Subois in D
Subois is a play on words with the concept of the hautbois French for “oboe”) Hautbois means “high wood” and subois means, with tongue in cheek, “under wood.” This is a bombarde/rustic oboe hybrid made exclusively by Hervieux & Glet. It is basically a rustic oboe body with a tenor bombarde reed. The sound is indeed somewhere between a bombarde and an oboe, but leaning toward the oboe side. It doesn't have the power of a bombarde, but most people outside of Brittany would find the tone more “civilized.” The concept was invented by Youenn LeBihan of the groups Skolvan and Gwerz. He called his version a piston (so named by Jean-Michel Veillon for reasons we won't go into here). His tone is unmistakable and gives Skolvan a very unique sound. Youenn has made a number of legendary recordings with his piston. He doesn't make pistons for anyone but himself, and he makes his own reeds for it using a proprietary system. It has a great sound for newer Breton dances such as schottishes and polkas.
I commissioned this subois in 1998
from Hervieux & Glet. It is made
of French Boxwood with an octave key, an F natural key and three keys
below the tonic D of C#, C and B. It was originally crafted to use a
standard tenor bombarde reed, but was not quite in tune with itself.
In 2002, I sent it back to Brittany to be re-reeded by a reed making
Korzenn in Lorient. The reed well
was widened and now it plays perfectly in tune, but Korzenn are
the only folks who make reeds that will work with this subois.
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