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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
hautbois
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0043  Tuesday, 11 January 2005

From:           Jean-Luc Elghozi <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Dec 2004 10:58:58 +0100
Subject:        hautbois

[Editor's Note: This request arrived while I was taking a break. Anyone
who would care to respond should do so directly to Dr. Elghozi at

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  since he is not a member of the list.]

Dear Pr. Cook,

You are expert in Shakespeare and therefore you might help me for an
etymology question. I am looking for the origin of the word hautbois
(oboe). Most people (nearly all!) defend the idea that it derives from
haut (high register) and bois (flute) but I heard it might derive from
hault boys. The hault boys were playing a high register flute I suppose.

Actually my browser found a text from Shakespeare that mentions 'hault
boys out of tune who were playing music'! Am I right? Am I wrong? You
should know the proper answer. That would help me and satisfy my
curiosity whatever it is.

I thank you in advance for your help. I am professor of medicine.
Nothing to do with Shakespeare I confess but interested in music. I play
tuba and I love oboe.

Best wishes for 2005.

Yours,
Pr. Jean-Luc ELGHOZI
Pharmacologie Clinique / Nephrologie
Hopital Necker
149 rue de Sevres
75015 Paris
Tel : 01.44.49.49.20
Fax : 01.44.07.90.40
Mail : 
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