Tabuteau’s Reeds/Oboes

Tabuteau’s Creation: The ‘American-Style’ Reed

Tabuteau’s Gouging Machines and Process

Tabuteau’s Lorée Oboes

Introduction by Charles Lehrer

To get a sense of what it was like playing oboe in Marcel Tabuteau’s time, it is important to hear what Tabuteau, his students, and his musical colleagues had to say. It certainly is eye-opening to learn from them what the Great Musician had to contend with when he went to work each day as principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

I personally  remember a time when Lorée oboes were still tuned to Tabuteau’s favorite pitch, A-438 Hz, and how my contemporaries and I sought (or should I say fought) to find ways to get our instruments to play up to the A-440 pitch then current in Philadelphia during the late 1950s. Documentary evidence confirms exactly why low pitch and other practices had been the norm in the Philadelphia Orchestra back in the early years of the 20th Century when Tabuteau was developing his unique sound with its wide dynamic range.

Thanks to Tabuteau and his disciples working with the many artisans (instrument makers, tool makers, and the one supreme repairman) who catered to their needs, those studying oboe nowadays have it so much easier from the ‘get-go.’ Today’s students are unburdened from many of the problems oboists like Tabuteau had to endure, and now have the freedom to better use their time learning an extraordinarily wide range of repertoire, working on florid ornamentation, and committing to memory multiple works, as is today’s norm.

So, dear reader, let us return to those days long past when knowledge about the oboe was held in the hands of a very select few…at a time when Marcel Tabuteau was the most sought-after oboe teacher in the United States. Insofar as instruments and reed-making are concerned, the individuals listed below fill us in on a good part of the story. Their entries were derived from materials presented elsewhere in their entirety on this website.

The information contained in the above links was compiled from the oboists listed below.

AG: Adrian Gnam

DB: Donald Baker

DH: Donald Hefner

DW: David Weber

JD: John de Lancie

JM: John Minsker

JMk: John Mack

JR: Joseph Robinson

LS: Laila Storch

LVB: Laurie Van Brunt

MS: Melissa Stevens

MT: Marcel Tabuteau

RA: Rhadames Angelucci

RF: Rowland Floyd

WR: Wayne Rapier