Practicing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony: Fingering. This video series (BDP#77-80) discusses performance techniques and practice methods for the sixteenth note passages in the fourth movement. By Terry B. Ewell. Bassoon Digital Professor # 77.

<music: 1st Sixteenth Note Passage in Beethoven's 4th Symphony, Last Movement>

<music: 1st Solo>

<music: 2nd Solo>

<music: Last Sixteenth Note Passage>

Welcome to this series of videos on Beethoven's fourth!

You may be well aware that this is a tonguing nightmare as it were. Bernard Garfield has written an article called the "Bassoonist's Nightmare." I found it very helpful for my preparation this piece. You can also hear a podcast from the I.D.R.S [International Double Reed Society] that is an interview with Bernard Garfield that addresses the article.

In this first video we will be discussing some of the issues of fingering.

This is not quite as easy as you think even though these are all notes within the middle range of the bassoon.

You do have some issues to think about with fingerings. The first of which is the use of the flick keys.

If you're not using the flick keys on this excerpt on the B flats and the A naturals there will tend to be bad starts to the notes.

For instance, let me tongue an A natural without a flick key. <music> Can you hear there is an "cracking sound" or indistinct quality to that.

Now in this solo I use only one flick key. I hold it down for the duration of all the A notes, B flat notes, and C notes. I use the C flick key.

I will show you that on the camera. Here is the A flick key. That is not the one I use. I use the C flick key for any of the notes that are tongued, that include a C, that is C4, B flat 3,and A3.

That provides clarity for those notes.

Also you might find it helpful in the last solo to put down the whisper key. There are two solos in the middle of this movement.

In the last solo could use the whisper key down in this instance.

I have a whisper lock up here, but many of you will have a whisper key lock in another part of your bassoon.

So you might find that helpful. There is a very quick transition from the B flat to A3 with an F3 in the middle--open F. I find that I don't have enough time to get back and forth. You can either just dispense with the whisper key altogether (not use it) or use the whisper key lock in this excerpt here. With the flick keys down the notes will come out quite nicely.