Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east 80 kilometres southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its importance in German history; the city was a focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading personalities of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In the 19th century, famous composers like Franz Liszt made Weimar a music centre and artists and architects like Henry van de Velde, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius came to the city and founded the Bauhaus movement, the most important German design school of the interwar period.
However, the political history of 20th-century Weimar was inconsistent: it was the place where Germany's first democratic constitution was signed after the First World War, giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics, as well as one of the cities mythologized by the National Socialist propaganda. Until 1948, Weimar was the capital of Thuringia. Today, many places in the city centre have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites and tourism is one of the leading economic sectors of Weimar. Relevant institutions in Weimar are the Bauhaus University, the Liszt School of Music, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library and two leading courts of Thuringia. In 1999, Weimar was the European Capital of Culture. Archaeological finds dating back to the Thuringii epoch show that the Weimar part of the Ilm valley was settled early, with a tight network of settlements where the city is today; the oldest records regarding Weimar date to 899. Its name changed over the centuries from Wimares through Wimari to Wimar and Weimar.
Another theory derives. The place was the seat of the County of Weimar, first mentioned in 949, one of the mightiest actors in early-Middle Ages Thuringia. In 1062 it was united with the County of Orlamünde to the new County of Weimar-Orlamünde, which existed until the Thuringian Counts' War in 1346 and fell to the Wettins afterwards; the Weimar settlement emerged around the count's wooden castle and two small churches dedicated to St Peter, to St James. In 1240, the count founded the dynasty's monastery in Oberweimar. Soon after, the counts of Weimar founded the town, an independent parish since 1249 and called civitas in 1254. From 1262 the citizens used their own seal; the regional influence of the Weimar counts was declining as the influence of the Wettins in Thuringia increased. Hence, the new small town was marginal in a regional context due to the fact that it was situated far away from relevant trade routes like the Via Regia; the settlement around St James Church developed into a suburb during the 13th century.
After becoming part of the Wettin's territory in 1346, urban development improved. The Wettins fostered Weimar by granting privileges to the citizens. Now Weimar became equal to other Wettinian cities like Weißensee and grew during the 15th century, with the establishment of a town hall and the current main church. Weimar acquired woad trade privileges in 1438; the castle and the walls were finished in the 16th century. After the Treaty of Leipzig Weimar became part of the electorate of the Ernestine branch of Wettins with Wittenberg as capital; the Protestant Reformation was introduced in Weimar in 1525. As the Ernestines lost the Schmalkaldic War in 1547, their capital Wittenberg went to the Albertines, so that they needed a new residence; as the ruler returned from captivity, Weimar became his residence in 1552 and remained as such until the end of the monarchy in 1918. The first Ernestine territorial partition in 1572 was followed by various ones Weimar stayed the capital of different Saxe-Weimar states.
The court and its staff brought some wealth to the city, so that it saw a first construction boom in the 16th century. The 17th century brought decline because of changing trade conditions. Besides, the territorial partitions led to the loss of political importance of the dukes of Saxe-Weimar and their finances shrunk; the city's polity weakened more and more and lost its privileges, leading to the absolutist reign of the dukes in the early 18th century. On the other hand, this time brought another construction boom to Weimar, the city got its present appearance, marked by various ducal representation buildings; the city walls were demolished in 1757 and during the following decades, Weimar expanded in all directions. The biggest building constructed in this period was the Schloss as the residence of the dukes. Between 1708 and 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach worked as the court's organist in Weimar; the period from the start of the regencies of Anna Amalia and her son Carl August through to Goethe's d
Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, music teacher and organist of the Romantic era. He was a writer, a philanthropist, a Hungarian nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary. Liszt gained renown in Europe during the early nineteenth century for his prodigious virtuosic skill as a pianist, he was a friend, musical promoter and benefactor to many composers of his time, including Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, Ole Bull, Joachim Raff, Mikhail Glinka, Alexander Borodin. A prolific composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the New German School, he left behind an extensive and diverse body of work which influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated 20th-century ideas and trends. Among Liszt's musical contributions were the symphonic poem, developing thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form, radical innovations in harmony. Franz Liszt was born to Anna Liszt and Adam Liszt on 22 October 1811, in the village of Doborján in Sopron County, in the Kingdom of Hungary, Austrian Empire.
