woodwind Family of musical wind instruments that are traditionally made of wood but now often metal. They are played by means of a mouthpiece containing one or two reeds. The flute and piccolo, however, are exceptional in that they are played by blowing across a hole. Other woodwind instruments include the clarinet, saxophone (both single reed) and the oboe, cor anglais, and bassoon (all double reed).
woodwind. Name for wind instrs. orig. and usually made of wood, either blown directly by mouth (fl. and recorder) or by means of a reed (cl. and ob.). Saxs. are classified as woodwind. double woodwind, in descriptions of a composer's scoring for orch., means 2 players of each standard type of woodwind instr., e.g. fl., ob., cl., bn. (this being usual Beethoven or Schubert orch.). triple woodwind means 3 of each, one player normally taking an extra member of the family of his instrument, e.g. picc. with fl., cor anglais with ob., bcl. with cl., double bn. with bn. quadruple woodwind means 4 of each, as in Strauss, Mahler, and other composers for very large orch.
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