Bassoon F-sharp fingerings

I recently set out to try to make sense of the handful of bassoon high F-sharp fingerings that I was aware of. As it turns out, I had no idea what I was getting into. I looked at a number of online and offline sources, and ended up with about 60 fingerings (yes, you read that correctly). I have compiled them into a document for your reading pleasure, with sources listed.

A few points:

  • The sorting is fairly arbitrary; I tried to organize them into groups and orders that made some kind of sense to me. The indications “Legato” and “French” come from the venerable Cooper/Toplansky book; the rest are my own.
  • The numbering is strictly for convenience.
  • I mostly omitted fingerings that seemed to be specifically for individual trills.
  • Many of the sources indicated pitch characteristics; I have not included these since so much depends on the individual instrument, reed, etc. If you are looking for a good fingering for pitch alteration, there are plenty here for you to try out.
  • Some of the authors differentiated between half-hole, one-third-hole, etc. I have normalized all of these with a visual half-hole representation, since I find the exact amount of opening to require experimentation anyway.
  • I did try all these fingerings myself, and was able to produce approximately an F-sharp with virtually all of them, with varying degrees of difficulty.

I welcome corrections, and would be mildly curious if you have other good published or otherwise reputable sources (not anecdotes) that list fingerings I have missed here. I will update the PDF as needed. I’m much less interested in hearing which fingering is your personal favorite, unless you have something more to contribute to the conversation, but some of you will email me or leave it in the comments anyway.

Okay, on to the list. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here:
F-sharp fingerings for bassoon: a perhaps-unnecessarily-comprehensive listing

Version 1.0: initial release

2 comments on “Bassoon F-sharp fingerings”

  1. Geoff Rousell

    After nearly 40 years of playing, a complete new set of F# fingerings! My old trusty one had broken down (still trying to analyse that), but the “Legato” variants have great promise. How did I not know them before?

    • Bret Pimentel

      Some bassoon fingerings are very sensitive to the instrument’s condition. If a fingering that used to work doesn’t anymore, get the instrument to a good technician for some tweaking.

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