oboe reeds

the oboe reed plays a vital role in tone production and intonation.

through the reed an ideal tone can be produced when certain factors are taken into consideration:

das rohr ist bei der oboe ein wesentlicher faktor für den klang und die intonation.

the quality of the cane, the staple and the width of shape are very important for a good result. different staples suit different makes of oboe so some experimentation with staples is needed before an ideal combination is found.

also, the width of shape has a great influence. a wider shape makes a mellow sound but can be difficult fo play in tune in the high register, a narrower shape however may not have as good a sound.

it takes experience to find the right combination. it is a challenge for me to find a good reed for specific purposes e.g. orchestral playing or solo concerti.

material

arundo donax (the correct latin name for cane) is our basic material.
cane is a very important factor in reed-making. the quality is dependent on the hardness and seasoning of the cane. good cane is smooth and thick-walled. the lengths of cane between the internodes (or “eyes”) should not be too long. this mostly applies to well-harvested cane which is also harder.

my cane comes from the region around marseille (south of france) and is selected personally from the growers marcelle ghys, alliaud and m.a.r.c.a

after harvesting, the cane should be stored for 3-4 years. the sun here in kaernten (carinthia) helps to season the cane for a further 1-2 years, thus achieving optimum material.

manufacture

fto make reeds for oboe, oboe d’amore or cor anglais much equipment is needed.

because oboe, oboe d’amore and cor anglais each need a different diameter of oboe cane each also needs an individual gouge.

the gouging machine for oboe is for 9,5 – 10 mm diameter cane, and for oboe d’amore and cor anglais 12 mm.

the shaper has different shaping blades.

the profiling machine has a template copied from a good reed and saves hand scraping. it guarantees – with good, well tied-on cane – a good basis for the finished reed.

product

instruments using double reeds are the oboe, oboe d’amore, cor anglais, heckelphone and also the bassoon (bassoon reeds are made in a different style).

the oboe (french haut-bois “high wood”) stems from the old shawm – later descant pommer – and achieved its final form around 1700 in france. in the 18th century the oboe was fitted with finger holes and two keys and has developed until the present – day instrument with its 22 finger holes and 16 keys.

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