The French horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B♭ is the horn most used by players in professional orchestras and bands. A musician who plays a French horn is known as hornist. Pitch is controlled through the combination of the following factors: speed of air through the instrument. Most horns have lever-operated rotary valves, but some older horns, use piston valves and the Vienna horn uses double-piston valves, or pumpenvalves; the backward-facing orientation of the bell relates to the perceived desirability to create a subdued sound in concert situations, in contrast to the more piercing quality of the trumpet. A horn without valves is known as a natural horn, changing pitch along the natural harmonics of the instrument. Pitch may be controlled by the position of the hand in the bell, in effect reducing the bell's diameter; the pitch of any note can be raised or lowered by adjusting the hand position in the bell. The key of a natural horn can be changed by adding different crooks of different lengths.
Three valves control the flow of air in the single horn, tuned to F or less B♭. The more common double horn has a fourth, trigger valve operated by the thumb, which routes the air to one set of tubing tuned to F or another tuned to B♭ which expands the horn range to over four octaves and blends with flutes or clarinets in a woodwind ensemble. Triple horns with five valves are made tuned in F, B♭, a descant E♭ or F. There are double horns with five valves tuned in B♭, descant E♭ or F, a stopping valve, which simplifies the complicated and difficult hand-stopping technique, though these are rarer. Common are descant doubles, which provide B♭ and alto F branches. A crucial element in playing the horn deals with the mouthpiece. Most of the time, the mouthpiece is placed in the exact center of the lips, because of differences in the formation of the lips and teeth of different players, some tend to play with the mouthpiece off center. Although the exact side-to-side placement of the mouthpiece varies for most horn players, the up-and-down placement of the mouthpiece is two-thirds on the upper lip and one-third on the lower lip.
When playing higher notes, the majority of players exert a small degree of additional pressure on the lips using the mouthpiece. However, this is undesirable from the perspective of both endurance and tone: excessive mouthpiece pressure makes the horn sound forced and harsh, decreases player's stamina due to the resulting constricted flow of blood to the lips and lip muscles; the name "French horn" is found only in first coming into use in the late 17th century. At that time, French makers were preeminent in the manufacture of hunting horns, were credited with creating the now-familiar, circular "hoop" shape of the instrument; as a result, these instruments were called in English, by their French names: trompe de chasse or cor de chasse. German makers first devised crooks to make such horns playable in different keys—so musicians came to use "French" and "German" to distinguish the simple hunting horn from the newer horn with crooks, which in England was called by the Italian name corno cromatico.
More "French horn" is used colloquially, though the adjective has been avoided when referring to the European orchestral horn since the German horn began replacing the French-style instrument in British orchestras around 1930. The International Horn Society has recommended since 1971 that the instrument be called the horn. There is a more specific use of "French horn" to describe a particular horn type, differentiated from the German horn and Vienna horn. In this sense, "French horn" refers to a narrow-bore instrument with three Périnet valves, it retains the narrow bell-throat and mouthpipe crooks of the orchestral hand horn of the late 18th century, most has an "ascending" third valve. This is a whole-tone valve arranged so that with the valve in the "up" position the valve loop is engaged, but when the valve is pressed the loop is cut out, raising the pitch by a whole tone; as the name indicates, humans used to blow on the actual horns of animals before starting to emulate them in metal. This original usage survives in the shofar, a ram's horn, which plays an important role in Jewish religious rituals.
Early metal horns were less complex than modern horns, consisting of brass tubes with a flared opening wound around a few times. These early "hunting" horns were played on a hunt while mounted, the sound they produced was called a recheat. Change of pitch was controlled by the lips. Without valves, only the notes within the harmonic series are available. By combining a long length with a narrow bore, the French horn's design allows the player to reach the higher overtones which differ by whole tones, thus making it capable of playing melodies before valves were invented. Early horns were pitched in B♭ alto, A, A♭, G, F, E, E♭, D, C, B♭ basso
Timpani or kettledrums are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum categorised as a semispherical drum, they consist of a membrane called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. Most modern timpani are pedal timpani and can be tuned and to specific pitches by skilled players through the use of a movable foot-pedal, they are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of ensembles, including concert bands, marching bands, in some rock bands. Timpani is an Italian plural, the singular of, timpano. However, in English the term timpano is only in use by practitioners: several are more referred to collectively as kettledrums, temple drums, timp-toms, or timps, they are often incorrectly termed timpanis. A musician who plays timpani is a timpanist.
