The differences between European and American scraped oboe reeds.
The oboe experts are sure to have clear what are the differences between the oboe reeds of European scraping and American scraping, however, for those oboists who have doubts or are starting, we solve the doubts.
With respect to these reeds there are differences in both playing style and aesthetic features. Both reeds and both styles of scraping can sound both very good and very bad, that I’m sure you already know regardless of the type of scraping.
In terms of aesthetics or the appearance of the reed, American shaving reeds have a longer shaving than European reeds. Also, although not perceptible to the naked eye, the ratio between the center and the sides varies in the Gubiado.
Beyond these technical differences, the main difference is the playing, i.e. how each works. The idea behind the American oboe reed is to allow the player to play with a minimum of embouchure tension/manipulation while maintaining timbre and sound quality. European reeds, on the other hand, require more manipulation/strain on the embouchure/muscle. They also sound somewhat different which may make one style more appealing than the other to the individual oboist.
Here are some images and observations from a study by Nicole Evans for the University of Montana. (https://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1207&context=utpp)
American scraped reeds:
The column of air needed to make the reed vibrate is intermediate – not forceful, but not too little either.
- Articulation is usually easy and clean in all registers except the lower register of the oboe.
- These notes would sound with some embouchure adjustment however the pitch is fairly stable and reasonably easy to control except in the extreme upper and lower registers.
- The reed also provides a lot of flexibility so that the sound can be adjusted using the embouchure and air as needed.
- Pitch is also more difficult to control with a large change in dynamics or large interval jumps.
- The sound seems a bit more flexible and requires some additional damping on the to produce a controlled sound. There is a wide range of tone colors available with fairly minimal embouchure adjustment.
European scraped reeds:
- The column of air must be fast and vigorous enough to make the rod vibrate. It also requires a decent amount of pressure at the mouthpiece.
- Articulation is more complex than in American rasped reeds, although it is easier in the middle and high registers.
- Articulation is particularly challenging at faster speeds or in the lower register of the instrument.
- The tuning is very stable throughout the range of the instrument, but it is not easy to manipulate or adjust easily.
- The tuning remains stable at different dynamic levels, but playing softly requires a greater effort in the embouchure.
- The sound is easy to control and keep centered.
- Some flexibility in sound color in the mid and high range is possible, but requires significant embouchure and air adjustments.
Do you have any doubt about which oboe reed is the best for you? Write us or ask us, we are here to advise you and even if you wish, we can make your oboe reed customized and personalized. Although remember, we only build with European scraping.
Don’t forget to visit our website and see all our variety of oboe reeds 😉