About The Oboe
Have you ever wondered what gives the oboe that very special sound that cuts through the orchestra, and whose sonority is so different from other instruments?
The oboe belongs to a family of woodwind instruments. The soprano oboe, which is heard most frequently, is pitched in concert C. Oboes are usually made of wood, but can also be made of synthetic materials. The soprano oboe measures approximately 65 cm (25 1⁄2 in) long, has silver or silver plated keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. The oboe is a double reed instrument. The term double reed refers to the fact that the reed inserted in the top of the instrument consists of a piece of folded cane folded over and opened at the top, in such a way that the two pieces vibrate against each other. Many oboists make their own reeds, so that the reed will be tailored made to create the sound sought by te musician. The plant that oboe reeds are made from is Arundo donax. It is in the grass family, and it is not a direct relative of bamboo. Arundo donax. Ancient reed instruments used the same plant as we use today. The cultivation of cane for woodwind reeds has long been in the Var Region of southeastern France. However the grass is now being harvested in many other countries (Argentina, China, Mexico, Spain, Turkey).
The sound of the oboe is produced by blowing into the reed with enough pressure to make the air column vibrate. Its distinctive sonority is a function of the double reed combined with the shape of the conical bore: the sound is not replicated in any other wind instrument, and may be used to great effect. Other oboes in the family which are commonly encountered nowadays are the bass oboe, the oboe d'amore, which is pitched in A, and the cor anglais ("English horn") which is pitched in F. The term English horn is a misnomer, since the instrument is neither a horn, nor English. The most likely source of the name is from the French "cor anglé" or "angled horn" probably because of the instrument's relationship to an earlier instrument with a curved shape. The standard oboe instrument in C was called a "hautbois", "hoboy", or "French hoboy" from the French; the compound name consists of haut ["high"] and bois ["wood", "woodwind"]). There is a long history of instrument building, performance of the instrument and teaching of the oboe in France. The spelling of oboe was adopted into English c. 1770 from the Italian oboè, a transliteration of the 17th-century pronunciation of the French name. A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist. Today, the oboe is ubiquitous. Commonly used in orchestras, chamber music, and concert bands, it can also be heard in film music, folk music, jazz, rock, and popular music.