Liszt's father played the piano, violin and guitar. He had been in the service of Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy and knew Haydn and Beethoven personally. At age six, Franz began listening attentively to his father's piano playing. Adam began teaching him the piano at age seven, Franz began composing in an elementary manner when he was eight, he appeared in concerts at Sopron and Pressburg in October and November 1820 at age 9. After the concerts, a group of wealthy sponsors offered to finance Franz's musical education in Vienna. There Liszt received piano lessons from Carl Czerny, who in his own youth had been a student of Beethoven and Hummel, he received lessons in composition from Ferdinando Paer and Antonio Salieri, the music director of the Viennese court. Liszt's public debut in Vienna on December 1, 1822, at a concert at the "Landständischer Saal", was a great success, he was greeted in Austrian and Hungarian aristocratic circles and met Beethoven and Schubert. In spring 1823, when his one-year leave of absence came to an end, Adam Liszt asked Prince Esterházy in vain for two more years.
Adam Liszt therefore took his leave of the Prince's services. At the end of April 1823, the family returned to Hungary for the last time. At the end of May 1823, the family went to Vienna again. Towards the end of 1823 or early 1824, Liszt's first composition to be published, his Variation on a Waltz by Diabelli, appeared as Variation 24 in Part II of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein; this anthology, commissioned by Anton Diabelli, includes 50 variations on his waltz by 50 different composers, Part I being taken up by Beethoven's 33 variations on the same theme, which are now separately better known as his Diabelli Variations, Op. 120. Liszt's inclusion in the Diabelli project—he was described in it as "an 11 year old boy, born in Hungary"—was certainly at the instigation of Czerny, his teacher and a participant. Liszt was the only child composer in the anthology. After his father's death in 1827, Liszt moved to Paris, he gave up touring. To earn money, Liszt gave lessons in piano playing and composition from early morning until late at night.
His students were scattered across the city and he had to cover long distances. Because of this, he kept uncertain hours and took up smoking and drinking—all habits he would continue throughout his life; the following year, he fell in love with one of his pupils, Caroline de Saint-Cricq, the daughter of Charles X's minister of commerce, Pierre de Saint-Cricq. Her father, insisted that the affair be broken off. Liszt fell ill, to the extent that an obituary notice was printed in a Paris newspaper, he underwent a long period of religious doubts and pessimism, he again was dissuaded this time by his mother. He had many discussions with the Abbé de Lamennais, who acted as his spiritual father, with Chrétien Urhan, a German-born violinist who introduced him to the Saint-Simonists. Urhan wrote music, anti-classical and subjective, with titles such as Elle et moi, La Salvation angélique and Les Regrets, may have whetted the young Liszt's taste for musical romanticism. Important for Liszt was Urhan's earnest championship of Schubert, which may have stimulated his own lifelong devotion to that composer's music.
During this period, Liszt read to overcome his lack of a general education, he soon came into contact with many of the leading authors and artists of his day, including Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine and Heinrich Heine. He composed nothing in these years; the July Revolution of 1830 inspired him to sketch a Revolutionary Symphony based on the events of the "three glorious days," and he took a greater interest in events surrounding him. He met Hector Berlioz on December 1830, the day before the premiere of the Symphonie fantastique. Berlioz's music made a strong impression on Liszt later when he was writing for orchestra, he inherited from Berlioz the diabolic quality of many of his works. After attending a charity concert on 20 April 1832, for the victims of a Parisian cholera epidemic, organised by Niccolò Paganini, Liszt became determined to become as great a virtuoso on the piano as Paganini was on the violin. Paris in the 1830s had become the nexus
The clarinet is a family of woodwind instruments. It has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight, cylindrical tube with an cylindrical bore, a flared bell. A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist. While the similarity in sound between the earliest clarinets and the trumpet may hold a clue to its name, other factors may have been involved. During the Late Baroque era, composers such as Bach and Handel were making new demands on the skills of their trumpeters, who were required to play difficult melodic passages in the high, or as it came to be called, clarion register. Since the trumpets of this time had no valves or pistons, melodic passages would require the use of the highest part of the trumpet's range, where the harmonics were close enough together to produce scales of adjacent notes as opposed to the gapped scales or arpeggios of the lower register; the trumpet parts that required this specialty were known by the term clarino and this in turn came to apply to the musicians themselves.
