Wind Instruments

wind instrument

wind instrument, in music, any instrument whose tone is produced by a vibrating column of air. In the pipe organ 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 flute family, played without a reed, the clarinet family, having single-reed mouthpieces, and the oboe family, having double-reed mouthpieces (see reed instrument). The brass winds include the bugle, cornet, ophicleide, trombone, trumpet, and tuba, all having cup-shaped mouthpieces, and the French horn, 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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Wind Instruments: Selected full-text books and articles

The Early Flute By John Solum Oxford University Press, 1995
The Keyed Flute By Johann George Tromlitz; Ardal Powell Oxford University, 1996
The Baroque Clarinet By Albert R. Rice Clarendon Press, 1992
Treatise on Instrumentation By Hector Berlioz; Theodore Front Edwin F. Kalmus, 1948
Librarian’s tip: "Wind Instruments" begins on p. 161
Thesaurus of Orchestral Devices By Gardner Read Pitman Publishing Corporation, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Part II: Woodwinds & Part III: Brasses
Flute Technique By Gareth Morris Oxford University, 1991
Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students By Gordon Jacob Oxford University, 1982 (3rd edition)
The Wind and Wind-Chorus Music of Anton Bruckner By Keith William Kinder Greenwood Press, 2000
Twentieth-Century Brass Soloists By Michael Meckna Greenwood Press, 1994
A Dictionary of Old English Music & Musical Instruments By Jeffrey Pulver Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1923
A Musical Companion: A Guide to the Understanding and Enjoyment of Music By John Erskine Alfred A. Knopf, 1935
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of wood-wind instruments in several chapters
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