Have you ever heard that oboe reeds are a headache? If you have met any oboists you'll understand. Every single reed plays differently than the others and one that may not play well for one oboist might be a really great reed for someone else! Do you see what I mean? But despite that fact the Oboe is a very beautiful intsrument.
This type of reed is classified as a double reed because there are two blades of cane tied together so that the oboist can blow through.
The English Horn and the Basson are examples of other double reed intruments.
There are several different ways to make an oboe reed because there are several different sounds that oboists will play.
The main sounds are the German, the French and the American. Each one is different because of the way the oboe reed is scraped while it is being made. The sound is different because of the reed not the type of oboe. Except for the German oboes which are made slightly different than other oboes.
Staple - Cane - Finished Reed
First the cane is soaked in water. Then it is bent in half over the staple.
Then you take the thread and wrap it tightly so that there are no gaps between the cane that is folded in half.
The whole time the reed is kept wet by soaking it in water to keep it from being brittle.
After that it is scraped down and then the very tip is cut off making the reed a double reed! Once that is done it is scraped down to whatever hardness the oboist wants.
And then it is finished!
The American reed has a special way of being made. The end of the reed, the part you put in your mouth, is called the tip. Right below that is what is called the heart. It is the thickest part of the reed. And below that are the windows which have a spine down the center.
The American Oboe Reed
The oboe was invented in the 1700's by a bagpiper in the French Court. It was really a remake of the Shawm. Originally the oboe was called the hautbois which is French for "high wood".
At the beginning there were no keys on the oboe, but throughout the years they have added more and more. Now a modern full conservatory oboe has 45 pieces of keywork.
One of the interesting things about the oboe is its shape. It is 21 inches long which is about the same length as the clarinet. But one of the things that makes it sound different is that it has a conical bore which means that it is smaller at the top than at the bottom.
There are six other members of the Oboe family.
There are so many jokes told about the oboe. The other orchestra members sure have fun telling jokes about the oboists. They call the oboists ducks! (Peter and the Wolf didn't help that much!)
Sometimes it can be very hard to get 2 oboes perfectly in tune so sometimes it is easier to just get rid of one oboe :)
Oboist are known for their perfectionism with their reeds. Which makes this joke half true and entirely funny :)
Oboe Reed Making Supplies and Other Things Oboists Use.
Gabriels Oboe is a piece that was written by Ennio Morricone for the film The Mission. It is such a beautiful Oboe solo. Years later Sarah Brightman had words put to the tune and the song is called Nella Fantasia.
The video below is of Ennio Morricone himself conducting with Yeon-Hee Kwak playing the Oboe.