It is probable that the term clarinet may stem from the diminutive version of the'clarion' or'clarino' and it has been suggested that clarino players may have helped themselves out by playing difficult passages on these newly developed "mock trumpets". Johann Christoph Denner is believed to have invented the clarinet in Germany around the year 1700 by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the playability. In modern times, the most popular clarinet is the B♭ clarinet. However, the clarinet in A, just a semitone lower, is used in orchestral music. An orchestral clarinetist must own both a clarinet in A and B♭ since the repertoire is divided evenly between the two. Since the middle of the 19th century the bass clarinet has become an essential addition to the orchestra; the clarinet family ranges from the BBB♭ octo-contrabass to the A♭ piccolo clarinet. The clarinet has proved to be an exceptionally flexible instrument, used in the classical repertoire as in concert bands, military bands, marching bands, klezmer and other styles.
The word clarinet may have entered the English language via the French clarinette, or from Provençal clarin, "oboe". It would seem however that its real roots are to be found amongst some of the various names for trumpets used around the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Clarion and the Italian clarino are all derived from the medieval term claro which referred to an early form of trumpet; this is the origin of the Italian clarinetto, itself a diminutive of clarino, of the European equivalents such as clarinette in French or the German Klarinette. According to Johann Gottfried Walther, writing in 1732, the reason for the name is that "it sounded from far off not unlike a trumpet"; the English form clarinet is found as early as 1733, the now-archaic clarionet appears from 1784 until the early years of the 20th century. The cylindrical bore is responsible for the clarinet's distinctive timbre, which varies between its three main registers, known as the chalumeau and altissimo; the tone quality can vary with the clarinetist, instrument and reed.
The differences in instruments and geographical isolation of clarinetists led to the development from the last part of the 18th century onwards of several different schools of playing. The most prominent were French school; the latter was centered on the clarinetists of the Conservatoire de Paris. The proliferation of recorded music has made examples of different styles of playing available; the modern clarinetist has a diverse palette of "acceptable" tone qualities to choose from. The A and B ♭ clarinets use the same mouthpiece. Orchestral clarinetists using the A and B♭ instruments in a concert could use the same mouthpiece; the A and B♭ have nearly identical tonal quality, although the A has a warmer sound. The tone of the E♭ clarinet is brighter and can be heard through loud orchestral or concert band textures; the bass clarinet has a characteristically deep, mellow sound, while the alto clarinet is similar in tone to the bass. Clarinets have the largest pitch range of common woodwinds; the intricate key organization that makes this possible can make the playability of some passages awkward.
The bottom of the clarinet's written range is defined by the keywork on each instrument, standard keywork schemes allowing a low E on the common B♭ clarinet. The lowest concert pitch depends on the transposition of the instrument in question; the nominal highest note of the B♭ clarinet is a semitone higher than the highest note of the oboe. Since the clarinet has a wider range of notes, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is deeper than the lowest note of the oboe. Nearly all soprano and piccolo clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest written note, though some B♭ clarinets go down to E♭3 to enable them to match the range of the A clarinet. On the B♭ soprano clarinet, the concert pitch of the lowest note is D3, a whole tone lower than the written pitch. Most alto and bass clarinets have an extra key to allow a E♭3. Modern professional-quality bass clarinets have additional keywork to written C3. Among the less encountered members of t
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind a vast oeuvre, including more than 600 secular vocal works, seven complete symphonies, sacred music, incidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music, his major works include the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, the Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759, the three last piano sonatas, the opera Fierrabras, the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, the song cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise. Born to immigrant parents in the Himmelpfortgrund suburb of Vienna, Schubert's uncommon gifts for music were evident from an early age, his father gave him his first violin lessons and his older brother gave him piano lessons, but Schubert soon exceeded their abilities. In 1808, at the age of eleven, he became a pupil at the Stadtkonvikt school, where he became acquainted with the orchestral music of Haydn and Beethoven, he left the Stadtkonvikt at the end of 1813, returned home to live with his father, where he began studying to become a schoolteacher.
In 1821, Schubert was granted admission to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde as a performing member, which helped establish his name among the Viennese citizenry. He gave a concert of his own works to critical acclaim in March 1828, the only time he did so in his career, he died eight months at the age of 31, the cause attributed to typhoid fever, but believed by some historians to be syphilis. Appreciation of Schubert's music while he was alive was limited to a small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased in the decades following his death. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the 19th century, his music continues to be popular. Franz Peter Schubert was born in Himmelpfortgrund, Archduchy of Austria on 31 January 1797, baptised in the Catholic Church the following day, he was the twelfth child of Maria Elisabeth Katharina Vietz.
