Wind Instruments

Have you ever made a sound by blowing on a piece of grass between your hands? Then you have played a wind instrument.

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Wind Instruments

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The sound from wind instrument is made by air vibrating in a pipe or tube. A pipe organ is a good example of a wind instrument. Other wind instruments are the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone.

The musician blows in one end, and the music comes out the other end. The pitch of the note depends on the frequency of the air vibration as it goes through the instrument. The frequency of the air vibration depends on the size of the air chamber, or the size and length of the tube. The larger the instrument, the deeper the sound.

Many wind instruments have a reed on the mouthpiece of the instrument. When the musician blows air over the reed, it starts vibrating. This is similar to making a sound by blowing on a piece of grass between your hands. The vibrating reed starts the air vibrating through the instrument.

To change the pitch of the sound, some instruments such as the flute have holes in the tube. The musician covers the holes with her fingers. Covering and overcovering the holes changes the path of the air, changing the air chamber size, and therefore the pitch of the note.

Other instruments, such as the saxophone and clarinet, use valves instead of fingers to cover the holes. The musician presses the valve, which opens the hole, to change the pitch of the note.


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