08. August 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: BQOD

In an orchestra, there are “numbered” designations for the hierarchy of musicians and their instruments. The best clarinet player is called “first clarinet,” the best oboist is called [omitted name here] (or “first oboe”) etc. The second “best” are called “second oboe,” and so on. Does this mean, in fact, that “third violin” plays “second fiddle” to the second fiddle?


  1. wow, something about that really rubs me the wrong way. second oboe is really hard! sometimes harder than playing first! and the principal player DEPENDS on the second oboist a lot. it’s just a different way of playing / personality, not lesser. if you’ve ever played in a section with a reluctant 2nd oboist, you come to truly appreciate a really good 2nd oboist.

  2. My guess is that the writer of this (if I’m remembering the blog correctly) is the mother of a first oboist in a youth ensemble. So take it with a grain of salt. But of course I put it up because it sort of annoyed me but mostly made me laugh.

    Second oboe is one of the most difficult and under appreciated positions ever, isn’t it?

    And it really doesn’t mean the first is better in a professional group … just means the first won the audition.

    But really, I think this was a mom writing. Moms say silly things. 😉