Schubert's immediate ancestors came from the province of Zukmantel in Austrian Silesia. His father, the son of a Moravian peasant, was a well-known parish schoolmaster, his school in Lichtental had numerous students in attendance, he was appointed schoolmaster two years later. His mother was the daughter of a Silesian master locksmith and had been a housemaid for a Viennese family before marriage. Of Franz Theodor and Elisabeth's fourteen children, nine died in infancy. At the age of five, Schubert began to receive regular instruction from his father, a year was enrolled at his father's school. Although it is not known when Schubert received his first musical instruction, he was given piano lessons by his brother Ignaz, but they lasted for a short time as Schubert excelled him within a few months. Ignaz recalled: I was amazed when Franz told me, a few months after we began, that he had no need of any further instruction from me, that for the future he would make his own way, and in truth his progress in a short period was so great that I was forced to acknowledge in him a master who had distanced and out stripped me, whom I despaired of overtaking.
His father gave him his first violin lessons when he was eight years old, training him to the point where he could play easy duets proficiently. Soon after, Schubert was given his first lessons outside the family by Michael Holzer and choirmaster of the local parish church in Lichtental. Holzer would assure Schubert's father, with tears in his eyes, that he had never had such a pupil as Schubert, the lessons may have consisted of conversations and expressions of admiration. Holzer gave the young Schubert instruction in organ as well as in figured bass. According to Holzer, however, he did not give him any real instruction as Schubert would know anything that he tried to teach him; the boy seemed to gain more from an acquaintance with a friendly apprentice joiner who took him to a neighbouring pianoforte warehouse where Schubert could practise on better instruments. He played viola in the family string quartet, with his brothers Ferdinand and Ignaz on first and second violin and his father on the cello.
Schubert wrote his earliest string quartets for this ensemble. Young Schubert first came to the attention of Antonio Salieri Vienna's leading musical authority, in 1804, when his vocal talent was recognised. In November 1808, he became a pupil at the Stadtkonvikt through a choir scholarship. At the Stadtkonvikt, he was introduced to the overtures and symphonies of Mozart, the symphonies of Joseph Haydn and his younger brother Michael Haydn, the overtures and symphonies of Beethoven, a composer for whom he developed a significant admiration, his exposure to these and other works, combined with occasional visits to the opera, laid the foundation for a broader musical education. One important musical influence came from the songs by Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg, an important composer of Lieder; the precocious young student "wanted to modernize" Zumsteeg's songs, as reported by Joseph von Spaun, Schub
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognised and influential of all composers, his best-known compositions include 9 symphonies. His career as a composer is conventionally divided into early and late periods. Beethoven was born in Bonn the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, he displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21 he moved to Vienna, where he began studying composition with Joseph Haydn and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist, he lived in Vienna until his death. By his late 20s his hearing began to deteriorate and by the last decade of his life he was completely deaf. In 1811 he continued to compose. Beethoven was the grandson of Ludwig van Beethoven, a musician from the town of Mechelen in the Austrian Duchy of Brabant who had moved to Bonn at the age of 21.
Ludwig was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne rising to become, in 1761, Kapellmeister and thereafter the pre-eminent musician in Bonn. The portrait he commissioned of himself towards the end of his life remained displayed in his grandson's rooms as a talisman of his musical heritage. Ludwig had one son, who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment and gave keyboard and violin lessons to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767. Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn. There is no authentic record of the date of his birth; as children of that era were traditionally baptised the day after birth in the Catholic Rhine country, it is known that Beethoven's family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December, most scholars accept 16 December 1770 as his date of birth. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only Ludwig, the second-born, two younger brothers survived infancy. Kaspar Anton Karl was born on 8 April 1774, Nikolaus Johann, the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776.
Beethoven's first music teacher was his father. He had other local teachers: the court organist Gilles van den Eeden, Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer, Franz Rovantini. From the outset his tuition regime, which began in his fifth year, was harsh and intensive reducing him to tears, his musical talent was obvious at a young age. Johann, aware of Leopold Mozart's successes in this area, attempted to promote his son as a child prodigy, claiming that Beethoven was six on the posters for his first public performance in March 1778; some time after 1779, Beethoven began his studies with his most important teacher in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, appointed the Court's Organist in that year. Neefe taught him composition, by March 1783 had helped him write his first published composition: a set of keyboard variations. Beethoven soon began working with Neefe as assistant organist, at first unpaid, as a paid employee of the court chapel conducted by the Kapellmeister Andrea Luchesi, his first three piano sonatas, named "Kurfürst" for their dedication to the Elector Maximilian Friedrich, were published in 1783.
