The Great Woodwind Doubler Census of 2021

mockup of white clipboard with blank paper
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Back in 2011 I did a “census” of woodwind players. It’s been 10 years, so I guess we’re due to be counted again. If you’re a doubler of any stripe/ability, you’re invited to take the survey. I’ll share the results as I did last time.

It’s a long survey, so set aside a little time if you’re willing, but all questions are optional and I’m happy to take whatever data you care to share. And of course feel free to share this survey far and wide with people who might be interested in participating.

At this point I’m thinking I’ll keep the survey active through the end of May, but if responses are still coming in strong I’ll be flexible.

Take the survey

Note Image Generator, version 0.2

I’m pleased to announce a new release of the Note Image Generator, my web app for quickly creating images of notes on staves (such as you might use for fingering charts, note identification flash cards, etc.).

I’ve added some new features for all users, but also some special features for those kind enough to donate to the Note Image Generator (there’s a PayPal link near the bottom of the page).

New features include:

  • More bar line options.
  • A new handwriting-type “jazz” notation font.

    Plus a bunch more new fonts for donors!
  • Parentheses around accidentals.
  • Enharmonic note spellings for donors.
  • More precise image sizing options for donors.
  • Various bug fixes and speed/stability/usability improvements.

Enjoy!

Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.83

Here’s a new minor release of the Fingering Diagram Builder with a few small improvements:

  • Bug fixes, administrative improvements, and other minor tweaks.
  • The Kingma flute diagram now has an option for a left-hand C-sharp-up key (thanks to Carla Rees). Dig around in the Keywork details menu to find it.
  • The Akai EWI diagram now has an EWI “Solo” key set, with the added side F-sharp key.

Enjoy!

Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.82

Here’s a new minor release of the Fingering Diagram Builder with a few small improvements:

  • Bug fixes and other minor tweaks
  • The French bassoon diagram now supports the Ducasse bassoon. Set “Instrument” to “Bassoon (French)” and “Key set” to “Ducasse.” Thanks to Daryn Zubke for assistance with this.

Recital videos, August 2020

I’m pleased to share videos from my recent Delta State University faculty recital. I performed for a very small in-person audience due to COVID-19 precautions.

All the repertoire is unaccompanied. The program begins with multiple-woodwinds repertoire by Samuel Adler, Kyle Tieman-Strauss, and Nicole Chamberlain (a world premiere of a commissioned piece), followed by some odds and ends on recorders, clarinet, and tinwhistles.

Update: COVID-19 wind playing resources

In a recent blog post I offered a few personal thoughts on wind playing and the COVID-19 crisis, and began listing some articles and resources related to the topic. I have now moved those to a separate and freshly-updated page.

If you are aware of other resources, feel free to bring them to my attention and I will consider including them. I don’t have firm criteria for what to include, but I’m generally leaning toward scientific papers and other primary sources that appear to be written in good faith and with a responsible approach to accuracy.

I am not outright rejecting articles that are funded or otherwise promoted by businesses that might stand to profit from the information presented, but I am noting those potential conflicts of interest. (A well-regarded global company whose products I use recently shared one of the articles I’ve included, with their own headline affixed that I found misleading and reductive.)

My best understanding at this point is that there’s still a lot we don’t know about the safety of playing wind instruments during a highly-contagious outbreak that targets the respiratory system. Please be as smart and safe as you can, so we can all make music together again soon.

Articles on COVID-19 and wind playing

Announcing the Note Image Generator

The Note Image Generator, version 0.1, is a tool for quickly generating batches of images of single notes on staves, like this:

It might be useful to users of my Fingering Diagram Builder, who want note images to combine with fingering diagram images when making fingering charts, but there are lots of potential uses for various educational materials. You can select a range of notes, a clef, and some other options, and download the images for your use.

The image creation is powered by LilyPond. The images are free for any usage.

Let me know what you think!

Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.81

Here’s a new minor release of the Fingering Diagram Builder with a few small improvements:

  • Bug fixes and minor behavior improvements
  • New bassoon keys: High F (plus offset high E and E-flat), alternate low C, alternate low C-sharp. This should cover everything Fox currently lists as bassoon keywork options. (Thanks to Trent for the feedback.)

Enjoy!

Updated: Music for woodwind doublers

As of February 2020, I’ve made some substantial updates to my catalog of music written for players of multiple woodwind instruments: Music for woodwind doublers

There are a few pieces I have listed as currently being researched, mostly cases where I am awaiting responses from composers. And I now have a special section for pieces that, unfortunately, I believe to be unavailable. If you have any leads on these pieces, or can offer any other additions or corrections, I’d be very interested in hearing from you.

When I take a step back and look at the list, it’s surprisingly robust. There are works by composers and musicians of the stature of Samuel Adler, Georges Barrère, Irwin Bazelon, Thomas Filas, Clare Fischer, Ralph Hermann, Bernard Hoffer, and Claude T. Smith. There are an encouraging number of pieces written in the 21st century. (I also have a new commission in the works, which I’ll hopefully be able to share details about sometime in the next few months.)

A fair number of the pieces have significant obstacles to performing, such as a need for an orchestra or concert band, or electronics, or less-common instruments. But there are a good number that are performable with just woodwind soloist or with woodwind soloist and piano, and some are flexible about instrumentation.

I must imagine for a lot of composers the prospect of writing a multiple-woodwinds piece is something of a hard sell. There’s a very limited number of musicians capable of performing multiple-woodwinds works, and not every doubler plays all the same instruments. If you are interested in playing these kinds of pieces, I hope you will find composers to work with, and let me know so I can add new pieces to my list.

Music for woodwind doublers

Recital videos, August 2019

Here are videos from my recent faculty recital at Delta State University. I performed the Saint-Saëns oboe, bassoon, and clarinet sonatas, plus the flute Romance and “The Swan” from The Carnival of the Animals as a baritone saxophone transcription.

“The Swan” is originally for cello, so I assumed it might work well as a baritone saxophone transcription. It turns out it really fits quite comfortably in the alto saxophone’s range, but I decided to take it on as a baritone piece anyway as a personal challenge.