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Explained here (it is the "dual" system I am referring to):
https://www.jpmusicalinstruments.com/news/conservatoire-thumbplate-or-dual-oboes-explained

Coming from clarinet and sax, it feels more comfortable to have something under your left thumb, and it provides some extra fingering options without complicating the standard ones.

So what's the big advantage with letting the thumb rest on wood and not having a thumb plate?
I suppose the theory is that the transition from middle C to C# (or D, Eb etc.) is made more stable in the Conservatoire system. Also it makes fully automatic octave keys a possibility.
When I was a music student I played Thumbplate but my prof played Conservatoire, and he thought that the advantages and disadvantages balanced themselves out. Later on I played a Howarth dual system and of course my ingrained finger patterns were to use the thumbplate fingerings. There are some good alternates to be had, but I never made the transition to playing e.g. a long fingering for middle C in technical passages. I think the tone of middle C needs more careful consideration on a Conservatoire system perhaps (?).

There may be acoustic advantages of one or the other, but you would have to speak to someone who knows about that, like the staff at T W Howarth in London.

I think both systems are fine. British players tend to play Thumbplate, Europeans tend to play Conservatoire I think.
 

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I studied oboe for years, always Conservatoire. I can't imagine playing with a thumb key. Do any professionals play that system? For me it would feel very strange not to have my left thumb on the instrument for stability.
 

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I studied oboe for years, always Conservatoire. I can't imagine playing with a thumb key. Do any professionals play that system? For me it would feel very strange not to have my left thumb on the instrument for stability.
Pretty much every pro oboe player in the UK plays thumbplate and they always have done!
It's not strange if you've always played that way.
 

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Yes, I prefer Europeans too, but I believe political discussion is banned on the forum!
This is not political discussion, it was tongue in cheek about your remarks portraying British not being a part of Europe and separating the two. At most, it would be geography discussion.
 

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This is not political discussion, it was tongue in cheek about your remarks portraying British not being a part of Europe and separating the two. At most, it would be geography discussion.
@kreacher You have to understand that the business of leaving the EU is a very touchy subject in Britain and your inference was bound to be interpreted politically. Not everyone in Britain would regard your remark as a joke, or if they did, it would be regarded as being in poor taste, especially when my original comment - which you quoted - was entirely unpolitical and as you suggest, geographical.

British oboists are thumbplate players in the main. The renowned manufacturer Howarth has made both systems and the combined one for as long as I can remember. I really do not know the historical origins of the two systems, but it would be interesting to know, I suppose. It may stem from the original open holed instruments which descended from the shawm, the recorder and others, where the thumb hole was a necessity.

Flutes have a thumb key and they do OK. It really doesn't matter unless you want automatic octaves.
 

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The traditional geographical distinction is that Britain is NOT part of Europe. This predates the EU by centuries. British traditions are substantially different than Continental traditions in a lot of ways, mostly stemming from the fact that France, Italy, Spain were all closely knit parts of the Roman Empire whereas Britain was a distant loosely held province and Roman ways had much less influence. This has a lot to do with why in many ways British culture is more similar to German than to French or Spanish; because of course most of what is now Germany was never conquered by Rome, and of course the Vikings, Angles, and Saxons were Germanic peoples who settled in Britain over the course of the centuries.

In flute land, British flutists and German flutists kept to wooden closed hole Boehm-pattern flutes far longer than the French who adopted early on the silver open hole Louis Lot pattern, and the traditional "English flute tone" was closer to the traditional "German flute tone" and distinct from the French school flute tone. It looks, from what's posted above, that there was a similar dichotomy between British oboe practice and design and Continental practice and design.
 

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I really think you are making it more of a deal than it is. UK is a European country, and forever it shall be, so saying that there is a British and an European oboe keywork style is like saying there is a German and European clarinet keywork style.

Get it? No political issue, just found it funny you making a distinction between two practices that are both European (and in the world for that matter, since everyone uses one of both, disregarding the dual and simple systems).


Touching the political side (since you brought it up, UK is not leaving Europe, just the European Union. And I leave it at that.

All the best
 

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I studied oboe for years, always Conservatoire. I can't imagine playing with a thumb key. Do any professionals play that system? For me it would feel very strange not to have my left thumb on the instrument for stability.
You still have your right thumb to support the instrument. And you can support the weight with your left thumb 95% of the time when you don't use the fingerings that the thumb plate makes possible. But maybe stability is the answer. On the Kohlert I play, the thumb plate is matte and not plated as the rest of the key work, as if made not to slip on.
 

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I really think you are making it more of a deal than it is. UK is a European country, and forever it shall be, so saying that there is a British and an European oboe keywork style is like saying there is a German and European clarinet keywork style.

Get it? No political issue, just found it funny you making a distinction between two practices that are both European (and in the world for that matter, since everyone uses one of both, disregarding the dual and simple systems).
I'm not British, but I think it's fairly common knowledge that Brits regularly use the term "Europe", colloquially, to refer to continental Europe (or, these days, to the EU). There's nothing really unusual about it.

Objecting to this is like objecting to a US resident making a distinction between "Americans" and "Canadians". At best, it comes off as pedantic.
 

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I really think you are making it more of a deal than it is. UK is a European country, and forever it shall be, so saying that there is a British and an European oboe keywork style is like saying there is a German and European clarinet keywork style.

Get it? No political issue, just found it funny you making a distinction between two practices that are both European (and in the world for that matter, since everyone uses one of both, disregarding the dual and simple systems).

Touching the political side (since you brought it up, UK is not leaving Europe, just the European Union. And I leave it at that.

All the best
@kreacher, I have PM'd you. We are already treading on thin ice as far as the ban on political discussion in the forum is concerned and I do not want pollute this thread further.
 

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DaveR, thanks for the reply!

Not sure I follow you here. I have a fully automatic Kohlert with thumb key.
On a conservatoire system, middle C is played with the fingering XOO | XOO , so in the transition to middle C# (or D/Eb etc etc) the fact that the first finger RH is already down provides extra stability to the movement.
On a conventional thumbplate system, automatic octaves are not possible, only semi-automatic (https://www.howarth.uk.com/pic.aspx?vid=12795) because the main keywork is a lot simpler, but I guess on a dual system they can be.
 

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I'm not British, but I think it's fairly common knowledge that Brits regularly use the term "Europe", colloquially, to refer to continental Europe (or, these days, to the EU). There's nothing really unusual about it.

Objecting to this is like objecting to a US resident making a distinction between "Americans" and "Canadians". At best, it comes off as pedantic.
That's absolutely correct.

Actually T W Howarth make the distinction by calling the thumbplate models 'English', and the conservatoire models 'French' (not European), but in discussing oboes, it's not an issue, we know what we mean.
 
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