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Brief: Regarding the Woodwinds

As someone who has only played string and keyboard instruments, I was very excited to explore and learn more about the woodwinds.

Unlike some other instrument groups, the woodwind family is pretty diverse in many respects, with the instruments having a lot of differentiations in their registers, timbres and other qualities, resulting in very unique individual musical characteristics.

As Adler points out, interestingly, even the word woodwinds itself doesn’t serve as the real unifier, since it doesn’t accurately describe the family anymore. This is because, although the majority of woodwinds used to be made of wood, the construction material has since changed for the modern instruments – especially the flutes, that are now generally made of metal. Next to that, as a newer invention, saxophones weren’t created from the wood, but the brass instead. They are often classified as woodwinds because of the many properties and sounding mechanisms that they share with the other instruments from this group, however, there are older sources like Forsyth who have grouped them under the brass family. In fact, in many ways, the saxophone can be seen as a hybrid of the two. (McNeil, 331) Continue reading “Brief: Regarding the Woodwinds”

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