“How do you tune two oboes? ...shoot one of the oboists!”
“I wanna play the oboe!”
The oboe came from an ancient line of the well-respected black stick torture instruments (no pun intended by the phrase "black stick"). The oboe, in contrast with a clarinet, makes an excruciating sound of high-pitched flatulence. When played by a skilled person however, it becomes musical flatulence that is very interesting to listen to.
The term "oboe" comes from the French words "haute bois", meaning "high wood". However, the term "high wood" does not refer to the high notes that this woodwind instrument plays. Instead, the term refers to 17th century French oboe players who typically huffed cheetahs with the plastic tube approach, using their oboes instead of plastic tubes, immediately before playing the instrument. Many experts believe that it was this crazy combination of huffing and music that lead to the beginning of modern music and the wild popularity of the oboe today.
The oboe is considered the hardest of the instruments to play, even harder that the triple-tuba. Oboe players must have thick skulls to sustain the pressure on the brain caused by blowing the instrument, and have the ability to huff cheetahs. Many new students die on their first year of playing, which is why recruiting oboe students is prohibited by law in most first-world countries. For this reason, most oboists are former slave children from India and Africa.
Uses of the Oboe
An oboe can be used in several different ways. For one, it can be used to summon undead beings with its horrible farting sound (see necromancy). The oboe, being made of grenadilla or similar rosewoods, can also be used as a hollow shortsword for cutting down thy enemies.
17th Century History
Indeed, during the mid-1700's, oboe players were some of the most famous and stylish personalities in Europe. They often partied until the wee hours with rich and powerful composers like Joseph Haydn, Antonio Salieri, Adolf Hitler, and of course, Wolfgang Mozart. Large groups of idolizing fans and screaming teenage girls frequently followed popular oboists from concert to concert. Many experts believe that these fans were drawn to the oboists' colorful personalities, as well as the phallic symbol obviously represented by the oboe shape.
Because of the wild popularity of oboe concertos, several oboists in the the mid-1780's gave free public concerts in large, rocky fields outside Paris. Many historical musicologists believe that the modern term "rock music" derives from these gatherings. While these concerts were extremely popular among the French peasantry, they greatly angered Louis XVI, an intense but jealous oboe fan. He declared free oboe concerts to be illegal on June 18, 1789, and actually imprisoned a famous oboe player, Maximilien Robespierre, in the Bastille prison for giving a free concert.
In response, the French public went crazy and stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, which is now known as "Bastille Day." The mob freed Robespierre, who promptly smoked a large reefer and gave a free oboe concert to the delight of French peasants. Of course, this heralded the beginning of the French Revolution and gave birth to its slogan, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité, et les hautes bois !" (Liberty, equality, fraternity, Ivy, Bailey, and oboes!)
Today, the demanding, high pitched life of an oboe player is not for everyone. Potential oboe players should think long and hard about playing this instrument, especially girls, even though it is now quite socially acceptable for women to play the oboe (as long as it is not their primary source of income and they should have unbelievably curly and/or ginger hair). Not everyone wants to put up with the extra mail, telephone calls, and daily interruptions from fanatical oboe cult members. Plus the oboe is known to have 5-6 fingerings for the same note, which new players are terrified of learning.
One thing about oboe players rarely mentioned, however, is that they are all quite strange. Many never move out of home and hide in their parents basements because of the cost of reeds. They tend to be anal about everything and anything, and at the same time just be spaced out 100% of the time. Though most oboists will blame their reeds for any personality quirks (or anything at all, really ), this may have more to do with the lifestyle mentioned above and possible drug use.
Typical Oboe Players
Within a group, there are noticeably few oboists. (This is to reduce the amount of pain the audience is to endure and explains why there is no such thing as an "Oboe Ensemble.") However, as few as there are, the players usually fall into five categories, united by their oddity.
