wind instrument

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wind instrument, in music, any instrument whose tone is produced by a vibrating column of air. In the pipe organ the column of air is set into vibration by mechanical means. Other wind instruments are blown by the player and are divided into two groups, the woodwinds and the brass winds, or brasses. The woodwinds include the flute family, played without a reed, the clarinet family, having single-reed mouthpieces, and the oboe family, having double-reed mouthpieces (see reed instrument). The brass winds include the bugle, cornet, ophicleide, trombone, trumpet, and tuba, all having cup-shaped mouthpieces, and the French horn, having a funnel-shaped mouthpiece. In the brasses the lips of the player perform the function of reeds. The wind passage of a wind instrument is called the bore and may be conical or cylindrical; its flared edge is called the bell. Woodwind and brass instruments are now best distinguished according to their mouthpieces, since metal flutes and saxophones remain woodwinds regardless of the material used to make them.

See A. Baines, Woodwind Instruments and Their History (rev. ed. 1963); A. Carse, Musical Wind Instruments (2d ed. 1965); R. Donington, Instruments of Music (3d ed. 1970).

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wind in·stru·ment / wind/ • n. a musical instrument in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, typically by the player blowing into the instrument. ∎  a woodwind instrument as distinct from a brass instrument.

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wind instrument Musical instrument that is sounded by blowing, which sets the air inside it vibrating. Wind instruments may be classified into two types: woodwind and brass.

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wind instruments. Those mus. instrs. in which sound is produced by vibrations of a column of air set in motion by the perf.'s blowing. Two main categories are woodwind (not all made of wood) and brass (not all made of brass), e.g. fl., picc., ob., cl., bn., among former; hn., tpt., tb., tuba, among latter. An org. is not a wind instr. in the sense defined here, since the air is mechanically impelled.