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Meet the Instruments--Woodwinds


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Woodwinds are hollow tubes played by blowing. Pressing the keys that open and close changes the notes. Woodwinds were originally made of wood, but today they are made of wood, metal, or plastic.

Here are some examples of woodwind instruments:

Flute  The flute is 2 feet long.  It makes bright, birdlike tones.  The player blows across the tube just like blowing over the top of a bottle.

Piccolo  The piccolo is half the length of a flute.  It makes the highest note in the orchestra.  It has a brilliant, piercing tone.

Oboe  The oboe is a 2 foot long wooden tube that widens into a bell.  It is a double-reed, which means it has a mouthpiece make of two pieces of cane fastened  together.  It makes a smooth and beautiful tone.

English Horn  The English Horn is a longer, lower-keyed oboe with a pear-shaped end.  It makes a soft, dreamy and sad sound.


Bassoon  The bassoon is an 8-9 foot tube that doubles back on itself.  It's mouthpiece is a double-reed attached to a long pipe.  It can make heavy, comical sounds.

Contra-bassoon  The contra-bassoon is about twice as long as a bassoon.  It's tube is folded over 4-6 times.  It plays the lowest note in the orchestra.

Clarinet  The clarinet is the same length as the flute.  It has tones that are more piercing than other woodwinds.  It is a reed instrument, which means a small wooden reed is attached to a plastic mouthpiece.

Bass Clarinet  The bass clarinet is twice as long as the clarinet.  It plays lower tones.  It has a curved neck and a bell-shaped end.  It makes a sad sound.