28. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

… who searched on: classical music sounds like ballet lots of oboe … my first guess is Swan Lake by Tchaikovksy.

Just in case you check here again.

For the one who wondered where you put your fingers on an oboe: left hand is on top, right thumb holds the oboe. It’s pretty easy to see where the three main keys are for index, middle and ring fingers. The right ring finger hits two different keys, one being used only for F. The pinkies get to play several different keys. Mostly one at a time. :-) Your left thumb plays the bottom octave key when necessary, and the crook of your index finger hits the side octave key. Your fingers should curve (although I confess that my ring fingers are a bit straighter). Keep your fingers as close to the keys as possible … as if they are each have magnets that attract them to the keys. No “piggy back rides” for fingers (don’t have one finger hitching a ride on another when not in use). Hope this helps!

For the one who wanted to know an orchestra oboist salary … it varies far too much to give you any kind of number. Some make a good living. Some don’t.

For “oboe reed is buzzy” searcher. Well, my first guess would be that your tip needs clipping, but how does it crow? You might check in with Cooper, master reed maker.

And to the person searching on sheet music for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, I recommend going to TrevCo Music because you can plug in specific instrumentation. Jeanné Inc. is also a good place to go. She has a chamber music page, where you can click on different group sizes.

Or you could try searching here:

Finally, to the person searching for Patti Mitchell. That ain’t me; I spell my name with a “y”. As in “Why, why why?” ;-)

28. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Wow, what a depressing piece. By the end, I just felt empty. Tired. The last time a piece of music made me feel this way was the video for Metallica’s “One.”

-blogger, writing about listening to Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

(I’m enjoying the blog, by the way; the writer began the blog as he or she started investigating “classical” music. Coming from a heavy metal background, it’s an interesting read.)

28. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I had the crown work done today. Perhaps readers have heard about my “numb tongue” experience. If not, read on. If you’ve read it before, you can just skip this blog entry. (But anyone who plays a wind instrument really should know about this!)

It was my fortieth birthday and what did I do? I scheduled a dental appointment to have a filling done. (Stupid, stupid, stupid.) When the doctor numbed me up, I felt as if I was going to go through the roof, but being the stoic person that I am, I didn’t show anything. (Actually, this has more to do with my profession; I’ve been trained to hide my emotions when I blow it on stage—not that that would ever happen!—and so I hide the pain, just like I hide other things.) The dentist did his thing, filling the doggone cavity.

That evening I had an opera performance. (I nearly always have an opera performance on my birthday.) By the afternoon half of my tongue was still numb, so I called the dentist office. “How long should my tongue be numb?” I asked. There was a short silence when the dental assistant at the other of the phone said, “You mean it’s still numb?” She sounded worried. But she suggested I wait it out.

I played the opera. My tongue, still half numb, knew what to do. Whew. But I was very, very sad. Dentist visits can make me that way anyway, and this … on my fortieth birthday, no less … well, it was far too much.

The next morning I still had a numb tongue. I called the dentist office and they had me come in. The dentist was quite surprised and concerned. He said the only way something like this happens is if he comes close to a nerve, and if he had done that I would have gone through the roof. So I had to explain that I felt like going through the roof, but no way I was going to show it. He explained that I was supposed to show it. Heh. Who’da thunk it. He also said I could get the feeling back in four months or so or, perhaps, maybe never. He’d only had this happen once before, he said, and the woman never got feeling back. Cool. Happy birthday to me.

But … ta da! … nearly four months to the day I had full feeling back. Which was great. Of course now I do worry when I go to see my dentist. But I will also tell him immediately if I feel anything. (And please know I think my dentist is one of the best ever. Really.)

So I learned a lesson, I guess. 1) We all sign waivers at the doctor’s when we have surgeries done, but no one seems to know about possible dental injuries. Know that something bad can happen. (I suppose that’s a “Big Duh” thing for everyone else, eh?) 2) SHOW pain. Stop being stoic! And most important 3) NEVER go to the dentist on a birthday. Ever.

So … story over and out. And between beginning this post and ending it my mouth is now nearly un-numb. Nice!

28. August 2007 · 9 comments · Categories: Ramble

So it might be that I can blame my genes for lacking perfect pitch. Or so some say.

She and colleagues analyzed the results of a three-year, Web-based survey and musical test that required participants to identify notes without the help of a reference tone. More than 2,200 people completed the 20-minute test.

Or maybe not.

A Web-based survey? Is this saying that anyone who decided to go to that site could take the test? With no one making sure they aren’t sitting by a piano or tuner? Or am I not understanding this?

I can identify notes played by an oboe for the most part. When I listen to a recording of an oboe work, I “see” the fingerings in my head. It just happens. I’ve checked a few times to verify that I’ve got it right, and I do. (I will confess I’ll pull my tuner out of my oboe bag when I’m driving, and sing a note into it to make sure I’m correct. But don’t tell anyone. It just sounds far too nerdy.)

I dunno. The study sounds sketchy to me. But I’m certainly no scientist.

And what about when an A was 415? Now it’s 440 or higher, depending upon the orchestra. So would folks back in the Baroque era hear a 415 as an A, and would folks now hear that as an A flat? What does that mean?

Oh … and contrary to the article’s title, I don’t covet perfect pitch.