First attested in English in the late 19th century, the Italian word timpani derives from the Latin tympanum, the latinisation of the Greek word τύμπανον, "a hand drum", which in turn derives from the verb τύπτω, meaning "to strike, to hit". Alternative spellings with y in place of either or both i's—tympani, tympany, or timpany—are encountered in older English texts. Although the word timpani has been adopted in the English language, some English speakers choose to use the word kettledrums; the German word for timpani is Pauken. The Ashanti pair of talking drums are known as atumpan; the tympanum is defined in the Etymologiae of St. Isidore of Seville: Tympanum est pellis vel corium ligno ex una parte extentum. Est enim pars media symphoniae in similitudinem cribri. Tympanum autem dictum quod medium est. Unde, et margaritum ipsum ut symphonia ad virgulam percutitur; the tympanum is hide stretched over a hollow wooden vessel which extends out. It is said by the symphonias to resemble a sieve, but has been likened to half a pearl.
It is struck with beating time for the symphonia. The reference comparing the tympanum to half a pearl is borrowed from Pliny the Elder; the basic timpano consists of a drum head stretched across the opening of a bowl made of copper or, in less expensive models, fiberglass or aluminum. In the Sachs–Hornbostel classification, this makes timpani membranophones; the head is affixed to a hoop. The counter hoop is held in place with a number of tuning screws called tension rods placed around the circumference; the head's tension can be adjusted by tightening the rods. Most timpani have six to eight tension rods; the shape and material of the bowl's surface help to determine the drum's timbre. For example, hemispheric bowls produce brighter tones. Modern timpani are made with copper due to its efficient regulation of internal and external temperatures relative to aluminum and fiberglass. Timpani come in a variety of sizes from about 33 inches in diameter down to piccoli timpani of 12 inches or less. A 33-inch drum can produce C2, specialty piccoli timpani can play up into the treble clef.
In Darius Milhaud's 1923 ballet score La création du monde, the timpanist must play F♯4. Each drum has a range of a perfect fifth, or seven semitones. Changing the pitch of a timpani by turning each tension rod individually is a laborious process. In the late 19th century, mechanical systems to change the tension of the entire head at once were developed. Any timpani equipped with such a system may be considered machine timpani, although this term refers to drums that use a handle connected to a spider-type tuning mechanism. By far the most common type of timpani used today are pedal timpani, which allows the tension of the head to be adjusted using a pedal mechanism; the pedal is connected to the tension screws via an assembly of either cast metal or metal rods called the spider. There are three types of pedal mechanisms in common use today: The ratchet clutch system uses a ratchet and pawl to hold the pedal in place; the timpanist must first disengage the clutch before using the pedal to tune the drum.
When the desired pitch is achieved, the timpanist must reengage the clutch. Because the ratchet engages in only a fixed set of positions, the timpanist must fine-tune the drum by means of a fine-tuning handle. In the balanced action system, a spring or hydraulic cylinder is used to balance the tension on the head so the pedal will stay in position and the head will stay at pitch; the pedal on a balanced action drum is sometimes called a floating pedal since there is no clutch holding it in place. The friction clutch or post and clutch system uses a clutch. Disengaging the clutch frees it from the post, allowing the pedal to move without restraint. Professional-level timpani have copper bowls; these drums can have one of two styles of pedals. The Dresden pedal is operated by ankle motion. A Berlin-style pedal is attached by means of a long arm to th
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will simply be stated in bpm. Tempo may be separated from articulation and meter, or these aspects may be indicated along with tempo, all contributing to the overall texture. While the ability to hold a steady tempo is a vital skill for a musical performer, tempo is changeable. Depending on the genre of a piece of music and the performers' interpretation, a piece may be played with slight tempo rubato or drastic accelerando. In ensembles, the tempo is indicated by a conductor or by one of the instrumentalists, for instance the drummer. While tempo is described or indicated in many different ways, including with a range of words, it is measured in beats per minute.
