(Double-reeded aerophone with keys)
|Developed||Mid 17th century from the shawm|
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The oboe ( // OH-boh) is a type of double reed woodwind instrument. Oboes are usually made of wood, but may also be made of synthetic materials, such as plastic, resin, or hybrid composites. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A soprano oboe measures roughly 65 cm (25+1⁄2 in) long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column. The distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is generally taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais (English horn), or oboe d'amore.
A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist.
Today, the oboe is commonly used as orchestral or solo instrument in symphony orchestras, concert bands and chamber ensembles. The oboe is especially used in classical music, film music, some genres of folk music, and is occasionally heard in jazz, rock, pop, and popular music. The oboe is widely recognized as the instrument that tunes the orchestra with its distinctive 'A'.
In comparison to other modern woodwind instruments, the treble oboe is sometimes referred to as having a clear and penetrating voice. The Sprightly Companion, an instruction book published by Henry Playford in 1695, describes the oboe as "Majestical and Stately, and not much Inferior to the Trumpet".[ This quote needs a citation ] In the play Angels in America the sound is described as like "that of a duck if the duck were a songbird". The rich timbre is derived from its conical bore (as opposed to the generally cylindrical bore of flutes and clarinets). As a result, oboes are easier to hear over other instruments in large ensembles due to its penetrating sound. The highest note is a semitone lower than the nominally highest note of the B♭ clarinet. Since the clarinet has a wider range, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is significantly deeper (a minor sixth) than the lowest note of the oboe.
Music for the standard oboe is written in concert pitch (i.e., it is not a transposing instrument), and the instrument has a soprano range, usually from B♭3 to G6. Orchestras tune to a concert A played by the first oboe. According to the League of American Orchestras, this is done because the pitch is secure and its penetrating sound makes it ideal for tuning. The pitch of the oboe is affected by the way in which the reed is made. The reed has a significant effect on the sound. Variations in cane and other construction materials, the age of the reed, and differences in scrape and length all affect the pitch. German and French reeds, for instance, differ in many ways, causing the sound to vary accordingly. Weather conditions such as temperature and humidity also affect the pitch. Skilled oboists adjust their embouchure to compensate for these factors. Subtle manipulation of embouchure and air pressure allows the oboist to express timbre and dynamics.
The oboe uses a double reed, similar to that used for the bassoon.Most professional oboists make their reeds to suit their individual needs. By making their reeds, oboists can precisely control factors such as tone color, intonation, and responsiveness. They can also account for individual embouchure, oral cavity, oboe angle, and air support.
Novice oboists rarely make their own reeds, as the process is difficult and time consuming, and frequently purchase reeds from a music store instead. Commercially available cane reeds are available in several degrees of hardness; a medium reed is very popular, and most beginners use medium-soft reeds. These reeds, like clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon reeds, are made from Arundo donax . As oboists gain more experience, they may start making their own reeds after the model of their teacher or buying handmade reeds (usually from a professional oboist) and using special tools including gougers, pre-gougers, guillotines, knives, and other tools to make and adjust reeds to their liking.The reed is considered the part of oboe that makes the instrument so difficult because the individual nature of each reed means that it is hard to achieve a consistent sound. Slight variations in temperature, altitude, weather, and climate can also have an effect on the sound of the reed, as well as minute changes in the physique of the reed.
Oboists often prepare several reeds to achieve a consistent sound, as well as to prepare for environmental factors such as chipping of a reed or other hazards. Oboists may have different preferred methods for soaking their reeds to produce optimal sounds; the most preferred method tends to be to soak the oboe reed in water before playing.
Plastic oboe reeds are rarely used, and are less readily available than plastic reeds for other instruments, such as the clarinet. However they do exist, and are produced by brands such as Legere.
In English, prior to 1770, the standard instrument was called a hautbois, hoboy, or French hoboy ( // HOH-boy). This was borrowed from the French name, hautbois [obwɑ] , which is a compound word made up of haut ("high", "loud") and bois ("wood", "woodwind"). 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.
