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 Re: What does the double resonance key on the bell do?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-02-27 14:47

The forked F vent and F resonance keys are two different things.

Forked F vent - this compensates for the closure of RH3 when playing F with the forked fingering xxx|xox in both 8ves. Oboes without it will need the Eb key to be held open to clear up the stuffiness of the forked F fingering and bring it up to pitch as it can be flat with the forked fingering on oboes lacking a forked F vent.

Usually the most basic oboes don't have it fitted (eg. Bundy or some Yamaha 200 series) as it involves a lot of parts, but older student model oboes and even some pro models lack the forked F vent - some older Lorees lack it as the keyed or LH F key fingerings were favoured over the forked fingering for F.

On conservatoire system oboes the forked F vent is a closed standing vent key - it's closed when no RH fingers are held down and only opens for the forked Fs. So it only opens when RH finger 3 is closed and RH finger 2 is raised. It's closed again when both RH finger 2 and 3 are closed together so the notes from E downwards can be played, so the adjustment is critical and knowing how to set it up is absolutely vital. On most thumbplate systems, the forked F vent is a much simpler affair, is open standing and is only closed when RH finger 2 is held down.

Conservatoire system oboes need the forked F vent to be closed as it causes problems with Bb (xxo|xoo) if it's open. This is the problem conservatoire system B&H Imperial oboes have as they have the basic, open standing forked F vent as their thumbplate counterparts instead of the closed standing forked F vent they should have.

F resonance key - this is a small closed key with a small tonehole usually located on the opposite side of the lower joint to the forked F vent and opens only when the F key is held open by both RH3 or the LH F key.

It helps stabilise the upper register F when played with the keyed F fingering (xxx|xx/o) which can be unstable on some oboes and has the tendency to go sharp and blow up to an F# if pushed too hard, if the F key venting is too large or if the reed isn't compliant.

German and German spec oboes usually have this extra vent key fitted, but some makers fit it to other models if the keyed fingering is troublesome, commonly labelled as a 'flying F' - so some really do give a flying F!

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

Post Edited (2017-02-27 15:02)

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 Topics Author  Date
 What does the double resonance key on the bell do?  new
Lux 2017-02-27 14:08 
 Re: What does the double resonance key on the bell do?  new
Chris P 2017-02-27 14:38 
 Re: What does the double resonance key on the bell do?  new
Chris P 2017-02-27 14:47 

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