Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

Many people are not even aware of the existence of the oboe – an instrument of excellent sound. Despite its technical shortcomings, it greatly surpasses other spiritual instruments in its sonic expressiveness. In terms of aesthetics and depth of tonality, he occupies a leading position.

What is an oboe

The word “oboe” is translated from French as “high tree”. It is a woodwind musical instrument with an unsurpassed melodic, warm, slightly nasal timbre.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use


The tool consists of a hollow tube 65 cm in size, has three parts: the lower and upper knee, the bell. Due to this prefabricated design, there are no problems with transporting the tool. Side holes allow you to change the pitch, and the valve system provides an opportunity to improve this. Both reeds, similar to two fastened thin plates made of reed, give the timbre some characteristic nasality. Thanks to its unsurpassed significance, it justifies the complexity of its production.

The mechanics of the oboe is the most complex among its counterparts, as it requires the manufacture of 22-23 cupronickel valves. Usually they are made of African ebony, less often – purple.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

History of origin

The instrument was first mentioned in 3000 BC, but its earliest “brother” is considered to be a silver pipe found in the tomb of a Sumerian king about 4600 years ago. Later, our ancestors used the simplest reed instruments (bagpipes, zurna) – they were found in Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome. They already had two tubes for the direct performance of the melody and accompaniment. From the XNUMXth century, the oboe acquired a more perfect form and began to be used at balls, in orchestras by musicians of Louis XIV, the king of France.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use


There are several types of this wind instrument.

cor anglais

This term originated in the XNUMXth century due to an accidental distortion of the French word angle (angle). The cor anglais is larger than the oboe. It consists of: a bell, a curved metal tube. The fingering is completely the same, but the technical equipment is worse than its counterparts, so a certain roughness of the sound is noticeable with a soft sound.

Oboe d’amore

According to the composition, it resembles an English horn, but is inferior to it in size and capabilities. D’amore sounds more gentle, does not have a pronounced timbre, nasality, which is why it is more often used by composers in lyrical works. It first appeared in Germany in the middle of the XNUMXth century.


This instrument appeared in Germany in the early 1900s. Technically, it resembles an oboe, although there are differences: the large width of the scale, the bell; the cane is put on a straight tube; there is a lower sound of eight notes. Compared to analogues, the haeckelphone has a more melodious, expressive sound, but is rarely used by orchestras. And yet he happened to participate in such operas as Salome and Elektra.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

baroque family

This era brought enormous changes to the instrument. The first improvements began in the XNUMXth century in France, when the instrument was divided into three parts. Further, the reed was improved (the sound became cleaner), new valves appeared, the location of the holes was recalculated. These innovations were made by the court musicians Otteter and Philidor, and Jean Bagiste continued their work, creating a march for the orchestra at the court, which replaced the viols and recorders.

The oboe became popular with the military, and also gained fame among the noble public of Europe at balls, operas, and ensembles. Many leading composers, such as Bach, began to include some varieties of this musical instrument in their productions. From that moment began the time of its heyday, or the “golden age of the oboe”. Popular in 1600 were:

  • baroque oboe;
  • classical oboe;
  • baroque oboe d’amour;
  • musette;
  • dakaccha;
  • double bass oboe.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

Viennese oboe

This model appeared at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. It was created by Hermann Zuleger, and since then it has not changed much. Now the Viennese oboe is traditionally used in the Vienna Orchestra. Only two companies are engaged in its manufacture: Guntram Wolf and Yamaha.

modern family

The XNUMXth century was revolutionary for wind instruments, because ring valves were already created that made it possible to close a pair of holes at the same time and adapt them to different finger lengths. This innovation was first used by Theobald Böhm on the flute. Decades later, Guillaume Tribert adapted the innovation for the oboe, improving the movement and design. The innovation expanded the sound range and cleared the tonality of the instrument.

Now more and more often the sound of the oboe is heard in the chamber hall. It is often used solo and sometimes orchestral. The most popular, in addition to the types listed above, are: musette, classical oboe with a conical bell.

Oboe: description of the instrument, composition, sound, history, types, use

Related Instruments

Related instruments of the oboe are wind pipe-shaped instruments. This was due to the similarity of their mechanism and sound. These include both academic and folk samples. The flute and clarinet are the most popular among musicians.


To play something on the instrument, you need to do a number of operations:

  1. Soak the cane in water to remove saliva, do not overdo it.
  2. Dry it from the remnants of water, it will be enough to blow a few times. Insert the reed into the main section of the instrument.
  3. Place the tip of the instrument on the center of the lower lip, remembering to stand in the correct, stable position.
  4. Put your tongue to the hole of the tip, then blow. If you hear a high-pitched sound, then everything is done correctly.
  5. Place the cane in the upper section where the left hand is located. Use your index and middle fingers to pinch the first valves while the first should wrap around the tube from behind.
  6. After the Play, you should disassemble, clean the entire structure, and then put it in a case.

The modern oboe has not yet reached the peak of its glory due to the difficulty of using it. But the development of this musical instrument continues. There is hope that soon he will be able to outshine all his other brothers with his sound.

Гобой: не совсем кларнет. Лекция Георгия Федорова

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