wind instrument

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wind instrument,

in music, any instrument whose tone is produced by a vibrating column of air. In the pipe organorgan,
a musical wind instrument in which sound is produced by one or more sets of pipes controlled by a keyboard, each pipe producing only one pitch by means of a mechanically produced or electrically controlled wind supply.
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 the column of air is set into vibration by mechanical means. Other wind instruments are blown by the player and are divided into two groups, the woodwinds and the brass winds, or brasses. The woodwinds include the fluteflute,
in music, generic term for such wind instruments as the fife, the flageolet, the panpipes, the piccolo, and the recorder. The tone of all flutes is produced by an airstream directed against an edge, producing eddies that set up vibrations in the air enclosed in the
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 family, played without a reed, the clarinetclarinet,
musical wind instrument of cylindrical bore employing a single reed. The clarinet family comprises all single-reed instruments, including the saxophone. The predecessor of the modern clarinet was the simpler chalumeau, which J. C. Denner of Nuremberg improved (c.
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 family, having single-reed mouthpieces, and the oboeoboe
[Ital., from Fr. hautbois] or hautboy
, woodwind instrument of conical bore, its mouthpiece having a double reed. The instruments possessing these general characteristics may be referred to as the oboe family, which includes the English horn, the bassoon,
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 family, having double-reed mouthpieces (see reed instrumentreed instrument,
in music, an instrument whose sound-producing agent is a thin strip of cane, wood, plastic, or metal that vibrates as air is passed over it. The predecessor of these instruments is the Chinese sheng.
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). The brass winds include the buglebugle,
brass wind musical instrument consisting of a conical tube coiled once upon itself, capable of producing five or six harmonics. It is usually in G or B flat. Its principal use is for military and naval bugle calls, such as taps and reveille, and, in earlier times, for
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, cornetcornet,
brass wind musical instrument, created in France about 1830 by adding valves to the post horn. It is usually in B flat and is the same size as the B flat trumpet, but has a more conical bore.
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, ophicleideophicleide
[Gr.,=serpent with keys], brass wind musical instrument of relatively wide conical bore, largest of the keyed bugles; invented in 1817 by Jean-Hilaire Asté of Paris.
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, trombonetrombone
[Ital.,=large trumpet], brass wind musical instrument of cylindrical bore, twice bent on itself, having a sliding section that lengthens or shortens it and thus regulates the pitch. The descendant of the sackbut, it was developed in the 15th cent.
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, trumpettrumpet,
brass wind musical instrument of part cylindrical, part conical bore, in the shape of a flattened loop and having three piston valves to regulate the pitch. Its origin is ancient; records of a type of simple valveless trumpet are found in China from as early as 2000 B.C.
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, and tubatuba
[Lat.,=trumpet], valved brass wind musical instrument of wide conical bore. The term tuba is applied rather loosely to any low-pitched brass instrument other than the trombone; such instruments vary in size, and are known by various names.
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, all having cup-shaped mouthpieces, and the French hornFrench horn,
brass wind musical instrument. Fundamentally a metal tube of narrow conical bore, it is curved into circles because of its great length. The horn ends in a wide flare. It is a development (c.1650) of the small hunting horn.
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, having a funnel-shaped mouthpiece. In the brasses the lips of the player perform the function of reeds. The wind passage of a wind instrument is called the bore and may be conical or cylindrical; its flared edge is called the bell. Woodwind and brass instruments are now best distinguished according to their mouthpieces, since metal flutes and saxophones remain woodwinds regardless of the material used to make them.


See A. Baines, Woodwind Instruments and Their History (rev. ed. 1963); A. Carse, Musical Wind Instruments (2d ed. 1965); R. Donington, Instruments of Music (3d ed. 1970).

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wind instrument

any musical instrument sounded by the breath, such as the woodwinds and brass instruments of an orchestra
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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