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The oboe


Modern oboe
Tessitura B2 - F5

A generic term, the oboe is a woodwind musical instrument of the woodwind family of conical bore, the sound is created by a vibrating reed in double passage of breath. Its tone can be powerful and sound and sweet and charming, clear, nasal or full of roundness and warmth.

Known since antiquity, the instrument has evolved in space and time with a diversity that is matched only by the creativity of civilizations and cultures where this instrument is still in use today. The traditional oboe (bombard, bagpipe, duduk, gaiety, and other hichiriki zurna) and modern oboe (bagpipe, oboe, oboe d'amore, English horn and oboe, baritone oboe, Baroque , oboe classical ) form a large family with many facets .

Used solo, concert music, chamber music, symphony orchestra or band oboe, oboe modern means to the orchestra the whole family. According Héctor Berlioz , "the oboe is primarily a melodic instrument and has a rustic character, full of tenderness, I would even say shy. The candor, the simple grace, sweet joy or pain of a weak, agree to the strains of the oboe: it expresses perfectly into the cantabile. "

Works for oboe directories are primarily from Baroque (Johann Sebastian Bach's ) and classical (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ) and the renaissance of the XIXth century ( Robert Schumann ) to today ( Nicolas Bacri ).

Evolution of the oboe in Europe

Shawms Renaissance

From the XIIth century, observing illuminations and miniatures monastic manuscripts, tapestries, sculptures and paintings as representations of different oboes are not lacking, gives a fair idea of the instruments played in the circumstances and periods (the bagpipes of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, for example).

Available in consort (top, high-cons, size, low ...) the shawm, oboe, also called old, turned in one piece, especially of large bore flag, give birth to the disc, the krumhorns, or to Ciaramelli pifferi to Italian to Spanish dulzaina or grails, but also to bombard, oboe oboe or other Poitou Languedoc € | The oboe is also part of the bagpipe, the bagpipes, the Veuze or playing the bagpipes Deals melody .

The birth of the Baroque oboe

Dance of the Nymphs (detail), Gobelins, 1687

In France, shawms krumhorns and are part of the musical world of the royal court until the holiday village; oboe Poitou distracted evenings of King Louis XI, the bagpipes are dancing peasants.

From 1650, families Hotteterre and Philidor, instrument makers , composers, virtuoso musicians, members of the "Music House & the Great Stables of Roy, will move to the instrument, breaking it into three parts (upper body, lower body and flag), refining the bore, the adjusting hole notes, adding a key of C major W-shaped (for alternating the position of the hands) and a key of E flat. Permanently withdrawing the "spins" and "capsules" they impose controls performed with the reed lips to express all the subtleties of sound (Revolutionary difference with all other instruments of the family). They are considered the creators of the baroque oboe.

Method for learning to play the High Wood by Jacques Hotteterre, 1719

In 1664, Jean-Baptiste Lully , Superintendent of the Court, wrote a march for the new oboe, and include it in "La Grande Ecurie du Roy" Louis XIV, an institution dating back to Francis 1, phasing out the desks of the older instruments ( krumhorns, recorder, theorbo, viola da gamba, spruce ...). Available in several sizes, they are also entering the music of the musketeers, and therefore, with the bassoons, take off in Europe. If the oboe bands (especially military) are appreciated, the instrument is needed especially in the fledgling symphony orchestra, accompanying festivals, operas, ballets court, oratorios, cantatas. He triumphed as a soloist, sonatas, concertos and in chamber music.

All the composers of the Baroque will write these oboe, oboe d'amore, hunting (da caccia), English horn, oboe and oboe sizes baritones (rarer, but some who already in 1680, the shape of the saxophone !). The XVIIIth century will truly be the golden age of the oboe.

The Classical oboe

The oboe in the classical period, the mid-XVIIIth century and early XIXth century, does not vary much from its predecessor. To simplify the fingering, especially the "forks" and trills, to increase the range (up to cons-fa) with very empirical research, the keys become progressively more numerous (C # major, F, G # Key ' octave ), but overall, the shape and the bore remained relatively unchanged. It is not uncommon that the keys are added long after the manufacture of the instrument.