The regular oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century, when it was called a hautbois. This name was also used for its predecessor, the shawm, from which the basic form of the hautbois was derived.Major differences between the two instruments include the division of the hautbois into three sections, or joints (which allowed for more precise manufacture), and the elimination of the pirouette , the wooden ledge below the reed which allowed players to rest their lips.
The exact date and place of origin of the hautbois are obscure, as are the individuals who were responsible. Circumstantial evidence, such as the statement by the flautist composer Michel de la Barre in his Memoire, points to members of the Philidor (Filidor) and Hotteterre families. The instrument may in fact have had multiple inventors.The hautbois quickly spread throughout Europe, including Great Britain, where it was called hautboy, hoboy, hautboit, howboye, and similar variants of the French name. It was the main melody instrument in early military bands, until it was succeeded by the clarinet.
The standard Baroque oboe is generally made of boxwood and has three keys: a "great" key and two side keys (the side key is often doubled to facilitate use of either the right or left hand on the bottom holes). In order to produce higher pitches, the player has to "overblow", or increase the air stream to reach the next harmonic. Notable oboe-makers of the period are the Germans Jacob Denner and J.H. Eichentopf, and the English Thomas Stanesby (died 1734) and his son Thomas Jr (died 1754). The range for the Baroque oboe comfortably extends from C4 to D6. With the resurgence of interest in early music in the mid 20th century, a few makers began producing copies to specifications taken from surviving historical instruments.
The Classical period brought a regular oboe whose bore was gradually narrowed, and the instrument became outfitted with several keys, among them those for the notes D♯, F, and G♯. A key similar to the modern octave key was also added called the "slur key", though it was at first used more like the "flick" keys on the modern German bassoon. Only later did French instrument makers redesign the octave key to be used in the manner of the modern key (i.e. held open for the upper register, closed for the lower). The narrower bore allows the higher notes to be more easily played, and composers began to more often utilize the oboe's upper register in their works. Because of this, the oboe's tessitura in the Classical era was somewhat broader than that found in Baroque works. The range for the Classical oboe extends from C4 to F6 (using the scientific pitch notation system), though some German and Austrian oboes are capable of playing one half-step lower. Classical-era composers who wrote concertos for oboe include Mozart (both the solo concerto in C major K. 314/285d and the lost original of Sinfonia Concertante in E♭ major K. 297b, as well as a fragment of F major concerto K. 417f), Haydn (both the Sinfonia Concertante in B♭ Hob. I:105 and the spurious concerto in C major Hob. VIIg:C1), Beethoven (the F major concerto, Hess 12, of which only sketches survive, though the second movement was reconstructed in the late 20th century), and numerous other composers including Johann Christian Bach, Johann Christian Fischer, Jan Antonín Koželuh, and Ludwig August Lebrun. Many solos exist for the regular oboe in chamber, symphonic, and operatic compositions from the Classical era.
The Wiener oboe (Viennese oboe) is a type of modern oboe that retains the essential bore and tonal characteristics of the historical oboe. The Akademiemodel Wiener Oboe, first developed in the late 19th century by Josef Hajek from earlier instruments by C. T. Golde of Dresden (1803–73), is now made by several makers such as André Constantinides, Karl Rado, Guntram Wolf, Christian Rauch and Yamaha. It has a wider internal bore, a shorter and broader reed and the fingering-system is very different than the conservatoire oboe.In The Oboe, Geoffrey Burgess and Bruce Haynes write "The differences are most clearly marked in the middle register, which is reedier and more pungent, and the upper register, which is richer in harmonics on the Viennese oboe". Guntram Wolf describes them: "From the concept of the bore, the Viennese oboe is the last representative of the historical oboes, adapted for the louder, larger orchestra, and fitted with an extensive mechanism. Its great advantage is the ease of speaking, even in the lowest register. It can be played very expressively and blends well with other instruments." The Viennese oboe is, along with the Vienna horn, perhaps the most distinctive member of the Wiener Philharmoniker instrumentarium.
This oboe was developed further in the 19th century by the Triébert family of Paris. Using the Boehm flute as a source of ideas for key work, Guillaume Triébert and his sons, Charles and Frederic, devised a series of increasingly complex yet functional key systems. A variant form using large tone holes, the Boehm system oboe, was never in common use, though it was used in some military bands in Europe into the 20th century. F. Lorée of Paris made further developments to the modern instrument. Minor improvements to the bore and key work have continued through the 20th century, but there has been no fundamental change to the general characteristics of the instrument for several decades.
