In a blog post from last week, New York City composer Joseph Phillips discusses his ensemble Numinous and his decision to use woodwind doublers instead of a conventional orchestral woodwind section.
When I started Numinous back in the fall of 2000, I knew I wanted flexibility of colors in the woodwind section. Even though I’m a saxophone/woodwind player, I didn’t want a saxophone dominant sound to the section. I also didn’t want to have 10 woodwind players to cover saxophones, oboe, English Horn, flutes, clarinets, and whatever woodwinds I happen to write for. So the most natural solution was to have woodwind doublers who would be able to play multiple instruments. Of course with the demands of my music, I didn’t want or need a typical jazz saxophone doubler: someone that plays maybe passable flute or clarinet but not well enough to match their saxophone abilities. In addition to being able to improvise well on all of the instruments, I really need musicians whose abilities on the other woodwind instruments are all fairly equal and could move easily between jazz, classical, and popular genres.
For today’s Stupid Microsoft Office Trick, we will be teaching Excel how to sort musical instruments into score order. This has lots of uses for musicians and music educators:
Inventories of instruments, sheet music, CD’s, you name it
Rosters of students, orchestra members, sub lists, and so forth
For example, suppose I have a list of sheet music for various woodwind instruments:
If I sort alphabetically by column C, I’ll get bassoon pieces first, then clarinet, flute, oboe, and saxophone. But as a musician I rarely have reason to sort things that way. I would rather have the flute pieces on the top, followed by oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone—a typical score ordering.
Since I moved to the lovely and historic Mississippi Delta about two and a half months ago, it has been on my to-do list to find a local source for Duco cement to use in bassoon reedmaking. I used to be able to buy it at a certain notorious chain store, but my local store here doesn’t stock it. One well-known double reed supplier sells it for $3.95 per one-ounce tube, which is four times the price I usually pay for it locally.
The Devcon website makes it hard to find information about retail locations, and in fact you have to head over to another web domain to find it. After an unsuccessful morning driving around looking for Duco, I went home and dug up this link:
Select DUCO® CEMENT, TUBE CARDED and your state. The website doesn’t give retailer addresses, but does provide names. I found a store within a half-mile of me that had it for just under a dollar per tube. Continue reading “Duco cement and bassoon reeds”→
A disturbing amount of flute pedagogical literature includes drawings or descriptions of what types of lips are good for flute playing and what types aren’t. Usually the lips deemed flute-appropriate are perfectly symmetrical and not too thin, not too wide. I tend to think that those kinds of distinctions are garbage, as are the descriptions of the “right” lips for clarinet or oboe playing or the suggestion that students with natural overbites are born bassoonists.