For example, a tempo of 60 beats per minute signifies one beat per second, while a tempo of 120 beats per minute is twice as rapid, signifying one beat every 0.5 seconds. The note value of a beat will be that indicated by the denominator of the time signature. For instance, in 44 the beat will be a crotchet; this measurement and indication of tempo became popular during the first half of the 19th century, after Johann Nepomuk Maelzel invented the metronome. Beethoven was one of the first composers to use the metronome. Instead of beats per minute, some 20th-century classical composers specify the total playing time for a piece, from which the performer can derive tempo. With the advent of modern electronics, bpm became an precise measure. Music sequencers use the bpm system to denote tempo. In popular music genres such as electronic dance music, accurate knowledge of a tune's bpm is important to DJs for the purposes of beatmatching; the speed of a piece of music can be gauged according to measures per minute or bars per minute, the number of measures of the piece performed in one minute.
This measure is used in ballroom dance music. In different musical contexts, different instrumental musicians, conductors, music directors or other individuals will select the tempo of a song or piece. In a popular music or traditional music group or band, the bandleader or lead singer may select the tempo. In popular and traditional music, whoever is setting the tempo counts out one or two bars in tempo. In some songs or pieces in which a singer or solo instrumentalist begins the work with a solo introduction, the tempo they set will provide the tempo for the group. In an orchestra or concert band, the conductor sets the tempo. In a marching band, the drum major may set the tempo. In a sound recording, in some cases a record producer may set the tempo for a song. In classical music it is customary to describe the tempo of a piece by one or more words, most in Italian, in addition to or instead of a metronome mark in beats per minute. Italian is used because it was the language of most composers during the time these descriptions became commonplace.
Some well-known Italian tempo indications include "Allegro", "Andante" and "Presto". This practice developed during the baroque and classical periods. In the earlier Renaissance music, performers understood most music to flow at a tempo defined by the tactus; the mensural time signature indicated. In the Baroque period, pieces would be given an indication, which might be a tempo marking, or the name of a dance, the latter being an indication both of tempo and of metre. Any musician of the time was expected to know how to interpret these markings based on custom and experience. In some cases, these markings were omitted. For example, the first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 has no tempo or mood indication whatsoever. Despite the increasing number of explicit tempo markings, musicians still observe conventions, expecting a minuet to be at a stately tempo, slower than a Viennese waltz. Genres imply tempos. Thus, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote "In tempo d'un Menuetto" over the first movement of his Piano Sonata Op. 54, though that movement is not a minuet.
Many tempo markings indicate mood and expression. For example and allegro both indicate a speedy execution, but allegro connotes joy. Presto, on the other hand indicates speed. Additional Italian words indicate tempo and mood. For example, the "agitato" in the Allegro agitato of the last movement of George Gershwin's piano concerto in F has both a tempo indication and a mood indication. Composers name movements of compositions after their tempo marking. For instance, the second movement of Samuel Barber's first String Quartet is an Adagio. A particular musical form or genre implies its own tempo, so composers need place no further explanation in the score. Popular music charts use terms such as bossa nova, ballad
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. As on all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player's vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate. Nearly all trombones have a telescoping slide mechanism that varies the length of the instrument to change the pitch. Many modern trombone models use a valve attachment to lower the pitch of the instrument. Variants such as the valve trombone and superbone have three valves similar to those on the trumpet; the word "trombone" derives from Italian tromba and -one, so the name means "large trumpet". The trombone has a predominantly cylindrical bore like its valved counterpart the baritone and in contrast to its conical valved counterparts, the cornet, the euphonium, the French horn; the most encountered trombones are the tenor trombone and bass trombone. The most common variant, the tenor, is a non-transposing instrument pitched in B♭, an octave below the B♭ trumpet and an octave above the pedal B♭ tuba; the once common E♭ alto trombone became less used as improvements in technique extended the upper range of the tenor, but it is now enjoying a resurgence due to its lighter sonority, appreciated in many classical and early romantic works.
Trombone music is written in concert pitch in either bass or tenor clef, although exceptions do occur, notably in British brass-band music where the tenor trombone is presented as a B♭ transposing instrument, written in treble clef. A person who plays the trombone is called a trombone player; the trombone is a predominantly cylindrical tube bent into an elongated "S" shape. Rather than being cylindrical from end to end, the tube is a complex series of tapers with the smallest at the mouthpiece receiver and the largest just before the bell flare; the design of these tapers affects the intonation of the instrument. As with other brass instruments, sound is produced by blowing air through pursed lips producing a vibration that creates a standing wave in the instrument; the detachable cup-shaped mouthpiece is similar to that of the baritone horn and related to that of the trumpet. It has the venturi: a small constriction of the air column that adds resistance affecting the tone of the instrument and is inserted into the mouthpiece receiver in the slide section.
