Wind Instrument

The oboe is a woodwind instrument blown through a double reed and with a compass from the Bb below middle C upwards for over 2 1/2 octaves. Standard orchestra instrument, also in chamber music and military bands. It is the note A sounded on the oboe to which the rest of the orchestra tune their instruments. Many concertos have been written for its solo use, e.g. by Vivaldi, Albinoni, R. Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Martinau, etc. Derives from the shawm and the curtal. Known in France and England in the 17th century as hautbois and hautboy. There also exists:

Oboe da caccia: obsolete predecessor of cor anglais (English Horn).

Oboe d'amore: pitched a minor 3rd below normal oboe. Has pear-shaped bell, which gives it its mellow and individual tone-colour, and is midway in size between oboe and cor anglais. Was favoured by Bach, but subsequently neglected. In 20th century, has been used by R. Strauss in Symphonia Domestica, Holst in Somerset Rhapsody, Ravel in Bolero, Janacek in several works, including operas, and John McCabe has written a concerto for it (1972).

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