The oboe is a double-reed woodwind instrument. There are several different sizes of instrument in the oboe "family". The oboe is most common instrument of the family, and is pitched in the key of C. There is a slightly larger instrument, called the oboe d'amore (the oboe of love) which is pitched in the key of A, the larger cor anglais (English horn) pitched in the key of F and the heckelphone, pitched in the key of C, but an octave below the oboe.
The oboe uses double reeds, unlike the saxophone family and the clarinet family, which use a single reed. The double reeds are more complex to make which means that oboe reeds cost more than the average single reed. But it is all worth it, because if the reed is kept safe, it can last for over two months until the sound goes sour. Whenever possible, buy hand-made reeds or make your own, instead of getting the machine made ones. Hand-made reeds are more carefully made than factory reeds, and will most likely last a while longer. All players need to learn to adjust their reeds so that they can get the best possible tone.
The oboe has a unique sound. Some would say that it is "annoying" or "horrible", but that means that you do not know the beauty of it. A famous pun is that the oboe is "an ill wind that nobody plays good." To oboe players, the oboe is a wonderful instrument, and, if the oboe is tuned right, the musician can convey this majestic sound for their audience to hear. The oboe is also known to be tuned to in an orchestra because of how hard it is to tune.