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Instructor proves bassoon is no laughing matter

October 03, 2011

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    Instructor of Bassoon Mark Eubanks

Evans Hall

Often referred to as the “Rodney Dangerfield of instruments,” the bassoon was the subject of a recent story on NPR’s All Things Considered, featuring Instructor of Bassoon Mark Eubanks.

To explain the instrument’s reputation, Eubanks pointed to its strange look and historically poor construction, dating to the bassoon’s birth in the 17th century.

“Bassoon playing was very bad in those days, because they had bad instruments,” Eubanks said. “The wood warped. … There probably weren’t that many good bassoon players, so it probably took on the role as this quirky, nasty-sounding thing.”

When he is not teaching bassoon at Lewis & Clark, Eubanks spends his time changing the instrument’s image by playing non-traditional tunes, such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” with his group, the Bassoon Brothers. He is also the creator of Arundo double reeds, which are sold widely throughout the United States and has written several publications on reed making and tuning.

Department of Music

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