Have you ever wondered how anyone ever created a musical instrument?
Really, a guitar is kind of a complicated piece of musical machinery. Every time I see one, it amazes me that someone invented it.
Look at other inventions, like say the air conditioner, which was named the most important invention of all time (or maybe just the 20th century). That makes sense. You’re in your cramped apartment. It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s humid. You need relief. You think, “If there was only some way to cool this air, to somehow condition it, if you will.” You go to work in your shop, and days later, voila: the air conditioner.
Do you think you could look at wood and strings and think “guitar” if you’d never seen such a thing?
Other instruments also amaze me, particularly things like the accordion, bassoon and the ukulele (as if someone sat around saying, “You know what would make this guitar better? If we shrunk it and then made it sound worse. Oh, think of the possibilities, Tiny Tim.”).
Even stranger are instruments like the oboe. Who looked at the various wind instruments and thought, “Y’know, what we need is one that’s about six feet long with slides and keys everywhere … that’ll be practical!”
In the course of my 31-plus years on this planet, I have met many musicians, from wanna-be rock stars to high school band members to backyard maestros of the banjo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone play the oboe.
The name has something to do with its lack of popularity. It sounds like a cockney version of “hobo,” and do you really want to be associated with a dirty, smelly, drunk (would adding that he’s also British be redundant?) person whose riding the rails with all his belongings tucked away in a little knapsack on a stick?
Oddly enough, as I e-mailed Cory about this – and in the process stole his initial impressions of the oboe – I also started looking up some Wilco lyrics. One of the people who sent in the words to a song had this e-mail address:
Now, this person isn’t just a mere fan of the oboe but is, in fact, an oboe diva. Even better, there are at least two other people in the world who also wanted to declare themselves divas of the oboe industry, thus causing this particular oboe diva (who was probably too busy with her general oboeness to worry about things like hurriedly securing an e-mail address) to settle for being third.
I wonder how many other oboe divas are out there, and I’m almost tempted to start e-mailing each of the three known divas to find out a) just why she chose the title; and b) how much she’s enjoying seventh grade.
I’d also like to e-mail various other oboe divas just by tacking on increasing numbers to the end “oboe_diva” and then sending them to a
hotmail.com address. I wonder how many would get kicked back to me. Do other oboe divas exist with Google accounts? These are things we need to learn.