The Wind Instrument - General Considerations

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The Wind Instrument - General Considerations

Definition: Wind instrument, any musical instrument that uses air as the primary vibrational medium to produce sound.

Classification of wind instruments

Wind instruments exhibit a great diversity in structure and sonority and have been prominently represented in the music of all cultures since prehistoric times . A classification system of these tools must reflect and categorize the relationships and differences between the many variants.

The traditional division of the symphony orchestra into sections has simplified the grouping of wind instruments into woodwind and brass, but this is an imprecise classification that does not generally apply outside of Western culture.

The fact that some modern woodwind instruments, such as flutes and saxophones, are made of metal, while some ancestors of today's brass instruments, such as the cornet and serpent, were typically made of wood, highlights the inappropriateness of classification based on material.

The Hornbostel-Sachs system

The standard method of instrument classification was introduced in 1914 by Curt Sachs and Erich von Hornbostel . It is based on the acoustic principles of an instrument's sound, regardless of its stylistic or cultural context. In this system, all wind instruments, that is, all instruments in which the air itself is the primary vibrational medium for producing sound, are called aerophones, regardless of whether the air is enclosed in a tube or not.