The modern standard oboe is most commonly made from grenadilla, also known as African blackwood, though some manufacturers also make oboes out of other members of the genus Dalbergia , which includes cocobolo, rosewood, and violetwood (also known as kingwood). Ebony (genus Diospyros) has also been used. Student model oboes are often made from plastic resin, to avoid instrument cracking to which wood instruments are prone, but also to make the instrument more economical. The oboe has an extremely narrow conical bore. It is played with a double reed consisting of two thin blades of cane tied together on a small-diameter metal tube (staple) which is inserted into the reed socket at the top of the instrument. The commonly accepted range for the oboe extends from B♭3 to about G6, over two and a half octaves, though its common tessitura lies from C4 to E♭6. Some student oboes only extend down to B3 (the key for B♭ is not present).
A modern oboe with the "full conservatoire" ("conservatory" in the US) or Gillet key system has 45 pieces of keywork, with the possible additions of a third-octave key and alternate (left little finger) F- or C-key. The keys are usually made of nickel silver, and are silver- or occasionally gold-plated. Besides the full conservatoire system, oboes are also made using the British thumbplate system. Most have "semi-automatic" octave keys, in which the second-octave action closes the first, and some have a fully automatic octave key system, as used on saxophones. Some full-conservatory oboes have finger holes covered with rings rather than plates ("open-holed"), and most of the professional models have at least the right-hand third key open-holed. Professional oboes used in the UK and Iceland frequently feature conservatoire system combined with a thumb plate. Releasing the thumb plate has the same effect as pressing down the right-hand index-finger key. This produces alternate options which eliminate the necessity for most of the common cross-intervals (intervals where two or more keys need to be released and pressed down simultaneously), but cross intervals are much more difficult to execute in such a way that the sound remains clear and continuous throughout the frequency change (a quality also called legato and often called-for in the oboe repertoire).
The standard oboe has several siblings of various sizes and playing ranges. The most widely known and used today is the cor anglais (English horn) the tenor (or alto) member of the family. A transposing instrument; it is pitched in F, a perfect fifth lower than the oboe. The oboe d'amore, the alto (or mezzo-soprano) member of the family, is pitched in A, a minor third lower than the oboe. J.S. Bach made extensive use of both the oboe d'amore as well as the taille and oboe da caccia, Baroque antecedents of the cor anglais. Even less common is the bass oboe (also called baritone oboe), which sounds one octave lower than the oboe. Delius, Strauss and Holst scored for the instrument. ♭ or F above the oboe), and the contrabass oboe (typically pitched in C, two octaves deeper than the standard oboe).Similar to the bass oboe is the more powerful heckelphone, which has a wider bore and larger tone than the baritone oboe. Only 165 heckelphones have ever been made. Not surprisingly, competent heckelphone players are difficult to find due to the extreme rarity of this particular instrument. The least common of all are the musette (also called oboe musette or piccolo oboe), the sopranino member of the family (it is usually pitched in E
Folk versions of the oboe, sometimes equipped with extensive keywork, are found throughout Europe. These include the musette (France) and the piston oboe and bombarde (Brittany), the piffero and ciaramella (Italy), and the xirimia (also spelled chirimia) (Spain). Many of these are played in tandem with local forms of bagpipe, particularly with the Italian müsa and zampogna or Breton biniou.
The oboe remains uncommon in jazz music, but there have been notable uses of the instrument. Some early bands in the 1920s and '30s, most notably that of Paul Whiteman, included it for coloristic purposes. The multi-instrumentalist Garvin Bushell (1902–1991) played the oboe in jazz bands as early as 1924 and used the instrument throughout his career, eventually recording with John Coltrane in 1961.Gil Evans featured oboe in sections of his famous Sketches of Spain collaboration with trumpeter Miles Davis. Though primarily a tenor saxophone and flute player, Yusef Lateef was among the first (in 1961) to use the oboe as a solo instrument in modern jazz performances and recordings. Composer and double bassist Charles Mingus gave the oboe a brief but prominent role (played by Dick Hafer) in his composition "I.X. Love" on the 1963 album Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus .
