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Use the tabs below to find out about each section of the orchestra, watch video clips, and read interviews with musicians.

This section of the orchestra got its name from the fact that many of its instruments were originally made from wood. Now they can be made from plastic, silver, gold - even platinum!

The bassoon is so long that it has to be bent in half!

It is the lowest of the woodwind instruments. It is made out of maple wood (or plastic) and has a double reed.

The bassoon is a very versatile instrument. It can play very low notes and still get quite high. It can also play very quick passages of music.

The basoonist is sometimes asked to play the contrabassoon.

Contrabassoon - this makes a fantastically deep sound.

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Meet the orchestra

Graham Sheen, Bassoon
BBC Symphony Orchestra

  • How old were you when you first started playing?
    I was twelve years old.

  • Why did you choose this instrument?
    I first saw the bassoon while singing in a school production. Several months later the music teacher asked for a volunteer to take up an instrument. Something made me say the bassoon - just an impulse reaction.

  • Do you play any other instruments?
    The piano.

  • What do you like most about playing in an orchestra? Is it fun?
    'Fun' isn't quite the word. It's a much more complex mix of feelings.

  • Do you play any other kind of music?
    I also play in small groups as well as teaching music.

  • What is your favourite music?
    Impossible to answer! My musical tastes change over time and according to the occasion.

  • Do you have any other hobbies?
    My family, cycling, gardening, reading and composing (now and then) and arranging music.

  • What would you have been if you weren't a musician?
    I wanted to be a bassoonist very early on even though I had no idea exactly what that entailed.

Have you been listening to an orchestra without realising it?

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