Oboe Unbound

Oboists, forever obsessing over reeds and the demands of their finicky instrument, have lagged somewhat behind their more adventurous colleagues. This resource seeks to open up the tradition-bound assumptions of that instrument's capabilities.

Not only does it include descriptions of the instrument's standard technique (such as range, reeds, and use of vibrato); but it provides a discussion of the many techniques that have recently been utilized (such as multiphonics, microtones, altered timbres, extended range, and many others) along with numerous musical examples and hundreds of fingerings. The fingering charts are extremely reliable, having been tested by a range of oboists with varying reed styles and instruments. A concluding chapter provides basic information about the use of electronics for amplification, recording, and sound enhancement. The book's appendices include a substantial bibliography of music and literature, a discography including jazz, non-western, and art music recordings.

The revised edition includes examples of contemporary oboe sounds (scroll down to listen) as well as audio and video recordings of unreleased compositions. With its wide range of detailed information, it is a thorough resource for oboists and composers, from beginners to professionals.



“Her incredible knowledge and experience with a vast array of techniques and repertoire is inspiring. If Oboe Unbound is not part of your library, it should be."   - The Double Reed

“This amazing guide to contemporary oboe techniques is what one would expect from Libby Van Cleve, a superlative artist-oboist, who is passionately musical, deeply intelligent and eminently practical. The Oboe Unbound is inspiring, comprehensive and easy to learn from, with easy-to-read fingering charts. I recommend it highly.”   - Allan Vogel, principal oboist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

“Libby Van Cleve has established herself as a leading innovator, virtuoso instrumentalist, and visionary scholar of twentieth-century music. She has demonstrated creative mastership and evolution for over thirty years and is rightly viewed as one of the ‘state of the state’ oboe virtuosos of this time period. The release of this book will extend the evolution and exploratory dimensions of creative oboe music. It is a must-have for any serious student of oboe music.”   - Anthony Braxton, MacArthur award winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, and improviser


CD tracks from Oboe Unbound: 

Libby Van Cleve played oboe on all tracks. Jack Vees played electric guitar on Tattooed Barbie, and David Rosenboom performed on live electronics for And Come Up Dripping. 

Tracks 1-35 and Track 36, Apocrypha, were recorded on October 5, 2002 at Yale University's Center for Studies in Music Technology, New Haven, Connecticut, David Budries, recording engineer. Track 37, And Come Up Dripping, resulted from a live performance on March 3, 2001 at the Engine 27 performance space in New York City, Jody Elff, recording engineer. The recording was later reprocessed and mastered by David Rosenboom in the composer's studio, California Institute of the Arts.

These CD tracks were mastered by David Budries at Sound Situation Studios, Glastonbury, Connecticut.