Today there is little doubt that the oboe was one of Bach's most favoured instruments, and that it was an instrument with which he was extremely familiar. Yet, in spite of this, Bach composed numerous works which includes notes that are not playable on the model of oboe that we know were used during his lifetime. Why did Bach write notes that are generally regarded today as unplayable, or perhaps rather ‘unperformable’ due to the quality of both sound and intonation when produced on a contemporary copy of a historical instrument? This is a problem which has been somewhat confined to the footnotes of Bach scholarship but it nonetheless poses very important and relevant questions for the historical oboist, and in fact potentially for the Bach musician and scholar at large.
This page contains media that is intended to start playback automatically on opening. This may include sound. Your browser is blocking automated playback. Please click here to start media.
Moving the mouse cursor over the top of the page will display the menu bar.