With the birth of jazz fusion in the late 1960s, and its continuous development through the following decade, the oboe became somewhat more prominent, replacing on some occasions the saxophone as the focal point. The oboe was used with great success by the Welsh multi-instrumentalist Karl Jenkins in his work with the groups Nucleus and Soft Machine, and by the American woodwind player Paul McCandless, co-founder of the Paul Winter Consort and later Oregon.
The 1980s saw an increasing number of oboists try their hand at non-classical work, and many players of note have recorded and performed alternative music on oboe. Some present-day jazz groups influenced by classical music, such as the Maria Schneider Orchestra, feature the oboe.
Indie singer-songwriter and composer Sufjan Stevens, having studied the instrument in school, often includes the instrument in his arrangements and compositions, most frequently in his geographic tone-poems Illinois , Michigan .
The oboe is frequently featured in film music, often to underscore a particularly poignant or sad scene, for example in the motion picture Born on the Fourth of July . One of the most prominent uses of the oboe in a film score is Ennio Morricone's "Gabriel's Oboe" theme from the 1986 film The Mission .
It is featured as a solo instrument in the theme "Across the Stars" from the John Williams score to Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones .
The oboe is also featured as a solo instrument in the "Love Theme" in Nino Rota's score to The Godfather .
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family, which has a tenor and bass sound. It is composed of six pieces, and is usually made of wood or synthetic plastic. It is known for its distinctive tone color, wide range, versatility, and virtuosity. It is a non-transposing instrument and typically its music is written in the bass and tenor clefs, and sometimes in the treble. There are two forms of modern bassoon: the Buffet and Heckel systems. It is typically played while sitting using a seat strap, but can be played while standing if the player has a harness to hold the instrument. Sound is produced by rolling both lips over the reed and blowing direct air pressure to cause the reed to vibrate. Its fingering system can be quite complex when compared to those of other instruments. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band, and chamber music literature, and is occasionally heard in pop, rock, and jazz settings as well. One who plays a bassoon is called a bassoonist.
The clarinet is a family of woodwind instruments. It has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight, cylindrical tube with an almost cylindrical bore, and a flared bell. A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist.
The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument's body. The pitch is controlled by opening and closing holes in the body to change the effective length of the tube. The holes are closed by leather pads attached to keys operated by the player. Saxophones are made in various sizes and are almost always treated as transposing instruments. Saxophone players are called saxophonists.
A reed is a thin strip of material that vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. Most woodwind instrument reeds are made from Arundo donax or synthetic material. Tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics. Musical instruments are classified according to the type and number of reeds.
The cor anglais, or English horn in North America, is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. It is approximately one and a half times the length of an oboe.
The shawm is a conical bore, double-reed woodwind instrument made in Europe from the 12th century to the present day. It achieved its peak of popularity during the medieval and Renaissance periods, after which it was gradually eclipsed by the oboe family of descendant instruments in classical music. It is likely to have come to Western Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the Crusades. Double-reed instruments similar to the shawm were long present in Southern Europe and the East, for instance the ancient Greek, and later Byzantine, aulos, the Persian sorna, and the Armenian duduk.
The contrabassoon, also known as the double bassoon, is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower. Its technique is similar to its smaller cousin, with a few notable differences.
The heckelphone is a musical instrument invented by Wilhelm Heckel and his sons. The idea to create the instrument was initiated by Richard Wagner, who suggested at the occasion of a visit of Wilhelm Heckel in 1879. Introduced in 1904, it is similar to the oboe but, like the bass oboe, pitched an octave lower; the heckelphone having a significantly larger bore.
Léon Jean Goossens, CBE, FRCM was an English oboist.
