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Oboe - Musical Instrument
The Oboe is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. It is a descendant of the shawm. The word "oboe" is derived from the French word hautbois, meaning "high woods". It so-named because of the instrument's rather high and reedy sound. A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist.

Compared to woodwind instruments such as the flute or clarinet, the oboe is very difficult to play and produce a good sound on. Amateur players often produce an unpleasant down right earÉÑ, out-of-tune strident tone that blends badly with other instruments. It was the main melody instrument in military bands before it was ousted by the clarinet.

The oboe has a very penetrating tone which can be heard through other sounds on the concert platform. Because of this, and the fact that its reference pitch cannot be adjusted once the reed is in place in the instrument, it is widely called upon to set the pitch for orchestras, usually by playing concert A (nowadays 440Hz in most orchestras).

The oboe first appeared in French courts around 1650.In the 17th century Jean Hotteterre and Michel Danican Philidor modified the shawm, so that the new oboe had a narrower bore and a reed which is held by the player's lips near the end. Henry Purcell was the first composer to specifically score for it. Careful manipulation of pressure on the reed allows the player to express a huge range of emotions and moods.

The oboe is most commonly made from grenadilla (or African blackwood), but some manufacturers also make oboes out of other members of the dalbergia family of wood (rosewood; violetwood), or even high-quality plastic resin. The oboe has an extremely narrow conical bore, and double reed mouthpiece consisting of two thin blades of cane tied together on a small-diameter metal tube. This setup leads to overblowing at the octave (compared to the clarinet, which overblows a twelfth). The commonly accepted range for the oboe extends from Bb3 to A6, nearly three octaves. Together with the flute/recorder it is one of the oldest woodwind instruments.

The oboe has several sibling instruments. The most widely known today is the cor anglais (English Horn), which evolved from the Baroque oboe da caccia. Both are pitched a perfect fifth lower than the standard oboe. The oboe d'amore, also popular during the Baroque period, is pitched a minor third lower than the oboe. Johann Sebastian Bach used the oboe d'amore extensively. Even less common is the baritone or bass oboe, which sounds an octave lower than the regular oboe. Delius and Holst both scored for it, but today it is almost a museum piece. Instead, the more powerful heckelphone is used.

Long-term professional oboe playing has been claimed to be linked to brain damage because of the allegedly too high air pressure required for playing; in all likelihood this is no more than an urban legend.

Some works featuring the oboe

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Oboe Concerto in C major
Alessandro Marcello, Oboe Concerto in D minor
Antonio Vivaldi, Oboe Concerti
Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concertos nos. 1 and 2
Tomaso Albinoni, Oboe Concertos
George Frideric Handel, The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Richard Strauss, Oboe concerto
Jazz and Improvised Music

While oboe is rather rare in jazz and free improvisation, there are a few notable players.

Though primarily a tenor saxophone player, Yusef Lateef was among the first and remains, arguably, the preeminent jazz oboeist.

Other performers include:

Lindsay Cooper
Roland Kirk
Paul McCandless
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