieces together, like they aren’t just pieces of wood, shaped to be that way, but that, that particular tree was destined to be made into this beautiful work of art that just happens to make a sound.  I sometimes forget to oil my keys, because I love the way they sound when I run through a fast passage, and I can hear the larger keys snap shut against the bore.  When I hold the bassoon in my hands, it’s not like an old friend coming to sit next to me, but like a familiar lover.  All the curves in just the right places, and my hands always going to the same spots; the keys reacting in the same, familiar ways I always knew they would. The way I learned long ago that they would.  The craftsmanship is exquisite, and I can see the light dance off the keys at every angle.  The sheen of the lacquer is deep and the finish is a beautiful shade, with tiger marks,  like scars on a lover’s hand: memorized, unique, and yours alone.

My life is encompassed by this beautiful piece of artwork, designed to create some of the most beautiful music I will ever try my best to create.  Yet, there are times when I can’t help but resent this thing that has a hold on my physical, as well as mental, being.  I resent the fact that sometimes, my bassoon is hard to woo, and shuns my best efforts.

Sometimes we fight and I have to walk away, giving up for the night.  I go to sleep angry and restless, wondering if tomorrow will be better. Sometimes, I completely ignore the bassoon, and spend too much time with my friends, or too much time on homework.  I come back the next day, and the bassoon and I do this dance of silent frustration and brilliant understanding.

But when we get along….when we become the thing we are supposed to be….this…..this art,  I loose myself in the sounds we make together.  Without me, this thing I hold in my hands is nothing.  To someone else, someone less willing, it may be just an instrument used to get from the beginning of a piece, to the end.  But for me….for us…..we take a journey together, appreciating every subtle curve, sound, and move both of us make to lure one out of the other.  My instrument has a voice of it’s own, it just takes it’s time, and the right touch to make itself heard.  My instrument rules and dominates me as much as it succumbs to my will.

My love affair with the bassoon is strong, ruling, and everlasting.  Torturous and tumultuous it may be, I will never leave it’s side.  Opting to be kept in chains rather than true freedom, I live in it’s unrelenting mastery, waiting to be deemed worthy.


3 thoughts on “My Love Affair

  1. I do so know how you feel ( Were I thirty years younger and could do it all again, I’d major in music and the bassoon would be my primary instrument. As it is, I have to settle for being an amatuer bassoonist… Which still makes me feel like a better person. 😉

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