Wind Instruments

Wind instruments produce sound by a vibrating column of air, either using a reed or a musician's lips. It is classified into two groups; woodwinds and brasswinds. In Ancient civilization, wind instruments made of animal horns were used as a warning signal.

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A young man playing Great Highland Bagpipe during the summer Highland games at Tobermory
A young man playing Great Highland Bagpipe during the summer Highland games at Tobermory. Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo / Getty Images

The bagpipe is one of those instruments that requires a musician to have lung-power in order to play it. Bagpipes take more time to master than other wind instruments, but it seems to be a fun instrument to play.

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Bassoon player in orchestra
Hybrid Images / Getty Images

By the early 17th century, bassoons were included in orchestras, although it would achieve more prominence by the 18th century. The bassoon can be traced back to a musical instrument called curtal.

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A member of the Mauritian Police Force Band plays the clarinet.
A member of the Mauritian Police Force Band plays the clarinet. By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Felicito Rustique [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The clarinet has undergone many changes and innovations through the years. From its first inception during the late 1600s to today's clarinet models, this musical instrument has certainly gone a long way. Due to the many improvements it underwent, many different types of clarinets were made throughout the years.

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Contra-bassoonist Margaret Cookhorn
Contra-bassoonist Margaret Cookhorn. "Contrabassoon, Musicircus (6/14 jp31)" (CC BY 2.0) by Ted and Jen

Also known as double bassoon, this reed instrument that belongs to the wind family of musical instruments is bigger than the bassoon. That's why it's called "the bassoon's big brother." It is pitched lower than the bassoon and demands lung-power from a musician.

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Boy Playing Cornet in Music Class
Bob Thomas / Getty Images

The trumpet and cornet are quite similar; they are usually pitched in B flat, both are transposing instruments and they both have valves. But whereas the trumpet is used in jazz bands, the cornet is usually used in brass bands. Trumpets also have a more powerful sound and have a cylindrical bore. Cornets, on the other hand, have a conical bore.

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Dulcian
Dulcian, 1700, Museu de la Música de Barcelona. By Sguastevi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The dulcian is another double-reed wind instrument of the Renaissance period. It is the predecessor of the shawm and the precursor of the oboe.

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Charles Lloyd plays the flute.
Charles Lloyd, Brecon Jazz Festival, Powys, Wales, August 2000. Heritage Images / Getty Images

The flute belongs to the wind family of musical instruments. It is of ancient origin and was first made of wood. Now, however, the flute is made of silver and other metals. There are two types of methods used in playing the flute: side-blown or end-blown.

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Flutophone
Photo from Amazon

The flutophone is a lightweight, pre-band musical instrument that serves as a great introduction to playing other wind instruments such as the recorder. Flutophones are also inexpensive and quite easy to learn.

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Harmonica player
Bluesman RJ Mischo. "Blowin’" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by MarcCooper_1950

The harmonica is a free-reed wind instrument and is used in blues and folk music. Musicians such as Larry Adler and Sonny Boy Williamson played the harmonica. This is certainly an instrument worth trying out, very portable, affordable and offers a lot of opportunities for jam sessions.

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A woman plays the oboe.
Orkestar Slivovica. "Honk Fest West 2010-297" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Joe Mabel

The origin of the oboe can be traced back to instruments used in previous periods such as the shawm of the Renaissance. The soprano oboe was particularly favored during the 17th century.

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Children Playing Music on Recorders
Barry Lewis / Getty Images

The recorder is a wind instrument that emerged during the 14th century but disappeared during the mid-18th century. Fortunately, interest on this instrument was revived later on and many still enjoy the sweet sound of this instrument to this day.

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Sax lesson
"sax lesson with paul carr" (CC BY 2.0) by woodleywonderworks

The saxophone is known as a reed musical instrument that is a mainstay in jazz bands. Considered to be newer than other musical instruments in terms of its history, the saxophone was invented by Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax.

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Shawm on display in a museum.
Shawm on display at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology - Hanoi, Vietnam. By Daderot - Own work, CC0, Link

Many instruments which emerged during the Middle Ages, reached its peak during the Renaissance period. The shawm is a free-reed wind instrument that was used during the 13th to 17th centuries. It is still used to this day,

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Child Musician plays in Jackson Sq
Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

The trombone descended from the trumpet but it is shaped and sized quite differently. The tenor trombone is recommended for beginners and one interesting fact about learning to play the trombone is that it is either played in the bass or treble clef. When playing in a wind band or orchestra, music is written in the bass clef. When playing in a brass band, the music is written in the treble clef.

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Happy little boy playing trumpet
Imgorthand / Getty Images

The trumpet belongs to the brass family of wind instruments. This instrument is considered an orchestral instrument mostly used in jazz bands. The trumpet has a long and rich history. It is believed that it was used as a signaling device in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Near East.

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Men playing tubas in festival, Sucre (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bolivia
Men playing tubas in festival, Sucre (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bolivia. Ian Trower / Getty Images

The tuba is deep-sounding and is the largest instrument of the brasswind family. Like the trombone, music for the tuba can either be written in the bass or treble clef. Although it doesn't require as much lung-power as the trumpet, the tuba can be difficult to handle due to its size.