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High Altitude Reeds

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Home Forums Reeds The Oboe Reed Room High Altitude Reeds

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #93430
    KSimon
    Participant

    Hi there,

    Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions about reed-making in high altitudes, or what a higher altitude might do to a reed you made somewhere else?
    Thanks!

    Katelyn

    #113650
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    Hi Katelyn:

    Reeds do not vibrate very well at higher altitudes so overall the reeds need to be thinner. Some will also use softer cane or a larger shape to get the reed to vibrate better. If you take these reeds down to a lower altitude they will play very easily but may be too weak especially in the high register where they might collapse because they are too thin. If you make a reed at lower altitude and then try to play it at a higher altitude it will probably be stuffy sounding and the low notes may not speak well. The high register will be easier to play though. It is like playing a reed that is too hard. There are some articles that were written for the IDRS. I am pressed for time right now so someone else may be able to find them for you or if you are a member you can search the IDRS journals on the website. I live at 7000 feet and it is not easy to get reeds to play well.

    #113645
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    I should add that I am a bassoonist but I believe it is the same for oboe.

    #113647
    Christopher Weait
    Participant

    If memory serves correctly there is an article about oboe and bassoon reeds at high altitudes by Dr. Gary Moody of Colorado State University. He is an oboist and a bassoonist and very fine on both. Perhaps you can find it in the archived articles.

    #113646
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    This might help in your search.

    Bassoon Reedmaking at Higher Altitudes: An Investigation: Ronald Klimko

    How I Get Bassoon Reeds to Work at High Altitudes: Gary Moody

    #113651
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Joe Shalita has some excellent tips for high altitude oboe reeds (including pics) in his “e-book” –

    http://www.makingoboereeds.com/makingoboereedsebook.htm

    The guy plays in an orchestra in Mexico at an elevation of 5000 ft., so he should know!

    #113652
    KSimon
    Participant

    Thanks so much to all for the helpful info!

    #113653
    Ronnal Ford
    Participant

    From my experience,
    When I played at a higher altitude venue (audition), I found a reed with a thinner tip to be the best result (and a thicker tipped reed for lower altitude). For the higher altitude, the reed was from a Brannen X shape. When I went to the lower altitude audition, the same reed was too easy to play, and had no control, and switched to a much harder reed, that offered excellent control and tone.

    Now, I’m having to keep both kinds of reeds in my case, depending on which place I end up at!

    #113654
    James Jeter
    Participant

    When I have to play in Santa Fe or Colorado (and this past summer in Mexico City, on tour), I take lots of _old_ reeds that are now too weak for NYC, etc. I’ve always had good luck finding 2 or 3 (!) to work just fine. If you don’t have time to make a reed specifically for high altitudes, these older ones can work for a while. I was only in Mexico City for a week, so they were sufficient for that short time. One thing – when you first get to a place of high altitude, DON’T do anything to your reeds (if hopefully you have a day or 2 to adjust to the place). I’ve ruined some very good reeds by immediately scraping and working, when the reeds do adjust a bit after a couple of days. Just my 2 cents. Jim

    #113655
    Christopher Weait
    Participant

    Another aspect of playing at higher elevations is what it does to your body. Jim Jeter’s advice about reeds can be applied to your playing, too. If the elevation is much higher than you are used to, you will be short of breath, possibly have headaches and feel sleepy until you acclimatize. The shortness of breath translates as having to take more breaths while playing. Higher elevation also affects the way you hear the sound of your instrument. Until you get used to the new altitude, it can sound thinner and grainier.

    If you already live and work at a high elevation none of that applies. Good luck.

    #113648
    David J. Bell
    Participant

    Also, the headaches could be to dehydration– plenty of water is the rule!

    David Bell
    Alexandria, VAS

    #113649
    Christopher Weait
    Participant

    Absolutely correct David. Thanks for reminding us.

    #113656
    Kent Moore
    Participant
    #113657
    Heather Ainsworth-Dobbins
    Participant

    Does anyone know when these two articles were published? I’m having a hard time finding them:

    Bassoon Reedmaking at Higher Altitudes: An Investigation: Ronald Klimko

    How I Get Bassoon Reeds to Work at High Altitudes: Gary Moody

    #113658
    John Towle
    Participant

    In Santa Fé, NM, over 7,000 feet above sea level, you need to make reeds there & generally take more wood out of the reed over-all. There should be no change in the basic profile (looking at the edges of the reeds) & in the faces of the reeds backlighted.

    Best,

    john

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

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