How to Tune the Oboe?
Tuning on an instrument is extremely important. Without tuning, an ensemble would not sound very good. This process, with practice, can be an easy task. Make sure to review your embouchure lesson in how to produce a sound before preceding.
Adjusting the Pitch
Tuning the oboe is certainly a good thing. However, there are still some faults with pitch; no instrument is perfect. Here are some ways to adjust the pitch on the oboe.
Amount of Reed in Mouth
Air Stream Direction and Vowel
For many notes that tend to be sharp, you can add resonance fingerings to bring the pitch down. A few examples are listed below in the "alternate fingerings" section.
Other Factors that Affect the Pitch
Here are a some more little things that can greatly affect the way that the oboe plays.
- Do not play on old reeds. An average reed will last about 2 1/2 weeks.
- Always begin with the reed pushed all the way in to the receiver. Only minute adjustments (1/4 inch at most) should be used, if at all.
- The reed length should be approximately 70mm.
- In general, harder reeds will be higher in pitch and softer reeds will be lower in pitch.
Pads and Keys
- When pads and keys become displaced and move closer to the instrument, the pitch of those notes will flatten.
- When pads and keys become displaced and move away from the instrument, the pitch of those notes will sharpen.
- Leaky pads and keys will create weak and unstable notes.
- Have your oboe adjusted by a professional at least once per year.
- When playing, sit as if you are standing from the waist up.
- Poor breath support will lead to an unsupported, out-of-tune sound.
- When the temperature is hot, the pitch of the oboe will rise.
- When the temperature is cold, the pitch of the oboe will lower.
- For best intonation results, play the oboe at room temperature.
All instruments have notes that are always going to be out of tune. Here are those notes for oboe.