Woodwinds – Bassoon

November 17, 2006


The bass sound of the bassoon is used in orchestra and concert bands.  In 1540, Canon Afranio, from Ferrara, Italy, was known for creating the unique shape of the instrument.  Other contributors to the instrument were Carl Almenraeder, J.A. Heckel, and J. N. Savary.  The bassoon consists of four sections made from wood.  There is a double reed connected to a crook.  Fagotto is the instruments Italian name, meaning bundle of sticks.




Woodwinds – Saxophone

November 17, 2006


In 1840 a gentleman by the name of Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone.  He was a Belgian instrument maker.  The saxophone uses conical tubing and a single reed.  The instrument is made from brass.   Military, concert, and dance bands commonly use this instrument.  There are a variety of types of saxophone from E-flat and B-flat sopranos to the contrabass in E-flat. 



Woodwinds – Oboe

November 17, 2006


The oboe is woodwind instrument that is only 21 inches long.  It uses a double-reed and produces the highest-pitch of all the woodwinds.  This instrument has a range of three octaves.  Due to how little air that is needed to produce a sound, the player must breathe more slowly than normal making the Oboe is a challenging instrument to play. The oboe was created in France during the late 1700’s.  The name originates from the French words:  haut and bois.  These words mean high and wood, respectively.










Woodwinds – Clarinet

November 17, 2006

There are six different sizes in which the clarinet comes.  These include the B-flat, A, E-flat alto, and B-flat bass clarinet.  The clarinet uses a single reed and the sound can be described as full and rich with a range of three octaves.  Made from wood, the clarinet has a cylindrical tube ending in a bell-shaped opening.  A rudimentary form of the clarinet, called the chalumeau was produced during the 16th century.  John Christopher Denner, a German flute maker, altered the chalumeau into what is now known as the clarinet.  Additional modifications, including the Boehm system for key fingering, have been made over time until the instrument we now know of today was fashioned.   



The bass clarinet is larger than the clarinet, 4 feet 6.25 inches long and is one octive lower in tone.  It was first made in 1793 by Grenser in Dresden.



Woodwinds – English Horn

November 17, 2006


The English horn is actually not a horn, but an alto oboe.  This instrument first emerged around 1750.  The English horn has a pitch that is a fifth lower than the oboe and uses a double reed.  The instrument original named was cor anglais.  Cor meaning horn, due to the shape of the instrument.


Woodwinds – Flute

November 17, 2006


In ancient times Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese played an instrument similar to a flute.  During the 1600’s and 1700’s flutes were cone-shaped and made from wood.  Metal is the choice material that flutes are made from today.  In Munich, Theobald Boehm produced the first metal flute with the modern key placement in 1846.  The flute is a treble instrument. 


A piccolo is a variation of the flute.  It is smaller in size and has a higher pitch.