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 most difficult key to play in?
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-06-29 02:34

I'm working my way through the scale exercises in Barrett. The ones where you take a scale, e.g., c major, and do patterns. cdcdcdcd,dededede, etc, then back down, and the next one is cdecdecdecde,defdefdefdef. etc until you are doing the entire scale up and down.

Well, I was happy with my progress on Bb and C but now that I have hit Db/C# I feel like I'm all fumble fingers and it isn't getting much better with time. I was learning flat keys first because it seems all band music is in flats, plus I don't have high register fingerings memorized any more and didn't want to skip up to F.
Too soon? stick with it? Is this notoriously worse than other scales?

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-06-29 04:07

Hi Beatrice. The Oboe's natural key is D major. One of the best set of tutor books that I have are the Rubank books (Intermediate and Advanced books 1 and 2) and they give you a good steady approach to learning all the keys up to 5 flats and sharps. And they are cheap to buy compared to other tutor books. Then after you manage to systematically work your way through them you can go on to Rubank Selected Studies book which takes you up to 6 flats and sharps in all Major and minor keys but the studies themselves are 'heavy going' as it's obvious that this book is simply the Saxophone book that's just been given an Oboe cover. This is because the Oboe and Saxophone have identical compasses (written range)
It all takes time to master the Oboe in all these keys. Slow and steady systematic practice is the only way to go. I've mastered all of them on a far more simpler Oboe than what most are using these days Both my Oboes are Thumbplates. One is a Bundy with covered tone holes and the other is a old Howarth S2 with open (ring) tone holes. These are much lighter in weight and are very reed friendly. A bit of 'key sliding' is often needed in these types of Oboes but if you look closely at the mechanism it's designed to enable you to easily do this.
Note. In the more remote keys from 4 sharps and flats you must look well ahead (at least a measure ahead) to see the appropriate fingering needed and it's a good idea to mark in soft pencil the notation as to where you need to use the F natural 'fork' fingering and also where to use either the LH or RH Eb key.


Post Edited (2017-06-29 04:12)

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-06-29 08:26

D flat major is easier if you think of it as all the flats, excpet f and c. I remember sitting down for a whole day with a hymn in order to conquer the key! It worked. Once u have it, you never lose it.

However, if you havent been playing long, much better to have lots of fun with two flats or two sharps, as most baroque music doesnt go beyond that anyway.

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-06-29 08:42

I'm not having trouble knowing what the notes are (I'm doing it by ear anyway, because I don't have a copy of Barrett but remember the exercises from before) I'm having trouble with remembering the patterns and some of the coordination, when going from one note to another that tends to have "a note in between" because I'm not getting everything down or up at the same time. I'm not having trouble choosing fingerings, since I know what is coming and can decide from the choices available (my primary was violin, in which you can play a set of notes in many different ways, usually, so the problems presented by that kind of thing on oboe are not new. Even a double horn has a lot of choice in how series of notes can be fingered, and you choose the one that works best.) My goal is to learn all the fingering patterns up front, coincident with doing a lot of sight reading so I can walk in to a community band and play. I am not spending time perfecting low level pieces because that doesn't fit my goal; I'm trying to simply raise my physical level as fast as feasible. I was just wondering if the C#/Db scale is generally considered difficult to learn.

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-06-29 10:55

Anything with more than four flats or four sharps.


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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2017-06-29 14:19

There are a number of tricks you learn for fast passages - for instance, depressing both Ab and Eb together with your LH pinkie and leaving them down for all the right-hand notes. Yes, forked-F comes out dreadfully sharp if you do this; No, at speed nobody can hear your duff note especially if you lip it down a fraction as you whizz past.

Very important to have your instrument in perfect regulation - that is, there should be NO change in voice on a lightly-fingered C# if you wiggle your LH D# key; and there should be NO change in any of the lightly-fingered RH notes if you wiggle your LH G# key. if either of these isn't right, you should get your instrument seen to before attempting Db/C# runs.


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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-06-29 18:33

The instrument was just gone over completely by Weber. It is in very good adjustment and has an excellent scale. It is a Rigoutat Expression, one of the better examples of that model.

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-06-29 23:46

Soery, my misunderstanding.

Well, do you have moyse de la sonorite?
I use moyse style exercises to help conquer those coordination issues. Each finger is a different length, and each key isnt depressed a uniform amount. Makes quite a coordination challenge. In this way, i think recorder was easier.. Without keys you have more connection to the holes :o


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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-06-30 02:59

I find that the hardest scales are the ones with 4 sharps and 4 flats, more is good, less is good, but the number 4 is cursed. I practice my scales starting on any note of the scale, usually the lowest practical note ( so for 4 sharps will be B and B flat for 4 flats and go up to top G or G#. Generally I dont have a problem unless changing onto a different oboe system.

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: huboboe 
Date:   2017-07-30 02:49

I have my students play a chromatic scale and ALL the diatonic scales every day, using a metronome to hold the speed to that of the most difficult scale (which will vary with the individual). Then practice the chromatic scale and one DIFFERENT diatonic scale each day with the metronome, starting at 40, and repeating over and over while increasing the speed one click only each time until you make a mistake that you can't correct on the first repeat at that tempo. Then go back to very slow and play once more to 'wash out' the error.

In this way, you practice only correct patterns and don't practice mistakes. Your speed will increase quite rapidly, and after a few months of this routine, you will be comfortable in all keys and the difference between 'easy' keys and 'hard' keys will be much smaller.

Using the same technique to practice difficult passages is much more productive than blindly repeating a passage over and over too fast, hoping to get it right...

Robert Hubbard

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: wkleung 
Date:   2017-07-30 08:42

On the modern oboe, it is infinitely harder to play diatonic scale or scale in thirds in Eb minor than in F major.

Yet appregio in F major is harder than that in Eb minor.

There is really no short answer to OP's question.

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 Re: most difficult key to play in?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-30 16:10

Anything with lower register A#-B (Bb-B or Bb-Cb) in it.

It's easier in the upper register as you can play the A#/Bb as normal and then add RH finger 2 for the B natural (8ve2 xxo|xxo).

On thumplate systems or if you use thumbplate fingerings, play the upper Bb as you normally do and add RH fingers 1 and 2 for the B natural (8ve2 thumb off thumbplate xxo|xxo).


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