Topic: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I am currently playing EH on several pieces for our upcoming concert.  I also play first oboe on a Schubert's Unfinished in B Minor - which has quite a few solo parts.  I'm having difficulty changing to oboe after playing the EH for a while.  Luckily the concert order gives me the intermission between the two instruments, but in rehearsals - often there is barely enough time to switch instruments, reeds, stands & chairs.  I just don't feel like I have control of my embouchure on the oboe after the EH.  Does anyone have any suggestions on making this switch?

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I was recently in a masterclass with an english horn player who said she never hesitates to play several passages originally for oboe on the english horn to avoid ackward switches.(Transposed of course). so i would recommend doing that so you can prepare for your upcoming english horn part. but don't stick out and try to blend so it goes fairly unnoticed.

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I have had a few of those quick switches, and I always found that having my oboe/english horn on my lap with the reed right on it, and then the horn is warm.  And the only thing about switching embrouchures is to practice that way, sometimes I'll run through scales on oboe then switch to eh right away.  hope this helps!

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

One of the groups I play in is a wind ensemble in which we rotate parts. In rehearsals, we don't bother to play musical chairs, and if it's going to make things awkward in performance (especially for oboe/ EH doublers), we just sublimate our egos and sit wherever we already are then, also. It really makes life easier and allows us to focus on our playing.

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

The original posting was in April, but this is an ongoing problem for doublers.  I agree with David Crispin that changing instruments is problematic enough, the seating arrangement should be based on musical needs not egos.  Changing chairs is a complication that can be avoided unless not changing causes a listening problem for the ensemble.  For fast instrument changes I move my double stand right in front of me.  With the reeds on both instruments I can be placing my English horn on the peg with one hand while picking up my oboe with the other.  In a crunch, I've made instrument changes within a matter of counts.  As was suggested earlier, I also transpose oboe parts on EH for a few measures (when appropriate) before playing the exposed EH part.  It lets me know exactly how the reed is responding before playing the first note of a solo.

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I agree with Lynn about keeping the instruments right in front of you with the reed on.  Sometimes if I have a quick switch to the other instrument after it sits for a while, I'll put a little spit in the tip of the reed to keep it from drying out.  Most conductors won't give you difficult time if you play a little of the oboe part on your EH before you have to play a more exposed EH part.  (sometimes the conductors don't even know)  I play 2nd oboe and EH so in our orchestra, most of the time we also stay in our chairs to avoid a lot of extra moving around but if the 3rd oboist doesn't have any other pieces to play and leaves the stage, then I have to move up to the 2nd oboe chair.

Also, it's a problem if you have to wait for a long time before you switch and the instrument becomes cold (therefore flat).  I made an instrument cozy (with side pockets for reed cases, swabs, etc, elastic strap to hold the instrument peg, and a shoulder strap).  It really helps to keep the instrument warm and better in tune.

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Can you tell us more about your instrument cozy to keep the EH warm?  Sounds intriguing, but I am confused about the elastic strap and the instrument peg.  Thanks.

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Lynn,
I wish I knew how to post a picture in the forum but the next best thing I can do is give you the url to my blog that talks about the cozy and it has a picture.   http://janet.thelaniers.net/2006/04/being-mobile/   The cozy is just a triple layer pouch I sewed.  The outside is the same kind of material the Alteri instrument covers are made of.  The inside layer is a quilted material and the inside lining is a smooth lint free material.  (keeps any lint from collecting on the instrument)

It's hard to explain the elastic strap but here goes:
I have an instrument peg that has a knob where the base and the peg support connect.  I guess not all peg designs would work on this but I just came up with it to fit my set up.  The elastic strap is a small loop that hooks over the knob.  I came up with this because our orchestra one time had to enter and leave the stage in 3 min so I had to be able to carry both oboe & EH, music, reed supplies, etc. and possibly need a free hand to push a door open.  I figured I needed the cozy anyways, why not make it dual purpose.  So when it was time to leave the stage, I already had my reed supplies in the pockets of the cozy, I'd put both ob & EH in one hand, throw the cozy shoulder strap over my shoulder, pick up the instrument peg (which had to be last) and hook it to the cozy.  Then I had a free hand for the music or whatever I needed.  The end result was I was not frazzled which was a blessing because  I had to play the last mov't to Pines of Rome for 5 performances that week.  Sorry if I got long winded on this but I AM an oboist. (Ha)

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Janet:
Click on [img] tag: near the bottom of the page and that will tell you how to embed a picture.  As long as you have the picture downloaded on another site, it will work.  I tried it.  Kent

Last edited by Kent Moore (2006-08-11 13:52:46)

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Thanks, Kent.  Here goes.  This is supposed to be an image of the cozy I was talking about in the earlier post. 
(hope I read the instructions correctly)


[img]http://janet.thelaniers.net/wp-content/uploads/Cozzie-carry.jpg

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Wait, I think I see what I did wrong:
http://janet.thelaniers.net/wp-content/uploads/Cozzie-carry.jpg

this is embarrassing... my husband is a web programmer

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Wow, it worked.  Thanks, Kent!