The contrabass clarinet and contra-alto clarinet are the two largest members of the clarinet family that are in common usage. Modern contrabass clarinets are pitched in B♭, sounding two octaves lower than the common B♭ soprano clarinet and one octave lower than the B♭ bass clarinet. Some contrabass clarinet models have a range extending down to low (written) E♭, while others can play down to low D or further to low C. This range, C(3) – E(6), sounds B♭(0) – D(4). Some early instruments were pitched in C; Arnold Schoenberg's Fünf Orchesterstücke specifies a contrabass clarinet in A, but there is no evidence of such an instrument ever having existed.
The oboe d'amore, less commonly hautbois d'amour, is a double reed woodwind musical instrument in the oboe family. Slightly larger than the oboe, it has a less assertive and a more tranquil and serene tone, and is considered the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family, between the oboe (soprano) and the cor anglais, or English horn (alto). It is a transposing instrument, sounding a minor third lower than it is notated, i.e. in A. The bell is pear-shaped and the instrument uses a bocal, similar to but shorter than that of the cor anglais.
The bass oboe or baritone oboe is a double reed instrument in the woodwind family. It is about twice the size of a regular (soprano) oboe and sounds an octave lower; it has a deep, full tone somewhat akin to that of its higher-pitched cousin, the English horn. The bass oboe is notated in the treble clef, sounding one octave lower than written. Its lowest note is B2 (in scientific pitch notation), one octave and a semitone below middle C, although an extension may be inserted between the lower joint and bell of the instrument in order to produce a low B♭2. The instrument's bocal or crook first curves away from and then toward the player (unlike the bocal/crook of the English horn and oboe d'amore), looking rather like a flattened metal question mark; another crook design resembles the shape of a bass clarinet neckpiece. The bass oboe uses its own double reed, similar to but larger than that of the English horn.
Alvin Derald Etler was an American composer and oboist.
The alto clarinet is a woodwind instrument of the clarinet family. It is a transposing instrument pitched in the key of E♭, though instruments in F have been made. In size it lies between the soprano clarinet and the bass clarinet. It bears a greater resemblance to the bass clarinet in that it typically has a straight body, but a curved neck and bell made of metal. All-metal alto clarinets also exist. In appearance it strongly resembles the basset horn, but usually differs in three respects: it is pitched a whole step lower, it lacks an extended lower range, and it has a wider bore than many basset horns.
The piccolo oboe, also known as the piccoloboe and historically called an oboe musette, is the smallest and highest pitched member of the oboe family. Pitched in E♭ or F above the regular oboe, the piccolo oboe is a sopranino version of the oboe, comparable to the E♭ clarinet. It is most commonly found in early 20th-century marching band music, and the occasional rare chamber music ensembles or contemporary compositions.
The contrabass oboe is a double reed woodwind instrument in the key of C or F, sounding two octaves or an octave and a fifth (respectively) lower than the standard oboe.
The heckelphone-clarinet (or Heckelphon-Klarinette) is a rare woodwind instrument, invented in 1907 by Wilhelm Heckel in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Germany. Despite its name, it is essentially a wooden saxophone with wide conical bore, built of red-stained maple wood, overblowing the octave, and with clarinet-like fingerings. It has a single-reed mouthpiece attached to a short metal neck, similar to an alto clarinet. The heckelphone-clarinet is a transposing instrument in B♭ with sounding range of D3 (middle line of bass staff) to C6 (two ledger lines above the treble staff), written a whole tone higher. The instrument is not to be confused with the heckel-clarina, also a very rare conical bore single reed woodwind by Heckel but higher in pitch and made of metal, nor with the heckelphone, a double reed instrument lower in pitch.
Reed aerophones is one of the categories of musical instruments found in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification. In order to produce sound with these Aerophones the player's breath is directed against a lamella or pair of lamellae which periodically interrupt the airflow and cause the air to be set in motion.
Joseph-François Garnier was a French oboist and composer.
Jacob Hendrik "Jaap" Stotijn was a Dutch oboist. He was also active as a pianist and conductor. Jaap Stotijn has been credited as the founder of the Dutch school of oboe playing. "The Dutch style ... is the product of the distinctive reed-making and playing style of Jaap Stotijn." Contemporary oboists in this lineage include Han de Vries, Koen van Slogteren (nl), Peter Bree, Bart Schneemann, and the current principal oboe in Stotijn's orchestra, Pauline Oostenrijk (nl).
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