The recorder is a wooden tube with six or seven finger-holes in it. The player blows into a mouth-piece and a stream of air passes over a sharp edge.  This disturbs the air, it vibrates and gives out a note whose pitch depends on the length of air in the pipe.  Other notes are created by fingering the holes.  The descant recorder is the smallest and plays the highest notes, and then the sizes increase through treble, tenor and bass recorders, the last producing the lowest pitch notes.



The flute is usually made of silvefluter.  It is a straight pipe with holes bored in it, and the flautist holds the instrument to the right of his face and blows across a hole at one end of the flute.  He can control the type of sound he produces by changing the position of his lips.  The holes are opened and closed by pressing down metal keys, in contrast with the recorder where the player uses fingers to achieve the same effect of altering the length of the vibrating air column, thus producing notes of different pitches.




The oboe is a wooden pipe about two feet long which opens out into a small bell at the bottom. There are holes at intervals along this pipe which can be opened or closed by pressing down metal keys as for the flute.  The vibration is started by the player who blows in a special way through a mouth-piece called a double-reed.  Two pieces of reed or bamboo are bound round a small metal tube, leaving a small space between the reeds at the other end where they are placed between the player’s lips.  The oboe is the instrument which usually plays the ‘A’ to help all members of an orchestra to tune their instruments.



The clarinet was invented clarinetin Germany at the beginning of the 18th century.  Like most wood-wind instruments, it is a tube of wood with holes which are covered or uncovered by metal keys.  The lower end flares out into a bell shape just like in the oboe but it is a larger instrument.  The wedge-shaped clarinet mouth-piece has a single cane reed attached to the top of the instrument where there is an opening in the tube.  The player produces a musical note by compressing his lips into a special shape called an embouchure.  Most clarinets are tuned in B Flat.



basoonThe bassoon is a type of oboe which plays very low notes.  The tube of the bassoon is eight feet long and is doubled back on itself in order to make the instrument easier to hold.  Like the oboe, the bassoon has a double reed.  The Double Bassoon is sixteen feet long and is bent back on itself four times.





The saxophone has a mouthpiece with a reed like that of the clarinet, but it is made from a wide metal tube which ends in a curved horn shape.  Therefore there is a debate on whether it ranks with wood-wind or brass instruments.  Soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones produce various ranges of notes.


French Hornfrench-horn

The French Horn is made from a twelve foot length of brass tube, which is coiled into a complicated shape in order to make the instrument portable.  The length of the tube can be changed by pressing down combinations of valves which bring extra lengths of tubing into use.  A range of notes can be obtained by changing lip pressure on the funnel-shaped mouth-piece and by use of the valves.  The tone can also be muted when the player puts his hand into the wide bell of the instrument.



The trumpet is made of a five foot length of brass tube which is bent back on itself.  There is a cup-shaped mouth-piece at one end of the instrument and a bell shape at the other.  The length of the tube can be altered by pressing down combinations of three valves.  A piece of hollow wood or leather called a ‘mute’ is sometimes put in at the bell end of the trumpet.



The trombone has a long tube which is bent into an oblong shape and which flares into a bell shape at one end.  The mouth-piece is cup-shaped and the length of the tube is changed by a movable lotrombone1op of brass which is called the ‘slide’.  The player can play all the notes of the scale by changing his lip pressure and by moving the slide in and out.