It's nice to see that the happy band of "windswept and interesting" oboists has swelled again. Welcome back itchy1, and Isi who seems to have been busy off the Forum for a little while. And especially to Andrew - it's a relief to know you're OK, if not in happy circumstances (
), especially after the awfully sad news about clavicembalo.
I've been off the Forum, too, for a few days. Apologies for not answering questions and comments from folks, especially kerioboe. I'm afraid I'm only going to be a bit sporadically here over the next couple of months because I have a lot of trips coming up (work and family) and probably won't be able to connect that much...
QUOTE(kerioboe @ Oct 13 2010, 12:40 PM)
On the Marigaux I fitted a clarinet adjustable thumbrest. I bought this online following a link that Skylark posted. (I'll have a look for it later and add an edit to this post if I find it). The clarinet thumb rest had 3 screws and my oboe only two but the two the oboe had were in the right place so I just screwed it on myself with 2 screws and it worked.
I read somewhere that if you want to experiment with height before buying something else, you can unscrew the one that is on there and screw it back on upside down. This doesn't give you a comfortable thumb rest but gives you some idea of whether the hand position is more comfortable.
I am going to try this experiment too... there is definitely something not quite right/comfortable about my thumb position and I need to try out different solutions. In an oboe text I recently read, the author suggests that thumbrests are almost invariably uncomfortably placed and that the natural position for the thumb is higher up behind the first finger. When I first concluded this for myself, my teacher said quite the contrary, that he had found moving the thumbrest further down improved finger positions. When I got the XL I tried this and I think he maybe right but I do find the weight rather uncomfortable, even though it's lighter than my old Patricola.
I looked at an adjustable thumbrest in Howarths but I wasn't quite convinced and didn't get it in the end. What do you do about the oboe case with an adjustable thumbrest? I presume you'd need to have it adapted so the oboe would still fit in the case properly.
At my lesson this week (which was, like last week's, very productive and more satisfying than the last couple of months...) we discovered a new problem which must be related to the wrist/thumb positions and tension issues we have been discussing. It turns out that I have been twisting the oboe. At first we thought it was because I had the reed twisted but it seems quite likely that it is the other way round. A bad wrist position and/or tension in the hand is causing me to twist the oboe and in turn the reed, which is being more or less held in position by the embouchure (whoops, that must mean I'm still biting
). As soon as I managed to sustain the right position better I did notice that the sound seemed to improve and the LH E flat was a bit less of a problem. Not quite as stunning results as kerioboe's thumb miracle but at least a step in the right direction.
However, I am still having some LH issues and they sound very like yours, Isi. Except that I have more of a problem with the LH F than the LH E flat. The difficulty with the LH F is in part simply because the key is smaller and further away on the XL than it was on the Patricola and I just have to get used to it and discipline myself not always to resort to the forked F. The rest of the problem seems to be finger shape. The Patricola had covered holes so it was really easy to get away with not having an exactly placed fingers. The guilty fingers are the same as yours, Isi, the middle and ring fingers of the left hand, with the latter being too flat. To check if it's the same try this: play third octave E using the position that requires you use LH E flat and G sharp at the same time. Go up to F (i.e. lift the LH ring finger). Now go back down to E. If you have the same problem of me it will hard getting that ring finger back on the G key.
My problem was worse at first because of a doublejointed ring finger. I found some finger strengthening exercises to help with that but the flat finger issue still remains. My teacher's sometimes looks flatter than the curved shape he insists I use a (a bit like ND in the video pushpull recommended) but the difference is that his is more relaxed and naturally and easily moves back to a curved position and in no way obstructs the movement of the LH little finger. Or vice versa.
Your teacher may be right, Isi, about not having to solve the problem right away but I'd advise you to give it a go. My teacher warned me quite a while back that if I didn't deal with my bad wrist/finger positions I would have serious problems later on. He was right. Since the Patricola didn't force to me to correct them I never really did and I am suffering now with the Howarth XL with its small holes. It's much harder to change the bad habits of two years!
I am making progress with the ring finger but that in itself is causing problems with the LH E flat. The middle finger has got so used to the bad relationship with the tense little finger and flat ring finger that now I am correcting them, it just doesn't want to cover the middle hole properly. When the LH E flat doesn't sound properly, which is usually in the middle rather than low register, it is nearly always because the middle finger (A) hole is slightly uncovered.
But somehow behind all of this I think there is a deeper cause that is the wrist and tension problem, which has also resulted in this twisting thing. All and any tips for helping to cure this (elbow idea duly noted) very gratefully received!
I need to get those Gillet exercises (not very affordable right now, though
). Sounds as though they will be a very good test of progress towards a solution.
QUOTE(kerioboe @ Oct 15 2010, 01:49 PM)
Lots of really useful practice tips. I hope they work.
Are there any you can share?
I'm supposed to have the first part of the Vivaldi concerto I am studying committed to memory for next week.
Which one are you playing? (ie what key)
I've gone on so long today (
sorry!), I think I will have to hang off on the tips. I think quite a few may be similar to Schuring suggestions but applied rather specifically to the Vivaldi piece (C major - Op.8 No.12 /RV 449) . When I find the time I'd like to scan a bit of the first page so you will be able to see what I mean. For now, here's Paolo Grazzi playing it: Vivaldi RV449
. In my edition the oboe doesn't play the intro and the solo starts at 0.51. I'm studying up to about 2.03 at the moment, rather slower. NOT memorised yet but the attempt has greatly helped!
QUOTE(kerioboe @ Oct 21 2010, 02:14 PM)
I had a very pleasant couple of hours this afternoon playing chamber music with a violinist and a cellist
Oboe and cello - heavenly!!!!