Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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HAUTBOYS.
47
It is difficult to imagine how so delicate an instru­ment as the oboe, which Schubart in his "^Esthetic der Tonhurst" calls the "coquette of the orchestra," could have been of any service to the military. But we must remember that the oboe of that period was a very coarse thing compared to our modern instrument. It was non-chromatic, and played with a reed almost as large as that used with a present-day bassoon. Such an instrument was well adapted for military purposes, and we can readily accept the testimony of the learned Mersenne (" Harmonie Universelle," 1639), who said that it gave a tone louder than all other instruments, except the trumpet. Even in Mozart's day, it was so formidable that the composer of "Don Giovanni" re­marked that it had such " impudence of tone," no other instrument could contend with it.
Oboes were introduced into the British service in the year 1678, when six of them were granted to the Horse Grenadiers, "a new sort of soldier," says
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