The slide section consists of a leadpipe, the inner and outer slide tubes, the bracing, or "stays". Modern stays are soldered, while sackbuts were made with unsoldered stays. The'slide', the most distinctive feature of the trombone, allows the player to extend the length of the air column, lowering the pitch. To prevent friction from slowing the action of the slide, additional sleeves were developed during the Renaissance, these "stocking" were soldered onto the ends of the inner slide tubes. Nowadays, the stockings are incorporated into the manufacturing process of the inner slide tubes and represent a fractional widening of the tube to accommodate the necessary method of alleviating friction; this part of the slide must be lubricated frequently. Additional tubing connects the slide to the bell of the instrument through a neckpipe, bell or back bow; the joint connecting the slide and bell sections is furnished with a ferrule to secure the connection of the two parts of the instrument, though older models from the early 20th century and before were equipped with friction joints and no ancillary mechanism to tighten the joint.
The adjustment of intonation is most accomplished with a tuning slide, a short slide between the neckpipe and the bell incorporating the bell bow. However, unlike other instrumentalists, are not subject to the intonation issues resulting from valved or keyed instruments, since they can adjust intonation "on the fly" by subtly altering slide positions when necessary. For example, second position "A" is not in the same place on the slide as second position "E". Many types of trombone include one or more rotary valves used to increase the length of the instrument by directing the air flow through additional tubing; this allows the instrument to reach notes that are otherwise not possible without the valve as well as play other notes in alternate positions. Like the trumpet, the trombone is considered a cylindrical bore instrument since it has extensive sections of tubing, principally in the slide section, that are of unchanging diameter. Tenor trombones have a bore of 0.450 inches to 0.547 inches after the leadpipe and through the slide.
The bore expands through the gooseneck to the bell, between 7 and 8 1⁄2 inches. A number of common variations on trombone construction are noted below. "Trombone" comes from the Italian word tromba plus the suffix -one, meaning "big trumpet". During the Renaissance, the equivalent English term was "sackbut"; the word first appears in court records in 1495 as "shakbusshe" at about the time King Henry VII married a Portuguese princess who brought musicians with her. "Shakbusshe" is similar to "sacabuche", attested in Spain as early as 1478. The French equivalent "saqueboute" appears in 1466; the German "Posaune" long predates the invention of the slide and could refer to a natural trumpet as late as the early fifteenth century. Both towns and courts sponsored bands of shaw
A concerto is a musical composition composed of three movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra or concert band. It is accepted that definition have changed over time. In the 17th century, sacred works for voices and orchestra were called concertos, as reflected by J. S. Bach's usage of the title "concerto" for many of the works that we know as cantatas; the word concerto comes from Italian. The idea is that the two parts in a concerto—the soloist and the orchestra or concert band—alternate between episodes of opposition and independence to create a sense of flow; the concerto, as understood in this modern way, arose in the Baroque period, in parallel to the concerto grosso, which contrasted a small group of instruments called a concertino with the rest of the orchestra, called the ripieno. The popularity of the concerto grosso declined after the Baroque period, the genre was not revived until the 20th century; the solo concerto, has remained a vital musical force from its inception to this day.
The term "concerto" was used to denote works that involved voices and instruments in which the instruments had independent parts—as opposed to the Renaissance common practice in which instruments that accompanied voices only doubled the voice parts. Examples of this earlier form of concerto include Giovanni Gabrieli's "In Ecclesiis" or Heinrich Schütz's "Saul, was verfolgst du mich"; the concerto began to take its modern shape in the late-Baroque period, beginning with the concerto grosso form popularized by Arcangelo Corelli. Corelli's concertino group was a cello. In J. S. Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, for example, the concertino is a flute, a violin, a harpsichord; the concerto approached its modern form, in which the concertino reduces to a single solo instrument playing with an orchestra. The main composers of concertos of the baroque were Tommaso Albinoni, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Pietro Locatelli, Giuseppe Tartini, Francesco Geminiani and Johann Joachim Quantz.
