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Topic: Question for reed players

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  1. #1

    Question for reed players

    I'm wondering if anyone who plays the oboe AND the Bb Clarinet could give me some idea of how long it would take for a musician to switch between the two in a Broadway pit orchestra.

    In the score for the show I am writing I have some scene change music that requires a player on the clarinet to switch to the oboe for a piece of underscoring at the top of the next scene. (So the amount of time required is literally a lighting change + a character entering + two passing tones in the accompaniment and bang! oboe solo.)

    I know the musician would have to put down one and pick up the other, and I assume he would also need time to adjust his embouchure, but keep in mind that he would be playing this every night and used to making it happen as quickly as he could. So, how many seconds are we talking about here, for the minimum time in which such a switch could be made. Obviously, underscoring is hardly a major concern in the grand scheme of things, but all I have left to do are little details like this. I'd hate to have to write different underscoring or replace the oboe with another instrument, because the music really sets the mood for the scene, reminds the audience of an important event (when the theme last appeared) and it's one of the few spots where I can feature the oboe in the score.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  2. #2

    Re: Question for reed players

    Hmmm!

    In my own limited experience, I've never come across a reed player who plays single reeds and doubles on double reeds, nor vice versa.

    Oboists who play oboe d'amore and cor anglais, yes.
    Clarinet players who play saxophones, etc., yes.

    But not, in my own very limited knowledge, a double reed player who plays single reeds.
    Nor a single reed player who plays double reeds.

    However, such a mythical beast may exist, who knows.

    I'm an ex amateur oboist. So my knowledge is rather limited.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Question for reed players

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    I'm wondering if anyone who plays the oboe AND the Bb Clarinet could give me some idea of how long it would take for a musician to switch between the two in a Broadway pit orchestra.

    In the score for the show I am writing I have some scene change music that requires a player on the clarinet to switch to the oboe for a piece of underscoring at the top of the next scene. (So the amount of time required is literally a lighting change + a character entering + two passing tones in the accompaniment and bang! oboe solo.)

    I know the musician would have to put down one and pick up the other, and I assume he would also need time to adjust his embouchure, but keep in mind that he would be playing this every night and used to making it happen as quickly as he could. So, how many seconds are we talking about here, for the minimum time in which such a switch could be made. Obviously, underscoring is hardly a major concern in the grand scheme of things, but all I have left to do are little details like this. I'd hate to have to write different underscoring or replace the oboe with another instrument, because the music really sets the mood for the scene, reminds the audience of an important event (when the theme last appeared) and it's one of the few spots where I can feature the oboe in the score.
    A clarinet player doubling on oboe or English horn is quite common, especially in pit orchestras and small bands. The reed player would probably just lay his clarinet across his lap and pick up the oboe from a floor stand. (5-10 seconds) Assuming he has kept his oboe reed moist in a vial on his stand, remove the reed, place it in the oboe and use the lips or fingers to shape the reed and set for play (15-20 seconds). Allowing for normal human fumbling and assorted mishaps, I would give the player about 30-45 seconds to assure an even switch. It can be done more quickly, but a myriad little things can trip him up.

  4. #4

    Re: Question for reed players

    Thanks. That's very helpful. I knew someone here would have the answer.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  5. #5

    Re: Question for reed players

    There you go then, I knew my experience was limited, and I've learned something new too! ;-)
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

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