Literature and Lyrics

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The word ‘bassoon’ appears in literary works quite often as a description. There are novels where a character plays the bassoon or contrabassoon. Most rare is the use of the word ‘bassoon’ in song lyrics. If you come across any references to bassoon please email us for inclusion in this listing.

Descriptive Bassoon

Infinite Home

“Edward was asleep when it happened, and the cry came into his dreams as the voice of his brother. His unconscious re-created the familiar childhood scene of Zachary asleep and whimpering in the next room, victim to the awful stories their parents fed them, nightmaring of kidnapping plots and elaborate suicides. (He, too, had called him Eddy.) Edward, then, had felt useful and important when he went to him, as well-appointed and comforting as a chair by an open window. He would scoop up Zachary, who was always a little too thin, and speak with measured softness about the silly inventions of our brains while we sleep, then get right up to his ear and begin with the noises. The finest impressions of farts anyone in their neighborhood had ever heard, high trilly toots and trembling wet ones, plus a bassoon-like moan for good measure. It had never failed. In his dream Edward was brilliant and electric as he cradled his brother, who giggled and shook and held his little penis to keep from peeing.”

Infinite Home: A Novel
by Kathleen Alcott
Riverhead Books, 2015

The Oath

Jackman filled his large chest with air. He had Glitsky by an inch or two
and thirty pounds and all of it was never more visible than it was now, when
it was clearly so tightly controlled. His voice, when it came, was a deep
bassoon of authority.

The Oath
John Lescroart
Penguin Group, 2002

Bassoon in Fiction

The Offshore Pirate

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

He worships me because I’m the only man in the world who can play better ragtime than he can. We used to sit together on the wharfs down on the New Your water-front, he with a bassoon and me with an oboe, and we’d blend minor keys in African harmonics a thousand years old until the rats would crawl up the posts and sit around groaning and squeaking like dogs will in front of phonograph.

From a book of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald which also includes the Curious Case of Benjamin Button adapted for a movie in 2008.

Before Gatsby (The First Twenty-Six Stories)
University of South Carolina Press, 2001

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

By Gail Honeyman

“He’d write a song for me, something beautiful, and then play it for me on his guitar while I sipped perfectly chilled champagne.  No, not on his guitar, that was too obvious. He’d surprise me by learning the… bassoon.  Yes, he’d play the melody on the bassoon for me.”

Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 5, 2018)

Children’s Bassoon Books

Ralph’s Secret Weapon


Ralphs Secret Weapon

This is a great story from a book that is no longer in print. Ralph takes bassoon lessons from the Maestro and enters a competition which he wins. His grandmothers cake and his fine bassooning help save the from a dreaded sea monster. Bassoonist Chris Weait has created a musical version of the story complete with costumes.

Steven Kellogg
Puffin Pub. 1986




Bassoon in Prose


Wedding Scene, Gustave Dore Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

One very famous line from literature is in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

“Hear the wedding guest
Beat his breast
For he heard the loud bassoon.”

On the Wanted CD by the Bassoon Brothers we do sing those lines as a lyric in the Wedding Guest written by David Carroll.

Bassoon in Lyrics

The Music Man



The Music Man DVD

The 1957 Broadway show The Music Man was based on a story by

Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson. Music Man the movie was released in 1962 where you’ll see a bassoon in the marching band. (p.s. It’s NOT a good idea to march with a bassoon.) In the lyrics for the song 76 Trombones we hear the following:


“There were copper bottom tympani in horse platoons
Thundering, thundering all along the way.
Double bell euphoniums and big bassoons,
Each bassoon having it’s big, fat say!”


Bassoon in Literature

Be sure to continue to enjoy bassoon excerpts in literature by visiting the following link: IDRS publication The Double Reed.