Bass Oboe - Spectral Data


A document of data collected via the spectral analysis of every playable standard pitch on the bass oboe (i.e. no microtones, harmonics, etc.), numbering 35 in total. The samples, consisting of a long-sustained noted in each case,  were taken at two dynamics per note; pp & ff. The data is grouped in octaves, and then by dynamic, with each note labelled using the standard method (where C4 is middle C).

The samples were analysed using my own patch, programmed in Pure Data, which takes three spectral snapshots across every sample. The average frequency and amplitude of each partial between the three snapshots is then recorded. Any partials not present across all three snapshots are excluded. The partials for each sample are listed in order of amplitude. The results obtained using this patch have been cross-referenced with results obtained by using S.P.E.A.R. and Sonic Visualiser, and were found to be consistent.

Click here for data tables. See below for help with how to read the tables.

Samples were played by oboist Michael Sluman and recorded with the assistance of Matthew Fogg and Henry Chatham at their studio in Leeds. Many thanks to them all. 

Date of publishing: 3 March 2017



  • NHN - This is the number of the nearest harmonic of the fundamental, were its spectrum an ideal harmonic spectrum, to the actual frequency of the partial in question. It is provided as a convenience to quickly establish range relative to the fundamental and gain an idea of the overall spectral distribution.
  • Frequency - given in Hz.
  • Amplitude - given as an RMS figure.
  • Amplitude Ratio - given relative to the fundamental.
  • MIDI Number - Given in semitones, to the nearest cent. Provided as a convenience to read absolute pitch quickly and for those who may otherwise benefit from MIDI information.
  • Interval from Fundamental - Given in semitones, to the nearest cent.
  • Diversion (HZ) - The diversion of the partial's actual frequency from the expected frequency of a perfectly harmonic partial.
  • Diversion (Pitch) - The diversion of the partial's actual pitch from the expected pitch of a perfectly harmonic partial.
  • Pitch Class  - Given in standard set theory notation (C = 0, C# = 1, etc.) to the nearest 10 cents.