I just began playing the English Horn after playing oboe for the past 6 years. I have found that most of the notes are in tune, or close enough that I can correct with embouchure.

The main exception to this is the G-Flat right above the staff. This note, even when making extremely drastic adjustments with my embouchure, remains no less than 30 cents flat.

This may be because it is a cheap, school owned instrument or because of a not-so-great bocal (but I can't replace either).

Is there an alternate fingering or other way to compensate for this very flat G-Flat?

3 Answers 3


High G-Flat- and the equivalent on the oboe, the high D-Flat- is a notoriously hard note to tune. My advice: just play around. Try opening some of the trill keys in addition to the normal fingering. Lots of instruments require their own particular fingering for this note.


You really do not want to try to compensate via embouchure, since some day you'll get a good instrument and don't want to have to unlearn it. BTW, if the bocal were at fault, you'd expect all notes to be off, not just a single fingering.

I'm not familiar with Eng Horn fingering, but: if this note involves opening a hole (finger up, whatever), then possibly you can compensate by lining the hole with a few layers of tape. This narrows the opening and to a small extent will sharpen the pitch.

  • 3
    Changing the size of a hole is not a good idea, because there is no one hole that only affects the pitch of this G-Flat and no other note. The high G-Flat is played as a fourth harmonic of the lowest G-Flat and doesn't have its own tone hole. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 16:53

It appears that you are using a digital tuner, so I presume you mean the note sounding as G-flat 5, but written as D-flat 6 for either oboe or English horn.

A website that I've found to be a useful resource for instruments that I can actually play — The Woodwind Fingering Guide offers the following alternate fingering describing it as "Good for English horn":

Oboe fingering diagram "-23|45-c"

This is just like the standard oboe fingering for D-flat 6, but with the middle finger on the lower hand added.

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