Facts About the Oboe

By Regina Sass

The oboe is related to the English horn and is descended from the horn shepherds used for thousands of years. The pitch falls in between that of the flute and the English horn, and it is tuned in the key of C.

Classification

The oboe is a member of the woodwind family along with clarinets, bassoons, flutes, piccolos and saxophones.

Types

There are four types of oboes - baroque, classical, Viennese and modern, each one with a different tone and/or range.

History

The oboe is descended from an instrument known as the shawm that dates from about 2800 B.C. It was introduced to the French courts in the mid-17th century and became part of classical orchestras in the beginning of the 18th century.

Features

The oboe is a double reed instrument with eight keys and a range of a little over three octaves.

Materials

Oboes are usually made of wood and the type of wood dictates the color - black, red or brown. Metal oboes are used in marching bands.