© MIM Photo Anne Deknock
  • IND ?> Inv. number


  • CN/NP ?> Common name / Nominal Pitch

    Tenor oboe (Taille de hautbois) in F

  • TS ?> Type or system

    2 keys

  • MK ?> Maker


  • IN ?> Mark, inscriptions

    SCHERER / (lion rampant of Hesse) – on all 3 parts;

    The number 1 appears above the mark on TJ and B;

    The number 2 appears above the mark on MJ.

  • PL ?> Place of origin Butzbach
  • DM ?> Date of making Most probably 1st half of the 18th century.
  • MATERIALS Boxwood with brass keys.
  • Body Length 784.6mm
  • TJ length (body + tenon) 322mm + 30.9mm
  • MJ length (body +tenon) 306.6mm + 33.2mm
  • B length 156.0mm
  • Acoustic Length 479.0mm
  • BORE
  • Minimal bore 8.0mm
  • Reed well diameter 10.8mm
  • Bore at end of TJ 14.7mm
  • Bore at top of MJ 14.7mm
  • Bore at end of MJ 19.4mm
  • Bore at top of B 22.5mm

    2 brass keys, Eb-key with trapezoidal flat flap, type Young-H: C-key with round flat flap, type Young-Y.

    Raised key rings circular and ‘rounded’.

    SATB (springs attached to the body).

    3rd and 4th hole doubled with cove.

    No vent-holes in bulb bell.

    The TJ is made of 2 parts: detachable top finial 141mm + body 181mm. The top finial is removable with simple tenon and socket, but does not fit exactly on TJ-body. It looks like a primitive tuning slide. Top ø 7.3mm, bottom ø 8.1mm.

  • FL ?> Faults

    Very good condition, some scratches on body. One crack in B. Restoration has been done by museum workshop in 1996 according to workshop archives. New pads have been put in place.

  • PA ?> Playing Accessories

    Bocal in brass 102mm (not clear if original). Mahillon (R1978) Vol.II p.256 mentions a "bocal and a reed". Reed is missing.

  • UP ?> Usable Pitch

    A = c.415Hz with bassoon-like reed TL 53mm / tip width 12mm, and a bocal TL 98mm ø 3.1mm + 5.9mm.

    With the top part pulled out halfway and a longer bocal TL 101mm ø 6.6mm + 3.5mm gave A = c.392Hz with reed TL 61.2mm / staple 35mm ø 5mm / tip width 11mm, but giving an uneven intonation.

  • PC ?> Performance Characteristics

    Rather uneven intonation with most of the combinations (bocals/staples/reeds) tried.

  • PO ?> Previous Ownership

    Ex-Mahillon V. & J.

  • FM ?> Further information on maker

    Young (1986).

  • SR ?> Specific literature Reference

    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.II p.256.

    Listed in Young (1993) p.209.

  • GL ?> General literature (about this type of instrument)

    Adkins (2001).

  • Remarks

    Young (1986) pp.116–9 develops a hypothesis that Georg Henrich Scherer (1703–1778) uses the figure ‘2’ in the mark to distinguish his instruments from those of his father Johannes Scherer Jr. (1664–1722) marked ‘1’. Sometime after the death of his father in 1722, Georg Henrich would stop using these figures, thus dating this instrument before c.1725. But other Scherer instruments seem to contradict this hypothesis, leaving the authorship and dating of this instrument unclear.


    Outward design of this tenor combines characteristics of Haynes types A2, B and E (for MJ), the last being a later type, suggesting that this is a compilation instrument (figures 1/2/1). Possibly the MJ was made later to complete an earlier instrument.


    Young (1986) p.120 – reporting another Scherer tenor and an oboe with the same removable top – believes that the top finial is meant to be removed, thus shortening the instrument to play at a higher pitch.

    Testing proved this theory indefensible. Not only is the top diameter under the ‘tuning slide’ narrower (6.4mm) than the reed well, so the bocal does not fit, but also the instrument – with a top joint getting about 40 % shorter – becomes unplayably out of tune.


    According to Marcel Ponseele, the removable top finial of the TJ is not meant to be a tuning slide as such, since the tenon is slightly conical, but probably a solution for the lack of an adequate piece of wood, or a ‘plan-B’ for a turnery accident or knot in the wood of a top joint, which was originally 1-piece.

    Other possibilities are that Scherer experimented making oboes with four joints, or that the slide or extra joint was added later on – after discarding the original top finial – to make a lower playing instrument.


    Possibly plum-wood according to Young (1993) p.209.