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

You are welcome.  A nice feature of this forum, too, is that you can edit your own messages.  So even after you realized you made a mistake you could have easily changed it.  Take care, Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Janet,

Thanks for the diligence in getting that photo posted.  Clever design, very practical.  Do you take orders?  [smiles]

Lynn

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I too, don't hesitate if I have a quick switch, to play the questionable passage on the opposite instrument to make it easier. Usually, this means playing an oboe passage on EH for me. I have asked two seperate conductors in the past and neither of them even noticed. In fact, one of them even mentioned that after looking at the score, actually enjoyed the EH timbre in the part better then that of the oboe (it was a low written passage that fit better on EH).

Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Maybe this is all common sense but I have done a lot of switching from oboe to Eng. horn during concerts  and one thing I've noticed is that you don't want a hard reed... If you're in a cool hall, the reed tends to stiffen up and it can be quite a shock when you go for that first note! :-) I always try to have a nice, broken-in reed. It also doesn't hurt to practice the "switch" a few times to make sure you can do it in the alloted time.
I totally agree with the folks who mentioned cozies.

Dawn

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Lynn Hansen wrote:

Janet,

Thanks for the diligence in getting that photo posted.  Clever design, very practical.  Do you take orders?  [smiles]

Lynn

Lynn,

Thanks for your comment.  Hmmm, I might take an order but if you want some instructions on how to make one yourself, I'd be happy to pass the info on to you.

Janet

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

18

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Janet-
Kudos to you for your very creative cozy! I have been thinking about making one (I inherited my grandmother's sewing machine a year ago...) for quite some time now, but just haven't started the project, shopped for needed materials, etc... Not having much experience with sewing, I thought it would be a nice *easy* project to get my feet wet. Would you be able to pass along some tips to me as well? Many TIA!
_________________________________________________________
Anna

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."--Rudyard Kipling

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Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Thanks Anna.
Give me a couple of days to make up a PDF document that I can email you (and anyone else) who wants the basic instructions on how to make this cozy with the extra features.  Since the original post was on switching oboe & EH, I don't want to get off topic with a sewing lesson.   It is a pretty easy sewing project.

Janet


ap wrote:

Janet-
Kudos to you for your very creative cozy! I have been thinking about making one (I inherited my grandmother's sewing machine a year ago...) for quite some time now, but just haven't started the project, shopped for needed materials, etc... Not having much experience with sewing, I thought it would be a nice *easy* project to get my feet wet. Would you be able to pass along some tips to me as well? Many TIA!
_________________________________________________________
Anna

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."--Rudyard Kipling

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Switching can be a pain, and certainly there are a good number of times when I simply play an oboe part on EH. But there are times when one has no choice but to do the quick switch. It's just something that has to be practiced. A lot. Sometimes I'm actually moving one instrument toward the instrument stand AS I'm playing, because the change is so darn fast. (I remember one Mahler symphony that was a killer with this!)

But I think the original post (made some time ago) was not about switching during a piece, but just changing from one horn to the other on different works. What with an intermission added to the mix, I don't see that it's a huge problem for the concerts. During the rehearsals, though, it can be an issue when the conductor isn't tuned into the switch. It helps to talk to the conductor about these sorts of issues. They can be gracious about this sort of thing. When they are in the mood. Simply ask to toot a few notes ... or even, since you're moving to a new work, retune the orchestra.

Just some ideas ....

Last edited by Patty (2006-08-12 15:00:23)

PEM
http://www.oboeinsight.com
AIM: Patioboe

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

Anna,

I'm emailing a PDF to you of how to make a cozy.  Turns out I needed to make another one for an outdoor concert coming up that will be in 95 degree heat.  I decided to make a lighter colored cozy to reflect the heat and so I took pictures of the steps while making it.

In keeping with the thread....here's another small tip about switching quickly from oboe to EH.  Sometimes I won't put the EH on the peg.  I'll just rest it upright on the bell on the floor and cradle it between my knees (loosley of course).  That helps me to switch even quicker.

Hope that helps.  If anyone else wants a copy of the PDF on how to make a cozy, email me privately.  Thanks!

Janet

ap wrote:

Janet-
Kudos to you for your very creative cozy! I have been thinking about making one (I inherited my grandmother's sewing machine a year ago...) for quite some time now, but just haven't started the project, shopped for needed materials, etc... Not having much experience with sewing, I thought it would be a nice *easy* project to get my feet wet. Would you be able to pass along some tips to me as well? Many TIA!
_________________________________________________________
Anna

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."--Rudyard Kipling

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Need help rapidly switching from EH to Oboe

I find that switching to a smaller instrument is much harder than the other way around. In other words, putting down the oboe to play EH, no prob, putting down the d'amore to play an oboe solo and whoa where's my embochure.
As far as speed switching I've found the best thing is to have the second oboe ready with the horn in hand. The switch takes a second as we hand the instruments to each other. With some conductors it's the only way I  can make it in the StMatt Passion from #19 (EH/da caccia solo) to #20(oboe solo) with the expected "cd timing". This presumes a friendly and cooperative second, something all principals value greatly but not all have.

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