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Saturday, 29 October 2016


The oboe is a woodwind instrument made of a conical tube with a double reed stuck into the top. The oboe has a yearning, poignant tone and sound is made by blowing through the double reed. The pitch is changed by opening and closing holes on the sides of the instrument. The earliest evidence for such an instrument is Etruscan, around 480 BC.

The name oboe comes from French language hautbois, meaning "high wood", a high-pitched woodwind instrument.

Two oboe musette players from the Cantigas de Santa Maria (13th century).

The oboe evolved from the shawm, a double-reed musical instrument of conical bore, producing a loud and penetrating sound, which first appeared in Europe in the 13th century and was used in outdoor ceremonies.

Due to the taste of the French king, Louis XIV, for music, a subtler more precise instrument was needed for his orchestra and so in the mid 17th century, the oboe appeared.

The oboe became popular in the Baroque period. Many Italian composers such as Antonio Vivaldi wrote concertos for the instrument, and it is used in a lot of chamber music. At this time it hardly had any keys, but gradually more keys were added which made it easier to play the sharps and flats.

The oboe is usually made of black wood with silver keys running down the length of the body.

A modern oboe with a reed (Lorée, Paris).

It is usual for the principal oboist in an orchestra to play the note A for the rest of the orchestra to tune their instruments to.

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