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American Sign Language: "bassoon"

How do you sign "bassoon?"

In a message dated 2/10/2013 9:26:25 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, laurfriend2009 writes:
"I was wondering how to sign both bassoon and bass clarinet. I play both and would like to know how to sign them."

Dear Laur,
ASL doesn't have specific signs for those items.
In the Deaf Community we rarely discuss musical instruments. When we do discuss instruments we tend to use abbreviated mime versions of what it looks like to play the instrument. Some examples include: PIANO, GUITAR, FLUTE, VIOLIN, DRUM, CYMBALS, BAGPIPES, and XYLOPHONE. Thus if the musical instrument is "commonly recognized in general society" and has an obvious movement then you can do an abbreviated mime version of playing the instrument as your "sign" for that instrument.
The typical "Hearing" American doesn't even know what a "bassoon" is. If you do a survey on the street I suspect you might get more than a few people who think that a bassoon is a type of monkey.

My suggestion for how to discuss a "bassoon" in the Deaf Community would be to spell it and then do a mime of how you play it and (depending on the circumstances) you could describe the length and shape of a bassoon.  Also, you could hand your cell phone to someone and have them use it to take a picture of you playing your bassoon. Then if you are interacting with a new Deaf acquaintance and want to tell him/her that you play the bassoon you can point to yourself, mime playing a bassoon, spell B-A-S-S-O-O-N, and then whip out your cell phone and show him/her a picture of you playing it.

Dr. Bill

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