a major work for teacher and performer alike" —Franck Avril, The Double Reed
"one of the best technical volumes on international musical life" —Das Musikinstrument
The reed is possibly the most crucial link in the chain of acoustical elements needed to produce an oboe sound. For the nearly 300 years since the appearance of the French oboe, players have painstakingly evolved this highly individualized skill. But because of their fragile nature, original historical examples of oboe reeds are practically nonexistent.
David Ledet has produced a unique study of techniques for styling oboe reeds by analyzing in details 168 examples of reeds by 81 artists from 14 countries. Each reed is strikingly photographed both in reflected light and in silhouette, thus clearly illustrating the relative thickness and shaping of the various sections of the reed. The precise dimensions of each example are complied in an elaborate table.
As background to his reed survey, Ledet discusses the various aspects of tone production (respiration, articulation, embouchure, and acoustics), gives a brief history of the instrument, and offers valuable advice about pedagogical techniques. The artists' reflections on their reedmaking techniques and brief biographical sketches introduce the photographs. Ledet often refers the reader to readily available phonographic recordings that either convey the essence of an oboist's sound or suggest the singularity of a national reed style. Ledet concludes that reed styles can be classified into five major regional categories: French, American, English, Dutch, and Viennese.
The book documents examples of reedmaking by such world-renowned musicians as Robert Bloom (Bach Aria Group), Henri de Busscher (1880-1978, Los Angeles Philharmonic), Janet Craxton (Royal Opera House, London), Peter Graeme (Melos Ensemble), Harold Gomberg (New York Philharmonic), John Mack (Cleveland Orchestra), Ronald Roseman (New York Woodwind Quintet and Jui