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Oboe da caccia

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Thoughts about a modernized oboe da caccia with my even oboe fingerings.

The range competes with the cor anglais. The very distinctive sound makes the oboe da caccia useful, to be kept. If it results from huge losses at the body, as I believe, these must be kept or reproduced otherwise.

I wish a low Bb despite old scores write to C. Some orchestras play a semitone lower the baroque scores. Playing the same scores on all saxophones is also very convenient, so the oboe family should copy it.

A body straight at the five lowest tone holes eases my even oboe fingerings. All known historical shapes were straight at the lower end. A low joint could be assembled there.

Only five tones holes plus the five lowest ones need covers
Sep 16, 2018 - Jul 30, 2017 - Aug 17, 2019 05:02pm

One construction known from paintings had an angle in the air column between the hands and optionally a second one lower. Maybe the sound was completely different, but we ignore it as no instrument has survived. This shape would ease my thumb keys. The other construction is gently curved over both hands and documented.

The angled contruction can just have bowls of polymer, or maybe <i>Buxus sempervirens</i>, where both joints converge with corks. A tone hole there looks possible. Assembling there is easy and shrinks the transport case. Transmitting the thumb keys is reasonable.

A curved body is less easy.

Maybe the soft sound needs the exotic construction. Or it's unrelated. Or other means can achieve the losses.

The museum pieces or the replicas must tell the tone holes' diameters, to be kept narrow and adapted to my even system - that's a good part of the sound. Chambers can be added at the tone holes for softer sound, tuned lower than usual, and dummy tone holes never opened can introduce more chambers to dampen a wider spectrum.
Jan 28, 2018
The bore can be kept as is.

On the records of the copies, the sound gets harder on low notes. I prefer to suppress the wide flare, keep a nearly straight bell, and add many small holes as Stowasser did on the tárogató. Visual examples:
Jul 30, 2017 - Sep 16, 2018

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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Here's a different look for a modernized oboe da caccia, not with a curved body, but with angles. Easier to draw and to produce, but the much stiffer body may not give the clear soft sound of Eichentopf's design. At least it looks archaic too.


I've carefully forgotten to display the thumb keys and the transmissions to the low joint, so the instruments seems simple. At least the front aspect is spare like a historical piece. Hand rests are needed but not displayed.

Both hands at one joint simplify the thumb keys.

I've shortened the main joint above the highest tone hole and lengthened the bocal whose shape tunes the ergonomy, but then the register keys are at the bocal. Other options are possible, even a second angle and a wooden joint that carries all register keys and runs directly to the reed.

Baroque luthiers had no Dalbergia, so this instrument can use less good wood that passes borders, and clearer to look baroque, maybe Buxus sempervirens if not too toxic. Soft thin walls would help imitate Eichentopf's sound.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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Eichentopf's oboe da caccia had a very elastic body, with only a wooden slat giving stiffness, plus some glue filling the gashes made in the body. I believe this gives the clear and soft sound very distinct from a cor anglais.

A straight or angled oboe da caccia made of Dalbergia or Taxus baccata would sound more like modern instruments - supposedly, as we don't have any historical oboe da caccia built that way, only pictures.

Besides small tone holes, inspired by Eichentopf's instruments, I suggest to make thin walls of materials with low E modulus: low density polyethylene PE-LD, polybutene-1 PB, maybe other polyolefins, polyketone. The key design must cope with drifting dimensions.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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