Wind instrument

Instruments ( Italian: fiati ) are musical instruments in which a musician usually works through his breath with an instrument mouthpiece, the air column inside a tube to vibrate. These so-called aerophones ( according to the Hornbostel -Sachs classification) in a broader sense also includes instruments where the air flow is generated directly or via a game mechanic with an air bag or bellows. There are several ways to classify the diversity of instruments in groups. A special role is played in this level of wind instruments, the pipe organ.

Traditional classification

A common, historically grown, but not entirely free from internal contradictions classification of instruments in wood, brass and reed instruments breakdown is mainly according to the base material of the instrument and the type of tone.

Woodwind Instruments

The woodwind instruments can be divided into the flute instruments ( with Anblaskante ) and the reed instruments with one or two vibrating reeds.

Flute instruments

The oldest instruments with Anblaskante, probably the oldest wind instruments in general, are those in the type of recorder. The smallest and loudest instrument of this kind is the whistle. The pan flute can be traced back far into the past. The Flute of the Old Testament is called Khalil. From the fife of the Middle Ages, the flute, which is suitable for flute and its subspecies ( piccolo, alto flute ) was further developed. Only rarely in use which is closely related harmonics with the recorder.

Surcharge tongue instruments

Compare the main item single-reed instrument

A resilient tongue abuts against the air stream to a groove and thus generates a sound. Used the principle with metal tab at the Martin trumpet or with wooden tongue while drone of the bagpipe. From the Chalumeau with wooden reed, the clarinet (and their subspecies bass clarinet and basset horn ) developed. Even the saxophone part on the basis of this tone to the " woodwinds ".

Double - reed instruments

Compare the main article double-reed instrument

The double reed consisting of two superimposed symmetric reeds that vibrate against the air flow. The oldest members of this type are the primitive double-reed instruments in ancient Egypt and Greece ( aulos ), later representatives are shawm, Piffero, rankett and Pommer. In the modern orchestra can be found oboes (oboe d' amore, English horn, Heckelphone ) and bassoons ( contrabassoon ). But even in the bagpipes and other instruments with wind capsule stuck double reeds.


These instruments are blown with human lips of the mouth. The predecessors of the modern brass instruments were made ​​of horn substance (cow, bull or ram's horn ). Sheet as today's material use is irrelevant for classification. Musiziert is the harmonic series, length changes are possible with valves or telescopic tubes. The brass instruments can be divided into two families, the distinction is based on the scale used: If this tapered for the most part, we speak of the instruments Horn family, when the cylindrical construction predominates, trumpet instruments.

Horn instruments

The oldest natural horns were animal horns, the ram's horn shofar made ​​, the Olifant made ​​of ivory, the alphorn and the bronze lur. Made of wood zinc (music) and Serpent were made with great skill from sheet metal (brass) were built: Parforcehorn, later Hunting Horn and Ophicleide. The cornet was fitted before the modern valved horn. A complete subfamily of horn instruments with representatives in all situations are the bugles, which include flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, helicon, sousaphone and tuba.

Trumpet instruments

From the natural trumpets that were used for fanfares and military signals, the refined, but still valveless Baroque trumpet and it later developed the modern trumpet. The deep representatives of this family are the trumpets (valve trombone or trombone ).

Dielectric tongue instruments

In Dielectric tongue instruments such as harmonica, accordion or harmonium, an air stream produces the sound by free-swinging metal tongues. One of the most important instruments in the Chinese classical music is the mouth organ sheng. A similar instrument is called in Japan Shō and Laos khaen.

A with the help of keys to playing instrument of this kind is the Triola.

Classification by tone

Another classification of instruments dispense with the material aspect alone and considered the nature of the sound-producing element is most often the instrument mouthpiece:

  • Air blade or Labialinstrumente ( with Anblaskante ): Flute
  • Instruments with easy ( aufschlagendem ) reed: clarinets, saxophones
  • Instruments with double ( gegenschlagendem ) reed: shawm including oboe, bassoon, etc. sarrusophone
  • Instruments with Funnel, mug or cup-shaped mouthpiece, in which the lips of the player produce the vibration: Brass, zinc, Alphorn
  • Instruments with free reeds

Technique when playing wind instruments ( blowing )

In wind instruments, a column of air in the cylindrical tool body is generated by blowing into vibrations. The blowing technique and the shape of the instrument mouthpiece can significantly affect the tonal character. A sound can be overblown Also: a higher natural tone is sharp blowing excited at woodwinds instead of the fundamental tone, this is achieved via a raised lip tension in brass instruments. Using circular breathing can sound a tone continues to operate.

  • The different positions of the mouth muscles when blowing are called approach.
  • The more or less rapid settling, or the soft or hard sounding of Tonbeginns on blowing is called speech.
  • The Tonbeginn done with a tongue thrust (actually a tongue recoil ), which brings the air flow in the river.

The attempt to create the sound of wind instruments electronically, is hampered by the complex nature of the individual and the blowing noise transients in the sustained note.