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Nic Nac Violin

The Woodwind Section

Woodwinds are basically tubes pierced with holes. They produce sound through the vibration of the air column inside the tube. Different notes are produced by blowing in the tube while covering some of the holes. The longer the column of air that is set in vibration, the lower the pitch of the note. Some woodwinds have reeds. A reed is a thin piece of cane that vibrates when blown across.



Piccolo

  • A tiny flute that plays an octave (eight notes) higher than a full-sized flute
  • Made of wood, silver or plastic
  • Played out to the side, not down like a recorder
  • Has the highest range in the woodwind family
  • Is the smallest member of the woodwind family

 

Flute

  • A cylindrical tube closed at one end
  • One end has a side hole which the player blows across, making the column of air inside vibrate
  • Holes along the instrument are closed by fingers on keys to produce the tone
  • Has a range from middle B or C upward for three octaves
  • Generally made of silver, occasionally gold, platinum or wood is used
  • Older flutes were generally made of wood
  • Does not have a reed

 

Clarinet

  • A cylindrical tube closed by a single reed at one end
  • A single reed woodwind
  • Most often made of African hard wood
  • One of the most versatile of all orchestra instruments
  • Has a very expressive tone
  • Has the largest range of all the woodwinds
 

 

Oboe

  • Made of grenadilla or rosewood
  • Consists of a conical pipe, narrower at the top than at the bottom
  • Has three sections: top joint, lower joint, and bell
  • Has a double reed which is placed in the top end of the instrument
  • Has nearly a three octave range
  • Produces a high, penetrating, melancholy tone
  • Evolved out of the shawm and other ancient middle-eastern instruments
  • Gives the tuning "A" at the beginning of the concert
 

 

Bassoon

  • A conical bore double reed instrument, open at both ends
  • The natural bass of the woodwind family - yet has three distinct tone characteristics in the low, tenor and high registers
  • Has two side by side tubes with a "U" tube at the bottom (which takes the lowest notes of the bassoon to the "top" of the instrument)
  • Made of Yugoslavian maple wood
  • Its lowest tones provide a solid base for orchestra harmony
 

Meet NAC Orchestra woodwind musicians!

Check out the NAC Orchestra and Friends Woodwind Interviews.