The concerto was intended as a composition typical of the Italian style of the time, all the composers were studying how to compose in the Italian fashion. The Baroque concerto was for a string instrument or a wind instrument. Bach wrote a concerto for two violins and orchestra. During the Baroque period, before the invention of the piano, keyboard concertos were comparatively rare, with the exception of the organ and some harpsichord concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach; as the harpsichord evolved into the fortepiano, in the end to the modern piano, the increased volume and the richer sound of the new instrument allowed the keyboard instrument to better compete with a full orchestra. Cello concertos have been written since the Baroque era, if not earlier. Among the works from that period, those by Antonio Vivaldi and Giuseppe Tartini are still part of the standard repertoire today; the concertos of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, such as C. P. E. Bach, are the best links between those of the Baroque period and those of the Classical era.
It is conventional to state that the first movements of concertos from the Classical period onwards follow the structure of sonata form. Final movements are in rondo form, as in J. S. Bach's E Major Violin Concerto. Mozart wrote five violin concertos, all in 1775, they show a number of notably Italian and Austrian. Several passages have leanings towards folk music. Mozart wrote the regarded Sinfonia Concertante for violin and orchestra. Beethoven wrote only one violin concerto, under-appreciated until revealed as a masterpiece in a performance by violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. Haydn wrote at least two cello concertos, which are the most important works in that genre of the classical era. However, C. P. E. Bach's three cello concertos and Boccherini's twelve concertos are noteworthy. C. P. E. Bach's keyboard concertos contain some virtuosic solo writing; some of them have movements that run into one another without a break, there are frequent cross-movement thematic references. Mozart, as a child, made arrangements for keyboard and orchestra of four sonatas by now little-known composers.
He arranged three sonata movements by Johann Christian Bach. By the time he was twenty, Mozart was able to write concerto ritornelli that gave the orchestra admirable opportunity for asserting its character in an exposition with some five or six contrasted themes, before the soloist enters to elaborate on the material. Of his 27 piano concertos, the last 22 are appreciated. A dozen cataloged keyboard concertos are attributed to Haydn, of which only three or four are considered genuine. C. P. E. Bach wrote two oboe concertos. Bohemian composer Francesco Antonio Rosetti composed several solo and double horn concertos, he was a significant contributor to the genre of horn concertos in the 18th century. Most of his outstanding horn concertos were composed between 1782 and 1789 for the Bohemian duo Franz Zwierzina and Joseph Nage while at the Bavarian court of Oettingen-Wallerstein. One of hi
The Cirque d'Hiver, located at 110 rue Amelot, has been a prominent venue for circuses, exhibitions of dressage, musical concerts, other events, including exhibitions of Turkish wrestling and fashion shows. The theatre was designed by the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff and was opened by Emperor Napoleon III on 11 December 1852 as the Cirque Napoléon; the orchestral concerts of Jules Etienne Pasdeloup were inaugurated at the Cirque Napoléon on 27 October 1861 and continued for more than twenty years. The theatre was renamed Cirque d'Hiver in 1870; the nearest métro station is Filles du Calvaire. The circus is an oval polygon of 20 sides, with Corinthian columns at the angles, giving the impression of an oval building enclosing the oval ring, surrounded by steeply banked seating for spectators much like a miniature indoor Colosseum. A low angled roof is self-supporting like a low dome, so that there is no central pole, as under a tent, to obstruct views or interfere with the action; the building was designed by the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff and opened as the Cirque Napoléon, a compliment to the new Emperor of the French Napoleon III.
The sculptor James Pradier was called upon to provide exterior bas-reliefs of Amazons, Francisque Duret and Astyanax-Scévola Bosio sculpted the panels of mounted warriors. The guiding entrepreneur was Louis Dejean, the proprietor of the Cirque d'Été erected annually in the bosquets that flanked the Champs-Élysées. Dejean wagered that evening circus performances under the limelight, with the spectators well removed from the dust and smells of the tanbark floor, would provide a dress occasion for le tout-Paris, he was well rewarded for his acumen. At the end of the Second Empire, the Cirque d'Hiver was renamed the Cirque National, was administered by Victor Franconi, it was given its present name in 1873. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec found inspiration in rehearsals and performances at the Cirque d'Hiver. Franconi's son Charles assumed direction, 1897–1907. Since 1934 it has been the Cirque d'Hiver-Bouglione, operated by the Bouglione brothers and their heirs; the original configuration accommodated 4,000, which has now been reduced to 2,090 due to fire codes.
