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When I was a student at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, I remember a class I had with Klaus Thunemann, where I asked him what was the secret to having such a beautiful sound like his sound, with so much personality.

Instead of giving me an exercise or a “magic trick,” he simply told me that his former professor Willy Fugman (when Klaus still was a student) used to complain a lot about his sound. He said that his sound was bad, and he had to do something about it. That’s right, Klaus Thunemann said that he had an ugly sound. Unbelievable, right?! I don’t believe in it either, but it’s what Klaus said to me in Berlin…🤷🏻‍♂️

He told me that he became so concerned about his sound that he started frantically searching for a beautiful sound. Thunemann greatly admired the singer Fischer Diskau, and he wanted to have that same kind of sound on the bassoon. A sound like the human voice.

Here we have a path: you improve your sound through your influences, through what you listen to.

  • Having a sound reference, a model is essential for forming your concept of sound.
  • Think that your sound is your voice. You will have to record yourself several times to understand what your sound is like and know what you want to improve.

Of course, certain aspects clearly influence, such as reed quality, the combination of reed, bocal, and the bassoon itself.

Some aspects that should be observed when playing and that directly influence sound production are:

  • Air column
  • Embouchure
  • Relaxed throat
  • Position of the embouchure on the reed
  • Use of vowels when blowing
  • Airspeed
  • Use of the resonance box (a very common topic for singers)
  • Body posture

The best exercises to improve your sound are long-tone exercises, slow movements of pieces and orchestral excerpts, and constant self-evaluation of your results through recordings and a critical ear.

But above all, I would say that the sound is in the mind of the person, not just in the instrument. Each person has their own sound, like a fingerprint.

Therefore, it is up to each individual to develop their sound in the best way possible.