THE OBOE, or its forebears such as the Greek aulos, is one of the oldest instruments still in use.
It is played by blowing through two pieces of cane bound tightly together, but leaving a small hole through which the player pushes air. The pressure of air is created by narrowing the lips. As the air flows from the player through the reed it enters the main chamber of the oboe to produce a very distinctive sound which has the resonance to penetrate a whole orchestra.
One the main tasks that all oboe-players encounter is to find and keep the best reeds. Players of modern instruments, and earlier versions that would have been known by Bach or Mozart, all have the same problem.
Emma Feilding describes the oboe-player's search for a good reed, and explains how she makes her reeds work in warming up and in performance.