08. August 2009 · 3 comments · Categories: Ramble

So I’m not really going to say much about the opera last night; I’m too lazy! But I will tell you about my reed woes.


Because I like to whine, of course.

When I got to the “pit” (not quite a true pit, really) I readied a bunch of reeds and had to decide which I’d begin with. Obviously it had to be responsive, and in tune is sort of nice, too. I had a number of reeds that felt pretty darn good.

An hour before the opera.

Now I know it’s purely psychological, but the closer I get to downbeat, the worse my reeds tend to feel, and the less responsive they are. Go figure!

But I did find a reed, and I went with it. It really felt great for the first act. I mean … really great! And I thought I’d stick with that reed for act 2.


I get back to my seat, and the reed feels entirely completely wholly totally different! Really.

So act 2 was not nearly as enjoyable as act 1.

And that, readers, seems to be the story of my life: if I get comfortable and think I’m gonna be happy, something changes. Could all of this be psychological? I’m guessing yes. But that doesn’t make it any less real.

I just hope the audience couldn’t hear a huge diff. But who knows?

And I do it all again tomorrow. That’s show biz, folks!


  1. Every horn player, every brass player needs to “reed” about oboe players’ reed woes like yours, because then we might…just MIGHT…stop searching for the “perfect mouthpiece”. If our mouthpieces work reasonably well, then we should STICK WITH IT.

    (But that ain’t gonna happen.)

    We have NOTHING to complain about, compared to you double reed players. Especially oboists.

    My heart goes out to you. I can’t even imagine.

    P.S. A good friend of mine, who started out as a violinist, took up the horn, then tuba…and now oboe. My condolences!

  2. BUT … in defense of brass players, I do remember a trumpeter once pointing to his lips saying, “Try having THESE as your reed!” So there is that! 🙂

    There is a very good reason we oboists are considered neurotic, though!

  3. marionharrington

    As a single reed player you have buckets of my sympathy. You know I’m cutting this album in a few weeks right? Well, I found an exceptionally brilliant piece of cane which I put aside and stored as normal in the fridge in the ziplock bag along with a few others (Spain has an 80% humidity and 120F at present). Took it out a few days ago to give it a blow and it was covered with mildew! Bet you can imagine how I felt! And I had to throw it away. I don’t think you are imagining things – reeds seem to have a life of their own. I never had reed problems in a more temperate climate like the UK – it was a non-issue. So I don’t think you are imagining things – temperature, humidity and even altitude have an effect on reeds.