This musician is the oboist in it's purest form. The oboist will almost always receive a solo in every piece of music and is considered (by the oboist, of course) to be able to produce the most amazing noise to ever emerge from the chaos known as band. The oboist will also have multiple reeds, and so shoulders twice as much blame.
The Not-So "Oboist"
This category encompasses most "haut bois," but the truth is that there really aren't any "hot boys" other than extremely rare occasions... but it does happen. Most oboists in this range are male. These players usually rock the instrument beating out the Oboe Hos. They also play oboe decently (and sometimes almost at the level of The "Oboist," but only when they get really lucky) and will play multiple instruments like the multisectional freaks they are.
If the male oboist is not a multisectional freak they may be a talented slacker who is somehow sliding under the radar as first chair and beating out all of the Oboe Hos and oboists.
This category takes the rest. Usually the oboists in this group have no idea how to play oboe and would be much better suited to being a Drummer. Luckily, these oboists are the first to die in catastrophic events involving reeds. The occasional slacker can be highly skilled but never play the instrument outside of class. These slackers are the ultimate form in oboists as they are the least annoying and are actually possible to get along with. Slackers have the tendency to huff the most cheetahs and be the biggest party animals.
Unfortunately, there's some dumbasses that mess with oboists. They usually die instantly. Here are some instruments that are usually dead in about a week.
Girl oboist usually fight with girl flute players over the hot bassoon player. As usual, the flutist gets a reed stuck up her nose and other areas. (Beware Oboists tend to collect bad reeds to spam flutists with.)
They have been in war ever since Jesus was born. The clarinetist would usually steal oboe reeds for masturbation and to use as tooth picks. Then the oboist would steal their reeds to make oboe reeds and firewood to burn the tubist's body since nobody EVER cares about them.
The infamous oboe reed
“No, really, it's the reed's fault!”
The oboe reed usually costs more money than a professional oboe player earns for a year of work in a famous orchestra. Another attribute of oboe reeds is the squeeky, high pitched noise they make while they aren't shoved into the oboe. The players usually squeek into these reeds until you smack it into a wall or throw the actually oboe player there. This is another leading cause of death among this group of musicians.
As to what it is, the oboe reed is the two little blades of bamboo which are blown through to produce sound and is also what makes oboes sound so distinctly oboe-y. While most students buy their reeds, professional oboists nearly always make their own. The making of oboe reeds is a fine art and its secrets are not to be shared with the general public. Rumors are spread of sacrifices of both blood and small animals, and it is true that reed making requires exceedingly sharp knives. Ever wonder why oboeists tend to have all those little cuts running up and down their fingers? It is a skill handed down from teacher to student through generations of oboists when the teacher realizes the student no longer has any money left to pay for hundred dollar reeds.
Oboe reeds are small and delicate. They break easily, never lasting more than a week. While non-oboists realize that it is a lost cause, oboists spend much of their lives trying to create the perfect reed, believing that it would make the oboe actually sound good. They spend hours at a time locked in small rooms with no windows, doing whatever it is they do to make the things, cursing colorfully the entire time. When they come out and start playing they then blame everything they do wrong on their reeds. Teachers actually tell students to do this. Oboists believe that no one will realize how bad a player they are if they claim to be having reed problems rather than admitting a mistake. They typically sit there and stare at their reed. They take it off, suck the hell out of it, and still stare at it awkwardly.
It is also worth pointing out the difference in American and European reed making. Even though the facts on what the actual difference is are fuzzy (top secret among oboists, that is) the difference in tone is quite distinct; or so oboists will claim. While the average layperson just hears painful caterwauling, an oboist will point out how much darker the American tone is and how much more nasal European oboists sound. Most even will admit the other sort of tone is quite bad, that is, Americans will insist that Europeans sound horrible and vise versa. In these cases, it is best to just agree with them. Insulting the oboe in front of an oboist is sometimes fatal, but always ends with a few missing fingers(usually taken off with a reed making knife sometimes bitten off) and a reed up the butt.