opensound: writing for microtonal oboe with Christopher Redgate

Sam Corcoran

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Colin Black
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Free online workshop open to all composers.

Microtones and the oboe

Composers have been writing microtones for the oboe since the 1960s. Initially only occasionally today works can include significant microtonal content or even be entirely microtonal.

In this presentation Christopher Redgate will explore writing for microtones on the oboe and its related instruments and will:

  • discuss the different techniques employed by oboists for the production of microtones – a surprisingly important area of knowledge!
  • explore the possible microtonal options – including quarter-tones, eighth-tones and third-tones alongside other options
  • discuss the technical challenges oboists face when playing microtones including the areas where microtones are problematic in the range
  • briefly discuss the challenges microtones bring to the other instruments of the oboe family.

As part of the discussions, works by composers who have used microtones extensively as part of their compositional practice will be referenced.

You can also expect a number of tips and ‘rules of thumb’ to help avoid the problems that can be encountered. And get to know ways in which microtones can be used in a context that includes non-microtonal instruments.

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