Archive for the ‘Oboe’ Category

Step # 16 Dynamics for the Beginner Oboist

# 1

In book one for the beginner oboist playing loud and soft ( forte and piano) is the start of dynamics.  Eventually we are learning to play soft, moderately soft, moderately loud, loud, and very loud with the following Italian terms;  pianissimo, piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, forte, and fortissimo.  It is most difficult for the oboist to play soft and to play in the lower register of the instrument.  This is due to the conical shape of the oboe (smaller at the top and larger at the bottom).

# 2

Beginner oboists are most comfortable play loud (forte).  However, it is important to blend with other instruments of the band orchestra, or small ensemble; thus, learning to blend the oboe sound with other instruments by playing softer at times is important to the success of the entire group.If the oboe reed is too hard or the tip of the reed is too open it is more difficult to play softer.  Most beginner oboists should be using a medium soft reed with a crescent-shaped reed tip opening.

# 3

As the oboist plays softer the reed is closing and slower air speed is moving through the oboe.  It is important that the oboist keeps the air moving quickly through the instrument with less quantity of air and slower air while balancing the reed opening.   As the oboist gradually plays softer the pitch wants to go lower which can be balanced by closing the reed slightly with a tighter embouchure. As the oboist plays louder the reed opens and there is more air speed to increase the volume of sound.   As the oboe sound increases in volume the pitch  wants to go higher or sharper.    Adjusting the embouchure to be more open balances the pitch so it stays steady throughout.   Playing the oboe gradually softer and louder is a balancing act between the air speed, the embouchure openness, and the reed opening.   The goal is to keep the pitch steady as the volume  of sound gradually changes  from soft to loud and from loud to soft.

# 4

To play all dynamic ranges on the oboe in the low, middle, and upper registers it is important that the beginner oboist plays on a lighter chocolate-sounding reed that has an ease of articulation to start the sound in all registers.  Playing dynamics takes practice throughout the first year of playing. Your music director will work with you on this skill in both the large ensemble and small ensemble setting.   Having a private oboe instructor is most helpful in working on the techniques of dynamics.  Oboists of all ages are constantly working on improving their dynamics on all notes of the oboe.  In the first year of  playing the oboe it is important to be aware of this skill.


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