Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts





Committee Chair

John Baur

Committee Member

Lecolion Washington

Committee Member

Michelle Vigneau

Committee Member

Albert Nguyen


One of the largest challenges that beginning bassonists are faced with is developing proper technique, especially with using the thumb keys. The bassoon requires the right hand thumb to operate up to five keys, while the left hand thumb may operate up to ten. There are three keys in particular that the left hand thumb must activate on a regular basis, and they are known as the speaker keys. Although it is essential, most beginning bassoonists do not learn about the speaker keys at the appropriate time. The purpose of this research project is four-fold: (1) provide the reader with a historical context of the bassoon and the speaker keys, (2) survey current bassoonists on their experiences with the speaker key technique, (3) to determine if current practices are effective in teaching beginning bassoonists, and (4) to propose a new resource for beginning bassoonists to develop the speaker key technique. The need to explore and research this topic came from the author's personal experience in teaching beginning bassoonists. Every student demonstrated a relatively good understanding of the bassoon, but the speaker key technique was a mystery common to all of them. This observation prompted the need to understand why the students did not know of this important technique. This research project is significant not only because it provides insight on the historical aspects of the speaker keys, but also because the reader will be able to understand current practices of teaching the speaker key technique. Through literature, journal articles, and survey responses from over 100 bassoonists, it is clear that use of the speaker keys is an indispensable part of bassoon technique. The findings clearly demonstrate this importance, along with inconsistencies in how it islearned, and that a speaker key resource is needed for beginning students. This project will provide a resource to performers, teachers, and students alike in the use of the speaker keys.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.