The grave voice of the oboe is heard from the bassoon, where, without becoming assertive, it gains a quality entirely unknown to the oboe and English horn. It is this quality that makes the bassoon the humorist par excellence of the orchestra. It is a reedy bass, very apt to recall to those who have had a country education the squalling tone of the homely instrument which the farmer’s boy fashions out of the stems of the pumpkin-vine.

The humor of the bassoon is an unconscious humor, and results from the use made of its abysmally solemn voice.

Heh. Ah, that abysmally solemn voice.

This is from the same place I found the oboe description. But I read that it’s from a book called How to Listen to Music by Henry Edward Krehbiel. If you go here you can read it via gutenberg. The book was first published in 1896.

18. March 2009 · Comments Off on Am I too old to learn the viola? · Categories: Havin' Fun

Heh … I just read this online. And, due to all those viola jokes, I thought the answer should be: “No, but you might be too smart.”

Sorry. I just couldn’t resist. Poor violists.

And yes, there are oboe jokes too.

Truth be told, lots of folks take any music joke and insert their instrument of choice. Unless they insert the conductor. 🙂

18. March 2009 · Comments Off on Bad Idea · Categories: Ramble

I slept until 7:45. That’s not a good idea when I have a 10:00 concert. I need more time — not to get ready, but to wake up! I’m still very blurry-eyed, and I can’t even fathom that in one hour and twenty minutes I’ll be blowing air through a tiny reed, making sounds that are supposed to be decent.

Right now the only sound I want to make is … well … nothing. I want to be back in bed.

Musicians are not morning people, for the most part. I have a musician friend who has a “real job” (yeah, you out there. You know who you are!) and she comes to orchestra at night and I just can’t figure out how she does it. I just figure she’s a better person than I.

But who isn’t, eh?

18. March 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: TQOD

is surprised at how much an oboe costs…about $1000+ 😛

18. March 2009 · Comments Off on The Hand · Categories: Conductors, Links, Ramble

Related to this is a hand gesture that some conductors use to alert musicians that they are playing too loud. It is known (somewhat antagonistically) in the business as “the Hand.”

Check out this blog entry. It’s interesting to hear what Bruce Hembd has to say about “the hand”.

It’s interesting to see his take on things. Mine? While “the hand” is telling us to be quiet, it sometimes causes us — me, in any case — to tighten my embouchure. And a tight embouchure isn’t good for a low note attack. Sometimes we get “the hand” prior to that low note, as the conductor is just sure we’ll be too loud. Sometimes it’s while we are playing a low note, and that isn’t always pleasant either. And sometimes we are getting “the hand” when we are actually playing as softly as we possibly can. (Shoot, one time I finally played “air oboe” and the conductor was finally happy with the volume. Go figure.) So I really have to fight “the reaction” to “the hand”.