Sometimes I like to try and play along with a recording … it forces me to be honest about entrances, and not just play when I’m good and ready. The high (tiny, seemingly insignificant to some, I’m sure) solo in Butterfly is one that I would like to practice that way. (FYI, it’s the one that includes the high D# grace note going to C# … know what I’m talking about? All the notes: 32nds: high A – B – D# grace note to C# to B back to a longer C#). Anyway, I guess all that isn’t helpful for some of you and the rest of you probably know exactly what I’m talking about (it appears a few times).

BUT … my recording is SO sharp (448) it’s baffling.

It’s extremely difficult to play the notes in tune while playing the recording, and playing THAT sharp is simply too darn painful. Even for this oboist who has often been told that she plays too sharp (and those notes, especially, are known to go sharp)! It’s difficult to listen to this recording anyway; the oboist isn’t exactly great. And no, I won’t tell you what recording it is!

Anyway, back to work I go ….


  1. Reminds me of a time I was playing d’amore for a Bach cantata -they provided us with a practice cd but it was at baroque pitch (this is one of the weird, never performed cantatas). I figured I could just pull out a bit and play along, just to have the “ensemble experience” but there was NO WAY! Couldn’t believe how hard it was to change a few cents – fortunately we were playing with organ so they couldn’t drop the pitch on us for the concert.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Oh my! Playing 415 (Baroque pitch) you may as well play a half step flat … that’s what that is. That’s a huge amount of embouchure work to deal with! And while I am able to drop a half step on most notes, it’s certainly not fun, nor is it a good idea to consistently do it. Embouchure flexibiity is very important (I remember Ray Still talking about this and demonstrating), but that sort of flexibility is too nuts!