The modern oboe

In the early XIXth century, the manufacture of instruments of the woodwind family undergoes a revolution fundamental : Theobald Boehm invented the flute a key system and trays to fill the various holes. The hole diameter is no longer dependent on the width of the fingers and a tray can control the opening or closing of several holes. A system of rotating rod, fitted with springs or flat to another, allows to activate the plugging of holes out of reach.

For oboe after some tinkering, this is William and his son Charles Triébert Louis (professor of oboe at the Conservatoire de Paris) and Frederick, who adapt, refine and evolve the mechanism, also rethinking the bore. Their successors, François and Lucien Lorée, manufacturing model "Conservatory" with plates that will be quickly adopted by all oboists.

A wood

The first oboe were grass (reed, bamboo ...), using the natural hollow of the pipe (see hichiriki music Gagaku Japanese). Although some traditional instruments are still made today in these ephemeral materials, very quickly the need for a stronger material, persisting became evident. The factors looked for the hardest woods, high density, with regular and fine fibers as essentially the box but the cherry (wild cherry), rosewood (rosewood) or pear. Some Baroque oboes were even turned ivory.

In the XIXth century, the addition of keys and the multiplicity of holes has imposed the most resistant wood: ebony, specifically cocobolo or Dalbergia melanoxylon. Currently, ebony still dominates, but the exotic woods like cocobolo or rosewood bring new sounds and sensations to the oboe. Some factors have even built oboe metal or plexiglas (Marigaux). Last technological change, Buffet Crampon manufactures its tools "Green Line": the most modern composite material, patented, consisting of 95% of ebony powder, 5% carbon fiber and epoxy resin.

Model conservatory

Oboe d'amore, English horn, 3 oboes, oboe, baritone, bagpipes, oboe Study 2

The bore, 4mm at the base of the reed tube goes to 16mm at the end of the lower body (either 480mm), then widens to 38mm at the base of the flag (at 110mm).

Some 23 holes, concealed by a complex keywork made of nickel silver (alloy of copper, nickel and zinc), often shaped by hand, fitted, sanded, polished, welded, or even silver foil, flat springs or needle, attached to a pivoting rod fifties balls screwed into the wood, 6 plates / rings and a score of keys / paddles to open and close these holes ... While this mechanism allows the hundreds of fingering notes, trills and multiple sounds possible on a modern oboe.

The Viennese oboe

Viennese oboe

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra uses an oboe designed at the beginning of the XXth century by Hermann Zuleger and remained without significant change until now. It is characterized by a bore, a keywork and a special reed that give it the proper color to the orchestra. The Akademiemodel is only used in Vienna and differs markedly from the French oboe used elsewhere. It is produced by very few factors, Guntram Wolf and Yamaha.

The modern family

  • musette (or piccolo oboe) in E or F (minor third or perfect fourth higher), conical horn
  • the oboe in C, soprano, conical horn
  • oboe d'amore the (minor third lower), mezzo-soprano, small jar bent flag piriformis
  • the English horn in F (perfect fifth lower), viola, jar bent flag piriformis
  • baritone oboe (octave lower), called "bass oboe" by the English, should be called oboe tenor; S-shaped jar, its flag is sometimes pyriform upward
  • Heckelphone the same range as the baritone oboe, other bills

The reed

Modern oboe reed

An oboe reed is made from two thin strips of reed ligated on a pipe. It was she who requested the breath, begins to vibrate, thereby producing the sound.

Most often made by oboists themselves, the reeds must be adapted to the breath (the speed and volume of air), at the mouth (shape of teeth and lips), pressure of the jaw, temperature, humidity and even barometric pressure.

The reed, chosen for its very fine fibers and flexibility without softness, is dried, cut, split, gouged and cut, folded to be ligated to a tube with a nylon thread. Then began the delicate operation: the "scratching". After separating the two strips must shave or finely shredding the end using a knife or a razor. To vibrate, the thickness and shape of the scratch must be precise.

(Source: - copyright authors - article under GFDL)

Creation date : 10/02/2009 16:34
Category : Files - Instruments-Woods
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