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Typical Modern Oboe

The oboe came from an ancient line of the well-respected black stick torture instruments. The oboe, in contrast with a clarinet, makes an excruciating sound of high-pitched flatulence. When played by a skilled person however, it becomes a more 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 their oboes immediately before playing the instrument. Many experts believe that it was this crazy combination of huffing and blowing that lead to the beginning of modern music and the wild popularity of the oboe today. Today, smoking reed is an activity only partaken by players of dubious moral standards, but is becoming legal in a few states.

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.


An oboe can be used to summon undead beings with its horrible sound. The oboe, being made of grenadilla or similar rosewoods, can also be used as a hollow shortsword for cutting down thy enemies.

For those without comedic tastes, the self-proclaimed experts at Wikipedia have an article very remotely related to Oboe.

The use of the oboe as a torture device dates back to the Egyptian times, when the law "if a man shalt put an eye out of another man, he shall have to listen to an oboe". Since then, oboes have stepped their rankings up, and their cult of assassins is working on a way to mutate the trombone with oboe genes to create the ultimate torture weapon.


A bass shawm. If you want to hear the low notes...

The design of the modern oboe is derived from the medieval shawm. Though the origins of the shawm are unclear, it was strongly associated with witchcraft in its early history. In comparison to the oboe, the shawm was longer and thinner. Twigs were often stuffed into the bell of the instrument in an attempt to silence the malevolent spirits contained within. Due to the striking similarities between the shawm and the broomstick, it is now thought that witches may in fact have used shawms as a means of aviation.

Very few examples of the shawm survive today. Following the implication of the shawm in the Black Plague in the mid 14th century, King Edward III ordered its destruction, offering handsome rewards to those who presented their instruments for burning. The shawm was saved by Queen Isabella I of Castille, who decreed its protection, realising its value as a torture instrument in the years of the Spanish Inquisition. Were it not for her intervention, it is possible the shawm may not have survived to give rise to the oboe in the mid-17th century.

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 and 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's 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" is derived from these gatherings. While these concerts were extremely popular among the French peasantry, they greatly angered Louis XVI, an intense but jealous oboe fan. Convinced that only he had the right to hear the sound of the oboe, 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. Marie Antoinette then famously said "Let them hear the oboe" but was promptly executed by Louis XVI.

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 some reed and gave a free oboe concert, to the delight of the 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, and oboes!) Later on, famed oboist Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks to victory, declaring that all oboes were now the property of the state. George Washington disagreed, and led a counter-revolution.

Modern Oboes[edit]

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. Skilled players can make used of additional spatial dimensions to reach those hard-to-reach keys, sometimes multiple keys at once.

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 (they smoke a lot of reed).

Other Oboe Varieties[edit]

English Horn[edit]

Also known as the "cor anglais," the English horn is neither English, nor a horn. It can be played using the nose as well as the mouth and is scientifically proven to be 20% more sexy than the normal oboe.

Oboe d'amore[edit]

The result of a controversial mating program between the oboe and the English horn, the oboe d'amore was long shunned by professional musicians as being "weird and nerdy" until it was discovered that playing it confers upon the player mild immortality.

Typical Oboe Players[edit]

Within a group, there are noticeably few oboists. (This is to reduce the amount of pain the audience has 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 a few categories, united by their oddity.

The "Oboist"[edit]

This musician is the oboist in its 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"[edit]

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.

The Slacker[edit]

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. They also tend to have no conceptual understanding of "tuning." Slackers usually huff the most cheetahs and are the biggest party animals.


Part of the typical oboist's arsenal, one of the reasons that few people mess with them.

Unfortunately, there are some dumbasses that mess with oboists, not realizing that they are required to carry knives and other sharp instruments around at all times. They usually die instantly. Here are the instruments with the highest mortality rates.


Girl oboist usually fight with girl flute players over the hot bassoon player or their inability to be in tune. 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. Actually, when the first grenadilla tree was grown, it was cut in two. God took the upper half and made an oboe, while Satan took The lower half and made the clarinet. Clarinetists, jealous that they only had one reed while oboes had two, would usually steal oboe reeds to use as tooth picks. Then the oboist would steal their reeds to make oboe reeds and firewood to burn the euphonium player's body since nobody EVER cares about them. Their clarinets are then shaved down and converted to oboes.


Trombones have been hating the sound of the oboe since the beginning of time, and will voice their opinion near oboists and make mocking squeaking sounds anytime an oboist walks by. Oboists will pretend to ignore them and "sing the song of their people" any time they're near a trombonist.

The infamous oboe reed[edit]

“No, really, it's the reed's fault!”

~ Oboe player on oboe reeds

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 squeaky, high pitched noise they make while they aren't shoved into the oboe. The players usually squeak 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. Playing two reeds at the same time will open a portal and summon Cthulhu.

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 oboists 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 Europeans will point to American reeds as being "disgusting" and "incorrect". 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, but sometimes bitten off) and a reed up the butt.

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