Oboe: history, video, interesting facts, listen

Musical Instrument: Oboe

The oboe is an amazing musical instrument of its kind, distinguished from other woodwinds with expressiveness and penetration of sound. That is why he is considered a "singing" rather than a virtuoso instrument. In terms of technical capabilities, it is in many ways inferior to the flute, but in terms of beauty and depth of sound, it has no equal.

The history of the oboe and many interesting facts about this musical instrument, read on our page.


The oboe timbre has a special and easily recognizable personality due to the warm and rich sound and unusual “nasal” hue, reminiscent of the sound of a shepherd's pipe. It is for these timbre features that composers in their scores trust him to voice idyllic, pastoral scenes or pictures of nature. Remember at least Tchaikovsky's operas and ballets! Music that allows you to reveal all the beauty of an oboe.

Range Instrument from B flat minor octave to the 3rd octave.

A photo:

Interesting Facts

  • The oboe is considered one of the most difficult wind instruments, since playing it requires special skill. And the whole thing is in the presence of a small two-petal cane (double tongue), thanks to which the sound is extracted on the instrument. The oboe cane is made from reed, and this process has many subtleties and tricks.
  • The quality and convenience of playing the instrument greatly depends on the quality of the cane. Most professional oboists make canes for themselves, and sometimes it takes more time than playing music.
  • In 1989, the oboe hit the Guinness Book of Records as the most sophisticated instrument.
  • There are myths that a lot of air pressure during a game can affect mental impairment and may even increase the risk of stroke. But this is not proven by medical research.
  • Thanks to a very small hole in the cane, on the oboe it is easy to use the method of permanent breathing. This is an opportunity to extract sounds for a very long time and continuously, breathing in through your nose and using the air in your cheeks to maintain uninterrupted playing of the instrument.
  • There are two types of valve systems - automatic, the most convenient, and semi-automatic, with which more opportunities to perform some tasks of modern works.
  • Jack Cosen Harel played "Flight of the Bumblebee" from the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" in 26.1 seconds, and hit the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest oboist.

Application and Repertoire

From the Baroque era, the oboe has become quite a popular solo instrument with composers who valued it for an expressive sound, quite similar to a human voice. A. Vivaldi, A. Marcello, G. Handel, I.S. Bach devoted many works to the instrument. But a special contribution to the repertoire was made by G.F. Telemann in the 18th century, composed 9 concerts for oboe with orchestra and 4 for oboe d'amour.


Composers of later epochs wrote solos for oboe. Only from Mozart, the instrument received a magnificent concert and a quartet for an oboe with a string trio. Also known works by Haydn, Strauss, Beethoven, Bellini, Saint-Saens, Poulenc and other composers.

Only in the period of romanticism did composers pay little attention to solo oboe, due to the popularity of the virtuoso violin and piano. However, in orchestral scores, oboe at all times occupied one of the central places.

Oboe is often used in modern music. French oboist Jean-Luc Fillon is a famous performer of improvisations in jazz and opens up new horizons for the instrument's sound. Yousef Latif and Paul McCandless also represent oboe in jazz.

In rock music, pop and metal, oboe is found in Peter Gabrielle, Art Garfunkel, Tanita Tikaram, rock band Roxy Music and metal band Finsterforst. In the movies, the most famous music in the tapes "Mission" and Star Wars. Episode II: Attack of the Clones


Alessandro Marcello - Concerto for oboe and strings in D minor (listen)

Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto for oboe and orchestra in A minor (listen)

I.S. Bach - Concerto in D minor for violin, oboe, strings and chembalo (listen)


The oboe consists of a conical tube, 65 cm long, divided into 3 parts: 2 knees and a bell. To change the pitch, holes are drilled, on modern oboes there are 23 of them, and they are closed with valves, which are 22-23. Mechanics are considered to be one of the most difficult instruments used in musical instruments. The main material for the valves is nickel silver, which is coated with alloys of silver, gold or nickel. Oboes are usually made from African ebony (grenadil), but sometimes exotic species of trees are used - violet or cocobolo. There are also models of pressed wood powder and plastic.

Oboe species include: piccolo (musette), d'amour, English horn, hakekelphone, and baroque instruments.

Oboe weight 700-900 grams.

Major manufacturers

  • Marigaux, Loree, Buffet Crampon, Fossati, Loree, Rigoutat, Strasser, Cabart (France)
  • Ludwig Frank, Püchner, Mönnig (Germany)
  • Patricola, Bulgheroni (Italy)
  • Yamaha, Josef (Japan)
  • Fox, Selmer (USA)


The origin of the musical instrument, known today as the oboe, dates back to 3000 BC. In Mesopotamia and ancient Babylon, the first illustrations were found. Also, archaeological finds prove that the art of playing instruments with a double cane was developed in ancient Egypt and Greece. The bible mentions an oboe ancestor called Khalil, which was used in temples.

In the Middle Ages, there were many similar tools in almost all countries — Pommer, Krummhorn, Bombard, Shalmey, and many others. And the first valves appeared on the baroque oboe. Thanks to master Jean de Otteter, the tool received 7 holes and 2 valves. Also for easy storage, the division into 3 parts: 2 elbows and a bell.

In the future, the oboe almost did not change, only a few valves were added. And only after the invention of the Böhm system in the 19th century and its application, with some changes, by the oboe masters (Guillaume Triber, Francois Lore), a modern instrument appeared.

Watch the video: Strange but True Facts of the Oboist (January 2020).


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