Skip to main content
20 votes

Woodwind v brass instruments - what is the defining characteristic?

Musical instruments are classified by the way the sound is produced. The material is immaterial and brass and woodwind instruments can both be made from metal, plastic or wood. Woodwind instruments ...
Dave the Sax's user avatar
17 votes

How to distinguish between different instruments in a classical orchestra?

You begin by listening to individual instruments, to learn what they sound like, and the variations in their sound. Solo pieces, quartets, etc. are one way to do this. Searching Youtube for instrument ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 1,076
16 votes

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

The vibrating air column in the bore extends past the openings of the tube. Any calculation of the pitch needs to take this into account and add end corrections for both ends of the flute. There's one ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
16 votes
Accepted

What woodwind & brass instruments are most air efficient?

can I make clarinets and French horns play for extended periods of time without them protesting against my score for either air or difficulty reasons? No. You can’t extend any particular instrument. ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.8k
15 votes

How to distinguish between different instruments in a classical orchestra?

There are several compositions written in purpose to present the orchestra, the instrument sections and the single instruments to the audience and especially for children like Peter and the wolf (...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar
14 votes

How to distinguish between different instruments in a classical orchestra?

Get an idea, how each instrument sounds separately (as covered in other answers) Train to read scores of ensembles with increasing number of instruments while listening. For orchestra pieces like ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 11k
14 votes
Accepted

How well can woodwind instruments leap large intervals?

In fact woodwinds are particularly good at doing jumps very quickly because on a woodwind essentially all your fingers stay at the same place. This means that theoretically to get from one note to a ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 20.5k
11 votes

Which version of notating dynamics for woodwinds is more clear?

No.2 if you want the 'p' to start exactly on the third beat.
Tim's user avatar
  • 193k
11 votes

How well can woodwind instruments leap large intervals?

These leaps should be okay. Mozart, for example, in his concerti for flute, oboe, and clarinet, respectively, routinely included leaps of two octaves. Some woodwind leap examples from Mozart Flute ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 88.2k
10 votes

How many tone holes are there actually in different orchestral woodwind instruments?

Every wind instrument has a theoretically infinite range, which is only limited by the player's skill. The first octave is the fundamental, and then all higher notes are played as overtones of that ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
10 votes

Breath Marks (different symbols)

The comma is plainly called "breath mark" and is the most commonly used version in symphonic and vocal music. The "tick" mark is called luftpause and is of German origin according to Oxford Music ...
NickGrooves's user avatar
  • 1,657
10 votes
Accepted

Wind instruments: why is the left hand on top?

Western woodwind instruments were played with either hand on top up to the eighteenth century when keys started to be added. The first key on the modern flute was the D-sharp/E-flat key which was on ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
10 votes

Is it difficult to transition from German fingering to Baroque fingering?

There are only a few differences between the two fingering systems. For a soprano (descant) recorder the main difference is for fingering F and F#. So, it shouldn't be too hard to transition between ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
9 votes

Music Physics Question - Automatic Trumpet Embouchure Mouthpiece

This has been done, at least as an experiment. There's a paper Artificial buzzing lips and brass instruments: Experimental results (pdf download link) in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
9 votes

How similar (or not) are recorder, fife, and flute fingerings?

Out of the entire extended flute family, you've managed to name three that are about as far apart as they get! However, I'd still say that all woodwind fingerings are more similar than not. The fife ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
9 votes
Accepted

What is required in a hollow "tube" to resonate?

user65726's answer has some of the basics, but to expand on that a bit: The question asks for two things, which do not necessarily always come together: "musical stable pitches" and "harmonics." ...
Athanasius's user avatar
  • 12.6k
9 votes

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

I'm afraid, that the question boils down to Why are real instruments more complicated than extremely simplified theoretical models? You need the simplifications to be able to calculate something at ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 11k
8 votes

Woodwind v brass instruments - what is the defining characteristic?

To answer part of your question, concerning why keyed brass instruments don't work out: The "puckered lips" which produce the note in a brass instrument create a sound pressure wave which is very ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Woodwind v brass instruments - what is the defining characteristic?

You might be interested to read up on the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system for musical instruments. Specifically, under this system, wind instruments are categorized as follows: Edge-...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
8 votes

How well can woodwind instruments leap large intervals?

As the other answers suggest, these notes are playable. The bigger consideration is Orchestration. The flute does not project in its lowest octave. I suggest writing bars 35 and 36 an octave higher,...
nuggethead's user avatar
  • 5,166
7 votes
Accepted

What are the technical measures of a tenor recorder?

It seems there is a large recorder making community, with a vast and very useful set of resources here. There are some links to technical plans, however a lot of them are for alto recorder rather ...
ChristopheLynch's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Xaphoon: Which key, C or Bb?

If you are going to play from dots, there are two options. The C xaphoon (like any C instrument) will play in the correct key for any music written for piano, guitar and such like. So if there's a ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 193k
7 votes

Is divisi notation needed for brass or woodwind in an orchestra?

First, be aware that there's often a difference between the conductor's score and the individual parts. To save space and make it easier to navigate, a score often has multiple parts condensed onto ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Is divisi notation needed for brass or woodwind in an orchestra?

The usual situation, if there is more than one part for the same instrument in a piece, is that the instruments do not play the same note. Such parts can be, and usually are, notated on the same ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 22.9k
7 votes
Accepted

What are the mechanics behind flute keys used to play chromatic notes?

All woodwind instruments1 have a first octave, which then overblows to a second octave. Then, higher notes are possible through increasingly convoluted fingerings. So you don't have to do much to ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Circular breathing technique on "mouthpieced" woodwind instruments (clarinet, recorder, saxophone and so on)

Circular breathing imposes a new 'breathing timetable' on your body. You are trading off your natural breathing cadence for the requirements of the music. In the same way that holding your breath for ...
Areel Xocha's user avatar
  • 2,795
7 votes

Diatonic harmonica: How to play the draw bend with the three semitones down (effectively)?

The best method for teaching bends I know of is to imagine drinking through a straw. In normal play, you softly drink water. To bend, you don't need to draw much harder, but you change the drink to ...
EdvinW's user avatar
  • 643
6 votes

Is it reasonable to try picking up the tin whistle quickly?

Edit: I misread your post. I thought you were wanting to be an expert whistle player within a couple months. Anyway, I added some to the end of the post that addresses what you really asked, with what ...
Brōtsyorfuzthrāx's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How do you bend notes on the bagpipes?

There's two main ways of sliding up a note on the bagpipes. [Disclaimer: I play Flemish bagpipes rather than Great Highland Bagpipes, but I see no reason the same techniques shouldn't apply to both ...
Steve Mansfield's user avatar
6 votes

Pitch and Volume Compensations for Different Instruments

As a brass instrumentalist, I can only speak for that family of instruments. But the difference required to play in extreme registers is often explained with a simple sentence: Low notes require ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible