Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

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English rock group. It was formed in Manchester in 1992 by Noel Gallagher (b Old Trafford, 29 May 1967; lead guitar and vocals), his brother Liam Gallagher (b Burnage, 21 Sept 1972; lead vocals), Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs (b 23 June 1965; rhythm guitar: later replaced by Gem Archer), Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan (b 19 May 1971; bass guitar: later replaced by Andy Bell) and Tony McCarroll (drums: later replaced by Alan White, b 26 May 1972). After signing to the indie label Creation, the band's first single, Supersonic (1994), set down the blueprint for their trademark style of slow-tempo, catchy pop songs. Liam Gallagher's sullen, declamatory delivery owes much to previous groups associated with Manchester, particularly the Happy Mondays, but Oasis grafted a melodic, song-based aesthetic onto their work, largely foreswearing the dance-oriented music of their local scene. Their excellent first album, Definitely Maybe (1994), contained the sublime tracks Live Forever and Slide Away. Unabashed admirers of Lennon and McCartney, their Christmas single for that year, Whatever, complete with a string section and sing-along chorus, was an artful Beatles pastiche. What's the Story (Morning Glory) (1995) contained a string of successful UK hits such as Roll with It, and the rock ballads Wonderwall and Don't Look Back in Anger. Be Here Now, the most eagerly anticipated album of the year and an instant UK number one, was similar in style, if with a harder rock edge. Oasis's fusion of 1960s Beatles-inspired melodies, 1970s Slade-influenced glam rock and 1980s Happy Mondays' indie styles has made them one of the most commercially successful British bands of the 1990s. The Masterplan, a collection of ‘B-side’ releases, entered the UK charts in 1998. For further information see P. Hewitt: Getting High: the Adventures of Oasis (London, 1997).


Obadiah the Proselyte

(fl Oppido, Apulia, early 12th century). Norman-Italian baronet. A convert to Judaism, he was responsible for the earliest surviving manuscript source of Jewish music; see Jewish music, §I, 3.

Obbligato (i)

(It.: ‘necessary’).

An adjective or noun referring to an essential instrumental part. The term is often used for a part ranking in importance just below the principal melody and not to be omitted. Obbligato is the opposite of Ad libitum when the latter qualifies the mention of a part in a title. On the title-page of Corelli's Concerti Grossi op.6, for example, the concertino parts are designated ‘obligato’ while the ripieno parts are described as ‘ad arbitrio, che si potranno radoppiare’ (as you wish, when you are able to double the parts). Used in connection with a keyboard part in the 18th century, obbligato designated a fully written-out part instead of a figured bass. Sometimes obbligato means simply independent, as in C.P.E. Bach's Orchester Sinfonien mit zwölf obligaten Stimmen (1780).

In music for voice with instruments, ‘obbligato’ refers to a prominent instrumental part in an aria or other number. The archetype of the obbligato part is the instrumental solo which, with a basso continuo, constitutes the accompaniment of vast numbers of late Baroque arias. The direct antecedents of the late Baroque phenomenon are to be found in the concertato style of the early 17th century. Schütz's Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore (Symphoniae sacrae, i, 1629) for soprano, tenor, bass and continuo, with obbligato ‘cornetto, o violino’ is an early example, and the trumpet arias in later 17th-century opera carry on the development. Examples in Mozart's operas include one for horn in Mitridate (1770), one with flute, oboe, violin and cello in Die Entführung (1782) and the arias with clarinet and basset-horn in La clemenza di Tito (1791). An especially ornate violin obbligato appears in the Benedictus of Beethoven's Mass in D. Such parts were often less formal in the 19th century, but prominent obbligato writing for flute in particular is not unusual in Romantic opera – for example in the cadenza of the traditional version of the Mad Scene in Lucia di Lammermoor (1835) – and the cello and english horn are often assigned an obbligato role in melancholy contexts.


Obbligato (ii).

The term recitativo obbligato (or recitativo strumentato) is sometimes used for ‘accompanied recitative’; that is, recitative accompanied by the orchestra instead of the continuo alone (see Recitative).


Obbligato (iii).

The term ‘obbligato homophony’ is sometimes applied to the symphonic textures of Haydn and his contemporaries, characterized by a wealth of prominent, independent part-writing but not formal polyphony.


Obbligo [obligo]

(It.: ‘obligation’).

A 17th-century term indicating a compositional problem or task which the composer chooses to treat throughout a piece. An example is Frescobaldi's Ricercar ottavo (from Ricercari, et canzoni francese fatte sopra diversi oblighi, 1615), in which the voice parts have the ‘obligation’ to avoid conjunct motion entirely (‘obligo di non uscire mai di grado’). More frequently the term indicates that the subject or theme – usually written at the head of the composition in solmization syllables, as in Frescobaldi's Ricercar quarto, obligo mi re fa mi (1615) – forms the chosen structural basis of the piece. In such pieces the ‘obligation’ is to maintain consistently the identity of the theme, which may be treated imitatively or canonically as a kind of migrant cantus firmus, or as an ostinato in one voice (e.g. Frescobaldi's Ricercar con obligo del basso come appare in Fiori musicali, 1635). Romano Micheli's Musica vaga et artificiosa continente motetti con oblighi, et canoni diversi (1615) contains several five-voice motets in which the performer must resolve an ‘obligation’ set by the composer; Veni sponsa Christi, for example, has four written parts and the ‘obligo’ of a fifth part consisting of a six-note cantus firmus on the plainchant melody which is to be repeated five times to as many different mensurations. Paolo Agostini wrote a number of canonic masses with obblighi (published in 1627). An eight-voice Agnus Dei ‘con obbligo sopra la sol fa mi re ut’ (ed. in G.B. Martini: Esemplare ossia Saggio fondamentale pratico di contrappunto, ii, Bologna, 1775/R, pp.295ff) has the hexachord obbligo treated canonically in the upper two voices while the remaining six voices are derived from two one-in-three canons. Romano Micheli's 20-voice canon Dialogus annuntiationis (1625), with 30 obblighi, forms a highpoint in complexity in treating such pre-established restrictions.


I. Horsley: Fugue: History and Practice (New York, 1966)

H.E. Smither: ‘Romano Micheli's “Dialogus Annuntiationis” (1625): a Twenty-Voice Canon with Thirty “Obblighi”’, AnMc, no.5 (1968), 34–91
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