Oboe Reed Styles

Oboe Reed Styles

Theory and Practice
David A. Ledet, foreword by Richard Killmer
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/22/2000
Format: Paperback 185 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-21392-1
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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

Author Bio

David A. Ledet, Professor of Music at the University of Georgia, is co-author of The Art of Oboe Playing.


“This unique study of techniques for styling oboe reeds analyzes 168 strikingly photographed reeds by 81 artists from 14 countries, including oboists' reflections on their reedmaking techniques. "A major work for teachers and performers alike." —Franck Avril, The Double Reed”

“With analysis and striking photographs of 168 reeds from fourteen countries, this valuable historical and technical record is essential for teachers, performers, and students of all ages and abilities. ”

“. . .an extraordinary contribution to the international oboe world, not only as a reference/documentary or reed styles but also as a compilation of important performers and their practices, including the great and influential Marcel tabuteau and Fernand Gillet. . . . [a] fascinating study . . . .Sept. 1, 2009”
 — Peggy Grant, Northern Kentucky University

“One of the best technical volumes on international musical life.”
 — Das Musikinstrument

“A major work for teachers and performers alike.”
 — Franck Avril, The Double Reed

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Table of Contents

List of Tables

Part I: Tone Production
1. Respiration
2. Articulation
3. The Embouchure
4. The Instument
5. The Acoustics of the Room
6. The Listener

Part II: Oboe Reeds
7. Reeds of Individual Oboists
8. A Delineation of Reed Styles
9. Symmetry and Conclusions