Wednesday, October 10, 2007

German Oboe Reed

My German oboe buddy's reed arrived in the mail yesterday.



































Here, it crows a slightly flat C (when it left Germany, it was crowing a slightly sharp B, but there was the whole overseas mailing bit, and it's still about 85 and summery here), and when I play it the pitch can vary wildly between quite flat (especially in the high register- my high D, which gets up to 20 cents sharp if I'm not careful, was around 20 cents flat) and quite sharp (everywhere else). The thing is, I don't actually know what a German embouchure is like. I think a lot more of the reed may go in the mouth than the way I'm used to playing, but when I tried that, it just made the reed harder to play. (The reason I suspect this is that the white wrapping is apparently to protect your lower lip from the reed. But the reed wouldn't go nearly that far into my mouth using my regular embouchure.)
The reed is quite hard for me, and as I said, the pitch fluctuates a lot. It has a gorgeous crow, though. Very dark. Also, it's wonderful to tongue on- a lot easier for me than many of my reeds. I did sand the tip a tiny bit, which made the reed a little easier to blow, but I was afraid to do a lot to it, so it's still very hard.

My lovely oboe buddy also sent me a diagram showing the thicknesses of the various parts of the reed, what the wire is for, and what it was playing like for her. It's very interesting. The image is cut off a bit because my scanner doesn't like A4 paper.

5 comments:

Kirsty (: said...

hey (: i play the oboe but i have one of my schools at the moment. i want to get my own for playing on once i leave school but i would really like a brown one with gold keys. do you know if you can get them but still being the same model? do oboes vary from country to country? i have a howarth (london) at the mo. would be great if you could e-mail back to ashfiddle@hotmail.co.uk (:

RobinDesHautbois said...

I hope you're still getting your posts! I found your blog by searching for reed pictures and I was very pleased to find your description of the German method. If you don't mind, I linked it from my own blog (http://RobinDesHautbois.blogspot.com). Cheers!

Niall said...

Just saying, the German embouchure is sort of... You press the reed firmly against your lower lip and seal the air with your top lip. It's a little hard to explain. To a lot of french and german oboists, american reeds are WAY too easy for them.

RobinDesHautbois said...

Honestly, I use a loose-lip (American?) Embouchure on a French-German Reed (I also use and love Kunibert Michel 7.25) without wire.

What the scanned diagram says about asking the cane what it wants, that was a bulls-eye from a mile away!!!

Ronald said...

Your comment: (The reason I suspect this is that the white wrapping is apparently to protect your lower lip from the reed. But the reed wouldn't go nearly that far into my mouth using my regular embouchure.)

This is not correct; the white plumbers tape is a modern-day replacement for the former gold-beater's skin and its purpose is to seal the reed from any leaking at the sides. It does not make the reed harder unless over-tightly wound on. It stays on the reed without any glue. Use your normal embouchure wherever it forms comfortably on the reed.