Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slender woodwind instrument with a conical bore and a double-reed mouthpiece, having a range of three octaves and a penetrating, poignant sound.
  • n. A reed stop in an organ that produces a sound similar to that of the oboe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soprano and melody wind instrument in the modern orchestra and wind ensemble. It is a smaller instrument and generally made of grendilla wood. It is a member of the double reed family.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the higher wind instruments in the modern orchestra, yet of great antiquity, having a penetrating pastoral quality of tone, somewhat like the clarinet in form, but more slender, and sounded by means of a double reed; a hautboy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An important musical instrument of the wood wind group, and the type of the family in which the tone is produced by a double reed.
  • n. In organ-building, a reed-stop with metal pipes which give a penetrating and usually very effective oboe-like tone. It is usually placed in the swell organ.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a slender double-reed instrument; a woodwind with a conical bore and a double-reed mouthpiece

Etymologies

Italian, from French hautbois; see hautboy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
An earlier form in English is hautboy, but the spelling oboe was adopted into English ca. 1770 from the Italian oboè, a transliteration in that language's orthography of the 17th-century pronunciation of the French word hautbois, a compound word made of haut ("high, loud") and bois ("wood, woodwind"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I think it helped me get the structure of music in my mind, starting with oboe, which is a C instrument, and I played that when I was in fourth grade because I was too young to be in the band and they won't let me in.

    Booker T. Jones: Onions, Potatoes, Other Essentials

  • Mp3tunes is also great, there's a small plugin which sits on your machine called the oboe locker which just sits in the background uploading and downloading changes to your itunes or mp3tunes locker; very very useful.

    So much to write about, so little time

  • I mean, the oboe is a very piercing instrument, as you know.

    Oboist Liang Wang: His Reeds Come First

  • Plus the AGONIZING descriptions of reed-making, the bane of every oboist's existence: the oboe is the true love of my life, I played a bunch of other instruments too but the oboe was THE ONE except for the torment, the agony, of the reed thing.

    Last post for 2005!

  • There was an intermediate instrument a third lower than the oboe, used by Bach, called the oboe d'amore, which was probably used with the cornemuse or bagpipe, and another, a third higher than the oboe, called musette (not the small bagpipe of that name).

    Scientific American Supplement No. 819, September 12, 1891

  • From the bass and double quint pommers came ultimately the bassoon and contra-bassoon, and from the alto pommer, an obsolete instrument for which Bach wrote, called the oboe di caccia, or hunting oboe, an appellation unexplained, unless it had originally a horn-like tone, and was, as it has been suggested to me by Mr. Blaikley, used by those who could not make a real hunting horn sound.

    Scientific American Supplement No. 819, September 12, 1891

  • The oboe is a representative type of the higher pitched double-reed instruments.

    Critical and Historical Essays Lectures delivered at Columbia University

  • At 11, he abandoned the piano in favor of the oboe, but only because he joined his junior high school orchestra so late that the oboe was the only instrument left.

    The News Tribune Blogs

  • (Before modern versions of instruments, the oboe was the most sonically stable instrument, and so the most likely to be in tune).

    www.buzz.mn -

  • If you learn the clarinet, then the oboe is a relatively easy transition.

    New Kid on the Hallway

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