Oboe (from fr. Hautbois, literally “tall tree”, English, German and Italian. Oboe) is a woodwind musical instrument of the soprano register of the symphony orchestra, which is a conical tube with a valve system and a double cane (tongue). Oboe acquired a modern look in the first half of the 18th century. The instrument has a melodious, but somewhat nasal, and in the upper register – a sharp timbre.
The oboe can also be a member of a brass band, in various chamber ensembles. By the sound of “la” oboe, an orchestra is tuned.
Oboe device is complicated. The sound in it occurs as a result of the vibration of two connected reed plates, called a cane, which is mounted on a metal tube – a pin and tightly tied with a thread. The diameter of the pin and the size of the reed plates affect the structure of the instrument, its timbre and sound quality. The cane is the “vocal cords” of the instrument. By itself, it does not produce any musical sounds. If you “play” on only one cane, you get only an unpleasant squeak. However, when the cane is connected to the instrument, these sounds acquire a full-fledged juicy oboe timbre. The tool barrel (made of African ebony) consists of 3 knees connected together, forming a straight and narrow conical tube with a small socket. There are 25 game holes on the barrel channel, 22-24 of which are closed by valves. A complex system of transmission axes of the modern oboe mechanism allows you to open and close valves located at any distance from the fingers of the performer.
Instruments that are considered the direct predecessors of the modern oboe are known from antiquity and have been preserved in their original form in different cultures. Folk instruments such as the bombardment, bagpipes, duduks, guitars, hitiriki, zurna along with instruments of the New Age (musette, actually oboe, oboe d’amur, English horn, baritone oboe, baroque oboe) make up the vast family of this instrument.
Double cane wind instruments have been known since antiquity. This is evidenced, for example, by a silver pair of flute, found in the tomb of the Sumerian king, who lived 4600 years ago in the ancient city of Ur in the Euphrates River Delta. Tools of the same design were known in ancient Egypt. In ancient Greece, avlos, a tool reminiscent of a modern oboe, was popular. His images are often found on clay vases. Without this truly folk instrument, not a single feast and theatrical performance took place. In ancient Rome, Avlos received the Latin name “Tibia”.
The oboe invention belongs to the second half of the 17th century. and ascribe this to the French masters M. Filidor and J. Otteter. Oboes were first used in the ballet The Big Cupid by J. B. Lully in 1657, and after that they began to be widely used in the orchestra. The creation of the first solo and chamber works for oboe dates back to the same time. In his youth, he was very fond of playing the oboe G.F. Handel. As an eleven-year-old boy, he composed 6 trio sonatas for two oboes and harpsichord. Composers of the past and present widely used the oboe in their work.
The musical images created by the oboe are diverse. He is best able to express lyrical moods, simple, pure feelings, tender love, Submissive complaint, bitter suffering. He takes part in heroic, warlike, tragic, saturated with pathos and drama moments. Clarity and sonority in sound production on the oboe helps in the transfer of carefree fun, sharp jokes, ridicule, grace. It is widely known as an oboe as a pastoral instrument that recreates musical pictures of nature and rural life.
A kind of oboe is an English horn. It sounds slightly lower than the oboe, its timbre is a bit nasal, “duck”. Such a timbre, for example, was chosen by S. S. Prokofiev for the depiction of a duck in the symphonic fairy tale “Peter and the Wolf”. If the oboe can be compared with the singing voice of a soprano, then the English horn is like a mezzo-soprano. The English horn in the orchestra is usually charged with solo episodes – monologues, reflections, pastorals.
Oboe is used as a solo instrument in chamber music and a symphony orchestra.
The oboe’s repertoire is based on the works of the Baroque era (works by Bach and his contemporaries) and classicism (Mozart). Less often performed are the works of romantic composers (Schumann) and contemporary composers.
Tubes with single or double tongues are known, apparently, from ancient times. The oldest surviving instruments of this type are two silver pipes found in the Sumerian royal cemetery in Ur and dating to 2800 BC. These tubes formed a pair and had double tongues. Later, similar tubes made of metal, wood or bone appeared in Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, India and the Far East. The main wind instrument in Ancient Greece was Avlos (the ancient Roman name is Tibia), often incorrectly called a flute.