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Oboe issues: help urgently needed?
Hi. I was just playing my oboe (it had been a few hours since I started playing) and now all of a sudden the left hand second finger octave key didn’t work. I tried to go one octave higher but could not. I swabbed the inside of the oboe with the long cloth swab and tried again but it still didn’t work. I didn’t do anything to my instrument at all, all i did was play and suddenly this occurred. Help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

So anyone want to explain the “left hand second finger octave key” to me? Could the person be talking about the half hole? If you think you have the answer you can help the person by going here.


  1. I’m not sure exactly why this seems mysterious. The “left hand second finger octave key” surely refers to the 2nd octave key. activated by the index finger of the left hand, which is finger #2 in piano fingerings. I think a likely explanation is that water got into the associated tone hole, very common, so the answer is, after swabbing (preferably with a feather in at least some oboists’ opinions) blowing it out and soaking up the water in the hole with cigarette paper.

  2. isn’t that that key that you only have in semi-automatic oboes? The one that you press with the pointy finger of your left hand, but with the middle of the finger and not the tip. That you need to press with a or above.

  3. Ah, David … how silly of me! I was, for once (I don’t usually do this) not counting the thumb as one of the fingers. Geesh … I call this “OldBoeBrain” and I’m stickin’ to that! 🙂

  4. Yeah, Eefje, I just wasn’t counting my fingers correctly! Go figure!

  5. ah, right. I thought, maybe they only use automatic oboes in america and just forget about that key being on some oboes.