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> INSTRUMENTOLOGY > WOODWINDS > Oboe > Sound Combinations

Sound Combinations

Oboe + woodwinds

Oboe + flute
Played in unison with the flute the oboe sounds more mellow.

Oboe + clarinet
Combinations with the clarinet are possible every context: in unison , in octaves and in chords. All produce a full sound, which is dominated either by the substantial clarinet or the bright oboe, depending on the register.

Oboe + bassoon
The sound of the oboe and the bassoon is related due to the fact that they are both double-reed instruments. Played together they sound very powerful: the acerbic quality of the oboe is toned down somewhat while the bassoon sound becomes more clearly defined. Sound combinations in octaves or double octaves have proved useful and have an organ-like quality. Because of the instrument’s different pitches the possibilities for playing in unison are limited.

Oboe + brass instruments

Oboe + trumpet
Playing in unison with the trumpet produces a brilliant sound, because both instruments have a large number of overtones.

Oboe + horn
The horn is often muted for playing in unison with the oboe. The oboe is well suited to playing an octave above the trumpet and horn parts.

The lower-pitched brass instruments are less well suited for playing in combination with the oboe, unless they are played with a mute (especially the trombones).

Oboe + stringed instruments

Stringed instruments achieve a good blend with the woodwinds. The oboe makes the strings sound more intense, while losing some of its own keenness.

Oboe + violin, viola
One of the most common sound combinations of all is the oboe and violin played in unison, since both are excellent melody instruments. Playing in unison is also possible with the viola.

Oboe + cello
The oboe often plays an octave above the cello.