Maximilian Frederick noticed his talent early, subsidised and encouraged the young man's musical studies. Maximilian Frederick's successor as the Elector of Bonn was Maximilian Francis, the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, he brought notable changes to Bonn. Echoing changes made in Vienna by his brother Joseph, he introduced reforms based on Enlightenment philosophy, with increased support for education and the arts; the teenage Beethoven was certainly influenced by these changes. He may have been influenced at this time by ideas prominent in freemasonry, as Neefe and others around Beethoven were members of the local chapter of the Order of the Illuminati. In December 1786, Beethoven travelled to Vienna, at his employer's expense, for the first time in the hope of studying with Mozart; the details of their relationship are uncertain, including whether they met. Having learned that his mother was ill, Beethoven returned to Bonn in May 1787, his mother died shortly thereafter, his father lapsed deeper into alcoholism.
As a result, he became responsible for the care of his two younger brothers, spent the next five years in Bonn. He was introduced in these years to several people. Franz Wegeler, a young medical student, intro
In music theory, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch. A scale ordered by increasing pitch is an ascending scale, a scale ordered by decreasing pitch is a descending scale; some scales contain different pitches when ascending than when descending, for example, the melodic minor scale. In the context of the common practice period, most or all of the melody and harmony of a musical work is built using the notes of a single scale, which can be conveniently represented on a staff with a standard key signature. Due to the principle of octave equivalence, scales are considered to span a single octave, with higher or lower octaves repeating the pattern. A musical scale represents a division of the octave space into a certain number of scale steps, a scale step being the recognizable distance between two successive notes of the scale. However, there is no need for scale steps to be equal within any scale and as demonstrated by microtonal music, there is no limit to how many notes can be injected within any given musical interval.
A measure of the width of each scale step provides a method to classify scales. For instance, in a chromatic scale each scale step represents a semitone interval, while a major scale is defined by the interval pattern T–T–S–T–T–T–S, where T stands for whole tone, S stands for semitone. Based on their interval patterns, scales are put into categories including diatonic, major and others. A specific scale is defined by its characteristic interval pattern and by a special note, known as its first degree; the tonic of a scale is the note selected as the beginning of the octave, therefore as the beginning of the adopted interval pattern. The name of the scale specifies both its tonic and its interval pattern. For example, C major indicates a major scale with a C tonic. Scales are listed from low to high pitch. Most scales are octave-repeating. An octave-repeating scale can be represented as a circular arrangement of pitch classes, ordered by increasing pitch class. For instance, the increasing C major scale is C–D–E–F–G–A–B–, with the bracket indicating that the last note is an octave higher than the first note, the decreasing C major scale is C–B–A–G–F–E–D–, with the bracket indicating an octave lower than the first note in the scale.
The distance between two successive notes in a scale is called a scale step. The notes of a scale are numbered by their steps from the root of the scale. For example, in a C major scale the first note is the second D, the third E and so on. Two notes can be numbered in relation to each other: C and E create an interval of a third. A single scale can be manifested at many different pitch levels. For example, a C major scale can be started at C4 and ascending an octave to C5; as long as all the notes can be played, the octave they take on can be altered. Scales may be described according to the number of different pitch classes they contain: Chromatic, or dodecatonic Octatonic: used in jazz and modern classical music Heptatonic: the most common modern Western scale Hexatonic: common in Western folk music Pentatonic: the anhemitonic form is common in folk music in Asian music. Many music theorists concur that the constituent intervals of a scale have a large role in the cognitive perception of its sonority, or tonal character.
"The number of the notes that make up a scale as well as the quality of the intervals between successive notes of the scale help to give the music of a culture area its peculiar sound quality." "The pitch distances or intervals among the notes of a scale tell us more about the sound of the music than does the mere number of tones."Scales may be described by their symmetry, such as being palindromic, chiral, or having rotational symmetry as in Messiaen's modes of limited transposition. Scales can be described by their distribution patterns and possibilities for notation. For example, a heliotonic scale is one that can be notated with one note head on each line and space, using only single and double alterations, thus all heliotonic scales are heptatonic. Since heliotonia is a metric of a scale's tone distribution pattern, is related to evenness, spectra variation, the Myhill Property; the notes of a scale form intervals with each of the other notes of the chord in combination. A 5-note scale has 10 of these harmonic intervals, a 6-note scale has 15, a 7-note scale has 21, an 8-note scale has 28.
Though the scale is not a chord, might never be heard more than one note at a time, still the absence and placement of certain key intervals plays a large part in the sound of the scale, the natural movement of melody within the scale, the selection of chords taken from the scale. A musical scale that contains tritones is called tritonic (though the expression is used for any sca
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