How to Play the Oboe Effectively

Rohan Nag May 3, 2012



Oboe performance begins with three critical components: instrument assembly, embouchure with tone quality, and fingering. All of these developed skills are necessary for an excellent sound and clarity. Assembly: The oboe is a delicate woodwind instrument, often composed of wood or ebonite and metal- materials that are prone to rusting and water damage. Thus, the oboe needs special care and attention in assembly. The oboe has four constituents: the double reed, the upper joint, the lower joint, and the bell. Each part has a cork component that fits in the top metal joint of the adjacent component. Simply twist and push the reed into the upper joint, the upper joint into the lower joint, and the lower joint into the bell. Avoid using brute force to prevent damages on cork fixtures of all parts. Once the parts are together with no cork showing, they are completely aligned. Embouchure and Tone Quality: After aligning all the four parts of the oboe, prepare to insert the reed into your mouth. Pull your lower lip and upper lip backwards with care to not overpressure or overdampen the reed. Retract your tongue, barely touching the tip of the reed within your mouth and preventing your teeth from biting on the reed. Blow using your lungs and esophagus to vibrate both upper and lower portions of the double reed. Do not blow to your hearts content, instead, use a moderate air speed and avoid changing pitch by blowing too hard. When playing, maintain a steady air speed and pressure on the reed to produce even sounds and balanced notes. Fingering: To finger notes, we press some combination of metal keys down with left and right hands. After assembly, place your right hand below the lower and upper joint junction, supporting the thumb groove. Place your left hand on the three keys of the upper joint. You should now be fully supporting the oboe and completely comfortable. Your left index finger should be on the top oboe hole of the upper joint, and your right index finger should be on the first hole of the lower joint. Practice moving your fingers laterally along the oboes length. You have now mastered the art of fingering, and your next step is to memorize fingerings for specific notes to play music. CONCLUSION These three components of superior oboe playing also comprise fine musicianship. By taking care of ones instrument, creating harmonies and melodies, and practising to improve, each musician advances their own enjoyment and skill, as well as the audiences response.


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