At the Cirque d'Hiver in August 1955, Richard Avedon took his famous photograph of the fashion model "Dovima with the Elephants" to show a floor-length evening dress by Dior, one of the most iconic fashion photographs of the century. In 1995, Parisian designer Thierry Mugler held a special fashion show at the circus, to celebrate his firm's 20th anniversary. Performers and special guests included James Brown, Tippi Hedren and many of the decade's top supermodels, including Naomi Campbell. In 1956 Carol Reed directed the film Trapeze, it was in part filmed at the Cirque d'hiver. Elizabeth Bishop wrote a poem titled "Cirque D'Hiver". Simeone, Nigel. Paris: A Musical Gazetteer. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08053-7. List of works by James Pradier Horsed Amazon sculpture http://www.cirquedhiver.com/
Oboes belong to the classification of double reed woodwind instruments. Oboes are made of wood, but there are oboes made of synthetic materials; the most common oboe plays in the soprano range. A soprano oboe measures 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column; the distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist. Today, the oboe is used in concert bands, chamber music, film music, some genres of folk music, as a solo instrument, heard in jazz, rock and popular music. In comparison to other modern woodwind instruments, the treble oboe is sometimes referred to as having a clear and penetrating voice; the Sprightly Companion, an instruction book published by Henry Playford in 1695, describes the oboe as "Majestical and Stately, not much Inferior to the Trumpet."
In the play Angels in America the sound is described as like "that of a duck if the duck were a songbird". The rich timbre is derived from its conical bore; as a result, oboes are easier to hear over other instruments in large ensembles due to its penetrating sound. The highest note is a semitone lower than the nominally highest note of the B♭ clarinet. Since the clarinet has a wider range, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is deeper than the lowest note of the oboe. Music for the standard oboe is written in concert pitch, the instrument has a soprano range from B♭3 to G6. Orchestras tune to a concert A played by the first oboe. According to the League of American Orchestras, this is done because the pitch is secure and its penetrating sound makes it ideal for tuning; the pitch of the oboe is affected by the way. The reed has a significant effect on the sound. Variations in cane and other construction materials, the age of the reed, differences in scrape and length all affect the pitch. German and French reeds, for instance, differ in many ways.
Weather conditions such as temperature and humidity affect the pitch. Skilled oboists adjust their embouchure to compensate for these factors. Subtle manipulation of embouchure and air pressure allows the oboist to express timbre and dynamics. Most professional oboists make their reeds to suit their individual needs. By making their reeds, oboists can control factors such as tone color and responsiveness. Novice oboists may begin with a Fibrecane reed, made of a synthetic material. Commercially available cane reeds are available in several degrees of hardness; these reeds, like clarinet and bassoon reeds, are made from Arundo donax. As oboists gain more experience, they may start making their own reeds after the model of their teacher or buying handmade reeds and using special tools including gougers, pre-gougers, guillotines and other tools to make the reed to their liking. According to the late John Mack, former principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra, an oboe student must fill a laundry basket with finished reeds in order to master the art.
"Making good reeds requires years of practice, the amateur is well advised not to embark on making his own reeds... Orchestral musicians sometimes do this, co-principals in particular earn a bit on the side in this way.... Many professional musicians import their reed cane... directly from the growers in southern France and split it vertically into three parts themselves. Oboes require thicknesses of about 10 millimeters." This allows each oboist to adjust the reeds for individual embouchure, oral cavity, oboe angle, air support. The reed is considered the part of oboe playing that makes it so difficult because slight variations in temperature, altitude and climate will change a working reed into an unplayable collection of cane. In English, prior to 1770, the standard instrument was called a "hautbois", "hoboy", or "French hoboy"; the spelling of oboe was adopted into English c. 1770 from the Italian oboè, a transliteration of the 17th-century pronunciation of the French name. The regular oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century.
This name was used for its predecessor, the shawm, from which the basic form of the hautbois was derived. Major differences between the two instruments include the division of the hautbois into three sections, or joints, the elimination of the pirouette, the wooden ledge below the reed which allowed players to rest their lips; the exact date and place of origin of the hautbois are obscure, as are the individuals who were responsible. Circumstantial evidence, such as the statement by the flautist composer Michel de la Barre in his Memoire, points to members of the Philidor and Hotteterre families; the instrument may in fact have had multiple inventors. The hautbois spread throughout Europe, including Great Britain, where it was called "hautboy", "hoboy", "hautboit", "howboye", similar variants of the French name, it was the