Is it the reed? Is it the oboe? If it’s the reed, it’s a multitude of reeds, since I played on four different reeds through this 2 hour and 50 minute night. so I’m thinking it’s the oboe.

The first act was okay. Not great, but only because I wasn’t quite comfortable with the reed I thought was the answer to war and hunger and all that. The second act was all right (which isn’t quite as good as okay). But between the second and third acts my oboe just felt funny and it was downhill from there. Because I wasn’t comfortable.

I doubt the audience knew, but who cares, eh? I want to be comfortable, and when I’m not comfortable nothing else matters. I’m just that self-centered. Just like Mr. Onegin. ;-)

I don’t use fishskin, but some oboists do. I used to, but then I was introduced to parafilm and opted to go for that when necessary. Of course we all strive to have reeds that don’t leak and then we don’t have to deal with anything like this, but commercial reeds — including the handmade ones I’ve ordered from a number of makers — tend to leak. So I keep parafilm on hand to fix student’s reeds, and with any of my own that are leaky (could that happen?!). Others I know use plumber’s teflon tape, which is fine but it is so darn white and noticeable. Kind of like advertising leaky reeds. ;-)

Last night at opera fishskin came up for some reason. I said, “I was told it was from the intestines of a fish years ago, but I’ll bet I’m wrong.” And I also know I’m gullible. So today I finally looked up fishskin (also known as Goldbeater’s skin). Well, it’s not from a fish. It’s from a cow. And yes, it is from the intestines.

I’m even happier I have a life supply of parafilm.

03. September 2008 · Comments Off on Squonk! · Categories: Havin' Fun, Links, Reeds

McNicholas said some of the unique instruments such as the squonkaphone – a tube with a balloon over the end that sounds like an oboe – play only one note.

Yes. Sometimes my reeds sound like a “squonkaphone”. But hey … I can play more than one note on them!

There’s that.

(Read here.)

03. September 2008 · Comments Off on More on Reed Making Videos · Categories: Reed Making

Bob Atherholt, principal oboist in the Houston Symphony and professor at Rice University, knows how to make a good reed. In this video we will follow Bob as he takes a raw piece of cane and transforms it into a musical instrument. Buy it here.

You’ll find two other videos if you visit this link.

I’ve not seen mindbites.com before, so I will have to see how all this works, but it might be fun to have these. I know several oboists who have studied with Mr. Atherholt and they are mighty fine players.

03. September 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Links, Quotes

Classical music is brilliant but misunderstood. It’s just not as cool as it should be.

It’s a shame there’s such an evangelical fervour for telling people they’ll love classical stuff.

It’s a bit like telling kids certain foods are good for them — they just don’t believe it. I think it might be a better strategy to tell people they wouldn’t like it, then they might wonder what they were missing.

-Alex James

I read it here.