What is the oboe’s role in the classical orchestra? Furthermore, winds in general?
I’m trying to compose something for a small orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, timpani, and strings), and I’m a bit lost on the wind instruments, particularly the oboe. I have so far arranged my main theme like this: strings, bassoon, clarinet, and flute, state the ‘masculine’ ‘question’, followed by a lighter, ‘feminine’ response from the strings alone. I want oboe in that response, but I’m unsure how to incorporate it. Should an oboe double the melody the violins are playing? Should the oboe play a high pedal tone above it? Should I leave the oboe out for now?


  1. A high pedal tone? Am I unclear on the concept of pedal tones, or is this an oxymoron (in more ways than one, since I’ve only known it as a brass thing)?

  2. You got me, dk! I sure didn’t “get it” … but I don’t get why would someone write for oboe when he/she hasn’t a CLUE about it, either. (Of course I don’t “get” a lot of stuff!)