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Author: drizzledtoes 
Date:   2022-01-16 02:01

Hello Oboists, i would like to know of your opinion of musicality.

I always have this big question of, am i musical? or am i unmusical?
And for the most part, i feel that i am very unmusical

When i am playing a piece, or a solo work, i would try my best to do whatever is written in, dynamics wise, articulation.

But beyond that, i dont know how should i play a particular passage. I find phrasing to be hard to grasp.

Apparently if you are a very musical person, this kind of things are second nature to you, phrasing, direction and how u would play a passage would be natural to you. But to me it isn't. Things like changing color, phrasing is all very confusing to me despite me trying very hard to grasp the concept

Btw: i do have an oboe teacher and i do take oboe lessons regularly. But most of the time, it is my teacher telling me how i should play it, and if my teacher doesn't tell me so, i would sound very unmusical and intuitive practicing a piece on my own.

I really would like to be my own artist, but i find it hard to go beyond the written dynamics, articulations and notes in a score, as i dont know what else to think about, other than intonation, the correct notes, being in time, following the dynamics, correct rhythm, following the articulations.

Please let me know your thoughts if u are kind enough to read this
Thank you so much all of you!

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 Re: Musicality
Author: drizzledtoes 
Date:   2022-01-16 02:48

Can't seem to edit my post but i would like to add on.

How would i know which notes to emphasize? How would i know how to play the piece stylistically. Even as a music enthusiast, listening to all the recordings, i cannot clearly tell completely, on what does the player do in his playing that makes me like it so much. I am unable to describe what i like about how the person plays if i like how he plays. Could it be i am not listening hard enough? I can only describe very vaguely on how i like the person playing, but i am unable to go into details

I really want to have my own ideas and put it into my playing. Essentially, i am using my teacher's ideas when i play my pieces

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 Re: Musicality
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2022-01-16 23:33

I usually tell my students to sing a phrase or piece to get the musical sense out of it. The voice is the most natural medium, and doing away with the physical demands of the instrument can free up your musical imagination. Making up a story or image can also help. I imagine myself on a bicycle and constantly ask myself " Where am I going? What is the purpose of this journey. I imagine hills, and other areas of resistance variation. I used to find as a youngster, I would listen often to a favourite piece, with various artists. I would then work out what I liked or did not like about the performance. I did an enormous amount of listening to music when I was a boy, and it still is a major feature of my day. Generally I do not have music on as a "background" though as I find that diminishes critical thinking. Anyway, m this is how I approach music....there will be many and varied opinions out there.

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 Re: Musicality
Author: mberkowski 
Date:   2022-01-17 00:08

If you can find an opportunity to take a course in music theory and if a cerebral approach appeals to you, that might make the difference. Western music theory courses are often structured such that students learn counterpoint before learning much about harmony, and counterpoint is all about lines starting very simple and increasing in complexity. The more you able to see and anticipate the direction and destination of a line in music, and its relationship to other lines, you may find your performance change. I always was a "more musical person" I think as you suggesting, but that didn't mean I was better at phrasing - maybe just better at listening and at imitation.

Through a few years of introductory theory courses as an undergraduate, I always felt like I gained better instincts for interpretation and my playing progressed a lot. But later during a period when I wasn't performing (or practicing) much, I had the opportunity to take some advanced music analysis courses heavily focused on lines and underlying structure. That changed everything for me in performance. When I came back to the oboe, even pieces I had previously learned and internalized for recitals improved.

I know graduate level theory courses like those are not readily available to everyone and it might not be practical to study extensively, but if you can enroll in an introductory course it could pay dividends in performance. Best of luck!


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 Re: Musicality
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2022-01-17 22:49

Here's a pragmatic approach. While watching your sheet music, listen to versions of the music by different artists and identify when the artist is doing something not specificially directed by the sheet music, like dynamic changes, tempo changes, note changes or additions, ornaments, vibrato, etc. Think about whether you like the addition or not. Over time, you will acquire the ability to make these changes on your own, which will become your "style."

Bay Area, California

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 Re: Musicality
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2022-01-18 20:06

The great French/American oboist Marcel Tabuteau gave lessons in phrasing, and there are a set of lessons that are recorded and purchasable online (look for: Marcel Tabuteau System).

You can get to most of the information you need here:


I do NOT recommend you follow this religiously; nevertheless it is a great way to start phrasing, and analysing your phrasing yourself.

Good luck!


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