Saturday, February 13, 2016

Oboe d’Amore and general musical Update

Well, my playing has suffered a lot in the last 3 weeks because I’ve had this winter crud that won’t let me go. My daughter finally dragged me off to the doctor, so now I am on antibiotics. I still don’t have my voice back. I still have a sore throat. I still have trouble breathing.

The breathing is better, though, so maybe tomorrow I can do some playing on my d’amore. At the doctor’s office, I could hit 200 on the breathing meter thingy. Not so good. On the third try I got to about 300 - almost normal - but it hurt my lungs. Tonight I hit 300 on the first try, so that’s a good sign.  I just hit over 350, so things are definitely looking up!

To make matters worse, I had two new crowns installed on Wednesday. It has take a few days for my mouth to settle down. So, oh, woe is me!  All of these things affect my musical progress. At least they are pretty good excuses. Maybe giving my mea culpa here on my blog will help me get off dead center musically speaking and back into doing some playing!

I have been playing it for worship team, and that is a lot of fun for me. There are no oboe d’amore parts for praise and worship music. In fact, there are no parts at all, just a lead sheet with words and chords.

I don’t really need the lead sheet anyway, or the chords since the progressions are really simple. I do need to know what key we’re in, but that’s pretty much it.

From there I just improvise. Sometimes I play parts of the melody. Other times I play a harmony part or a little counter melody. Sometimes I just play sustained tones, adding some oboe color to the ensemble.

I keep asking for a mike, since sometimes I can’t hear myself all that well. It is especially hard to hear when I am in the middle of the stage between the drums and electric guitar on my left, and the keyboard and bass on my right. I feel like I’m playing inside a paper bag!

So, I got myself moved to the end of the stage farthest from the drums. Now I can hear everyone and try to fit my part into the sound of the group. I love the drums and electric guitar, but somehow my sound just gets absorbed into their  sound if I am too close to them. Since I am not playing from music, but just by ear, I really do need to hear what I am playing!

The sound guys - and my daughter - tell me I cut through just fine and don’t really need a mike. In fact, she told me that she could hear me all the way down the hall, outside the sanctuary. Hmmm. She’s my best or worst critic!  The d’amore is pretty powerful, I grant them that.

People tell me it sounds good. Our director likes it, so that’s good. A person does not want to be on the outs with the director. He is a young guy, but has had excellent musical training and knows his stuff.

Of course, for me this is a different kind of experience - to play on a worship team. It’s fun for me, and something new and different. I’ve learned a lot about improvisation and playing by ear. I do have to think ahead some. Improvisation takes some planning and thought.

Besides that, I purchased the A Major concerto for oboe d’amore by Bach. It’s really a transposition of one of his works for  harpsichord. It’s such a nice piece of music and quite playable. It does require air, though.

I also got the Oboe I part for the Mass in b minor by Bach, so I get to play along with that. I just ordered part II as well.

Oh, and my husband confiscated one of my gig bags for his clarinet. I have one for my d’amore and HAD another one for my regular oboe. So, I purchased a new oboe case. It’s pretty sweet, with room for all my oboe junk as well as printed music.

I quit making reeds years ago. I wasn’t all that good at it in the first place, so I just gave it up when ready made reeds became more available. I can even get ones that are unfinished and finish them off to my liking.

So, I guess that’s it on the musical update.

Music is so good for the soul and for one’s health - as long as the air holds out!

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