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Bridge Keys

Snagged and bent bridge keys are one of the most common troubles of the oboist. All of it is due either to ignorance or carelessness. There are 3 bridge keys on the oboe, two from upper to lower joints and one from lower joint to bell. See Fig. 45. Because there is considerable variation in construction among different makes of oboes, it is difficult to generalise too widely on how these bridge keys work. Most of them work as follows.

To connect the upper and lower joints, depress the bridge key connecting rod on the upper joint so the lower end of this key is lifted. The bridge key on the lower joint is sprung down. So far, so good the bridge key on the upper joint will ride above the bridge key on the lower joint when the two joints are pushed together or pulled apart with a slight rotary motion. You must be careful, though, where you take hold of the lower joint, for if you grasp it near the upper end you are liable to raise the lower bridge key so it will snag the upper bridge key.

Also, the other bridge key between the upper and lower joints is connected with the F; ring at top of lower branch and is constructed so the connecting arm is held up by a spring. So long as you don't depress the Ft ring, this bridge key will stay up and will not snag the pad cup with which it connects on the upper branch. Therefore, the best place to grasp the lower joint is at the lower end of the joint.

The Bb key on the bell is connected with the key system at the lower end of the lower joint. This Bb key is sprung open and the arm from it is sprung down. The connecting arm from the lower joint is also sprung down. It is obvious that the arm from the Bb key must be raised to avoid snagging the connecting arm from the lower joint. This is doneby depressing the Bb key. This lifts the Bb key arm so it rides above the connecting arm from the lower joint. With these bridge keys in this position the bell can be put on lower joint without snagging the bridge keys.