Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPerforming Arts · 1 decade ago

Why do oboes tune orchestra?

I'm a principal oboist of school orchetra, and I always give A's to tun the orchestra. But I still don't know why oboes tune the orchestra. I tried to research and here are the couple of possible answers.

1. Oboe is the easiest instrument to play in tune.

2. Oboe is the least adjustable instrument.

3. Oboe can play the overtones most easily.

4. Oboe has the least amount of overtones.

as you can see, #1 and #2 kinda contradicts each other, so does #3 and #4. Personally, I think it's either #3 or #4, but i'm not sure. Is there any other reason beside these?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have the REAL answer to this one. It's kind of weird, but a professional oboist AND my band teachers told me this.

    Apparently, the oboe is the only instrument that cannot be "otherwise tuned". You cannot tune an oboe. If you study internments carefully, you will find that they can all be tuned. Brass instrument with slides, woodwind, by pulling out the mouthpiece. But try pulling out the mouthpiece of an oboe to tune it will alter the air so much that you cannot play it properly.

    An oboe is tunes at the time it is made, using high-tech tuners. Its sound will always remain the same. It cannot go sharp, and it cannot go flat. It will always retain its pure, perfectly tuned note. Make a very slight adjustment on any other instrument, the sound goes flat or sharp.

    There you have it. The reason an oboe is always used is because it is the only instrument that cannot be tuned by hand, thus forever retaining its perfect factory-tuned notes.

    So, yes, your theory with #1 and #2 are on the right track.

    Forgive my if parts are sort of incorrect, like the mouthpiece and oboe part. I've never touched a woodwind in my life.

    I play the French Horn.

  • 4 years ago

    Orchestra Tuning

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    RE:

    Why do oboes tune orchestra?

    I'm a principal oboist of school orchetra, and I always give A's to tun the orchestra. But I still don't know why oboes tune the orchestra. I tried to research and here are the couple of possible answers.

    1. Oboe is the easiest instrument to play in tune.

    2. Oboe is the least...

    Source(s): oboes tune orchestra: https://biturl.im/0mqrq
  • 4 years ago

    As was said, the oboe gives the A. If an orchestra is playing a piece for only strings, the concertmaster will give the A. Only beginner level orchestras need anything else. Musicians do their preliminary tuning backstage, then do a final tuning on stage. They also warm up backstage. The temperature may be different on stage making the pitch vary somewhat, so the final tuning in professional groups is always done on stage.

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  • 1 decade ago

    First not all orchestras tune to oboe. It is also common to tune to the Clarinet, and I've seen them tune to the low brass as well or on rare occasions the mallet instruments of the percussion. (Some has to do with conductors preference)

    Therefore some of it has to do with tradition.

    The reason the orchestra tunes to the oboe is because they can not adjust their instrument. All intontation relies on the embourchure.

    It is also an instrument that is the middle of the tonal range, therefore it is better to tune.

    Oboes also have the ability to project over the orchestra and can be heard during tuning. Could you imagine trying to tune to a violin?

  • 7 years ago

    I've seen the orchestra tune to the piano in the event that a piano concerto is about to be played. But the oboe is generally the norm.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That's a good question. In college we used to use a strobe tuner (electronic) but oboes usually hold that distinction. If I had to guess I think it would be because of its clear distinct sound. The timbre lends itself to violins, other strings, woodwinds, high brass. Whereas if you wanted the least adjustable it'd probably be the bassoon but its "A" would be an octave lower (too low for upper strings) . I don't know ...that's a GOOD question.

  • 6 years ago

    My band teacher told me that all the other instruments leaned toward the oboe and the sound made it very clear. Also he said that it can't be tuned.

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