A Tribute to the Most Celebrated Classical Composers

  Woodwind Instruments



   Epochs of
Classical Music


    Percussion Instruments
    String Instruments      



    The woodwind family, much like the brass family, depends on the vibration of air in a tube. The woodwinds, however, due things differently. While the flute is played by merely by playing into the mouthpiece, other woodwind instruments like the oboe and the bassoon achieve their sound with the help of a reed. A reed is a slice of cane that is inserted into the instrument and used to create vibrating air inside the tubing. In clarinets and saxophones, a single reed accomplishes individual tones. In more complex instruments like the oboe and the bassoon, double reeds that vibrate against each other give the instruments a more nasal sound than the single reed instruments.

    The flutes are descendants of the recorders that many younger students play in their schools today. As such they have a high pitched, piercing quality that has made the flute a permanent member of the orchestras since the 18th century. A combination of flutes and violins make for delicate and sweet melodies. Usually two oboes are staples also of modern day orchestras and they compet with the flutes for agility and richness of register. Unlike flutists, however, oboe players never directly touch the mouthpiece of an oboe, and depend on the their double reed. Most musicians, then, make their own reeds. While these two instruments have a pretty high register, the bassoon plays more of a bass sounding tone. The size of the bassoon, however, makes playing very difficult for the musician. Saxophones are also members of the woodwind family, but they have become used more for big band music and jazz then in the orchestra.

Orchestra   Chopin   Tchaikovsky   Beethoven   Liszt   Strauss Jr.   Brahms

©Jorge Aguilar 2003
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