Approx. Analysis time: 3 minutesJanuary 23, 2019WHY IS THE SAXOPHONE A WOODWIND INSTRUMENT?

Many civilization (who do not know much around instrument design and also their history) think the saxophone is a so referred to as “brass instrument“. And, perhaps at first sight that appears logical, the saxophone is made of brass (material) ~ all, right?

Yes, most saxophones space made from brass … but … they aren’t brass instruments! The saxophone belongs come an tool group called “woodwind instruments“.

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From left come right: Brass (Yamaha), Acrylic Plastic (Grafton), Plastic (Vibrato), Wood (bySawad-Dejprakune).

When world are called the saxophone belongs come the woodwind instruments, numerous presume is need to be due to the fact that reeds (bamboo) are provided to generate sound. However again, a misunderstanding. Bamboo isn’t wood, bamboo belongs to the “family” of grasses. Besides that, flutes (also members the the woodwind family) execute not usage reeds. So it’s no the usage of a reed that defines if an instrument belongs to the woodwind family or not either.

So … what then specifies a woodwind instrument?

The beforehand woodwind tools (various species of flutes and also reed instruments like the Clarinet and Oboe, to surname a few) were all made from wood, at least their “bodies” were. This is why this “family” of tools was offered the surname “woodwinds”. And also just prefer with human families, friend don’t readjust the name when other human being marry “into the family”, right?

In fact, once you listen to the sound the a brass saxophone, the Grafton, the Vibrato or even the wooden build version the the saxophone, you plainly recognize lock all as saxophones. The products used do have actually an result on the sound of the instrument, the material resonates and also vibrates in different ways after all.The brass variation sounds the loudest and also brightest, the wooden variation the softest and least bright and also the plastic versions somewhere in between. But, what provides a saxophone sound choose a saxophone is largely the form (design) the the instrument itself and also the kind of reed, ligature design and also mouthpiece design.

Now, there might be some differences between the members of the woodwind family (some usage reeds, rather don’t … some room made of wood, others not), however there space a pair of features (family trades) that they all have actually in common (and specify them as members the the woodwind family):

All woodwind instruments have actually holes in your bodies through which the wind flowing through the tool escapes. With various other wind tools (like those typically called “brass” or “brasswind”), the wait escapes just at the end (the bell) of the tool (body/pipe/tube).

With woodwinds the pitch of the tone transforms due come the variety of tone feet you nearby (the length of the human body of the instrument itself does not change), unlike with “brass” instruments where the length of the path (body/pipe/tube length) is readjusted in bespeak to change pitch.

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So … it’s no the consumption of reeds … no one the material of the body that determines the instrument family they belong to, it’s their “design” (shape and mechanics) that makes it so.

WOODWIND INSTRUMENTSBelow various examples of woodwind instruments and their wood, brass and “plastic” variants:

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BRASSWIND INSTRUMENTSAnd just like there space woodwinds do from materials other climate wood, therefore are also some “brass” instruments from other products other castle metal, take for example someSousaphonesmade native fiberglass rather of brass (material). listed below various instances of brasswind instruments and their brass and “plastic” variants: