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Woodwind instrument

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A woodwind instrument is a wind instrument in which sound is produced by blowing against an edge or by a vibrating reed, and in which the pitch governed by the resonant frequencies of an enclosed air column. As the name implies, such instruments were originally made of wood, but some modern woodwinds, such as the saxophone, are made of other materials.


[edit] Types of woodwind instrument

  • Single-reed instruments use a reed, which is a thinly sliced piece of cane or plastic that is held against the aperture of a mouthpiece with a ligature. When air is forced between the reed and the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates, creating the sound. Single reed instruments include the clarinet and saxophone families of instruments.
  • Double-reed instruments use two precisely cut, small pieces of cane joined together at the base. The finished, bound reed is inserted into the top of the instrument and vibrates as air is forced between the two pieces of bound cane. There are two sub-families:
    • Exposed double reed instruments, where the reed goes between the player's lips. The oboe, cor anglais (also called english horn) and bassoon make up the more popular instruments within this family.
    • Capped double reed instruments, where there is a cap covering up the reed with a hole in that the player just blows through. This family includes most bagpipes and the crumhorn.
  • Flutes, in which the sound is produced by blowing against an edge. There are two sub-families:
    • Open flute family, where the player uses his/her lips to form the stream of air which goes directly from the players lips to the edge, e.g. the transverse flute. Modern flutes are usually made of silver plated brass, nickel plated brass, solid silver, or gold.
    • Closed flute family, where the instrument forms and directs the stream over the edge. This family includes whistle and the recorder family.

One interesting difference between woodwind and brass instruments is that woodwind instruments are non-directional. This means that the sound produced propagates in all directions with approximately equal volume. Brass instruments, on the other hand, are highly directional, with most of the sound produced traveling straight outward from the bell. This difference makes it significantly more difficult to record a woodwind instrument accurately. It also plays a major role in some performance situations, such as in marching bands.

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This article was started using a Wikipedia instrument article
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