Harmonica Reed

what's the science behind wind instruments?

how does the air flow in it affect it? and how does the whole thing work with the air streams? general information would be nice, thanks a lot!

Let's start out with some basic variations of wind instruments

Flutes: The air stream is split by an edge (the lip plate/riser on a flute, a languid in an organ pipe, or a fipple in a recorder for instance) After that the volume of air and the length of the tube determine the volume, and pitch of the sound. The material used to construct the pipe as well as the shape of the pipe gives the instrument it's characteristic tone/timbre. This whole thing is like blowing across the top of a Coke bottle.

Reeds: a reed (or reeds) vibrate to produce the sound. In the case of a saxophone or clarinet the reed is fairly wide and is played directly by the instrumentalist. The reed and mouthpiece work together to produce the sound. An oboe, c'ors anglais or basoon have a double reed (two reeds that beat against each other) instead of a mouthpiece. The reed(s) are attached to the end of a bocal ... a feed tube into the instrument. Again, the instrument length, shape, material, etc contribute to the sound.

Free reeds: harmonica, reed organ, harmonium, melodion, accordion, vocalion, bagpipes, and others. The reed(s) are enclosed in the instrument. The player does not play the reed directly; air is supplied by a secondary means. The reed, it's surround, and the chamber in which it is placed all contribute to the overall sound. Most often the size and weight of the reed affects the pitch of the note produced; in the case of bagpipes it works more like an "internal double reed instrument" The chanter produces the meolody, and most often there are three drone pipes Two tuned in unison and one a fifth above that. Each pipe has it's own set of reeds.

Brass: Trumpet, coronet, flugel horn, French horn, Baritone, Trombone, Tuba, Sousaphone, etc. The player buzzes his lips while blowing into a cupped mouthpiece. The valves of the instrument vary the length of the pipe between the mouthpiece and the bell; coupled with changing the shape of the lips allows for the full range of musical notes to be achieved. Trombones being the special case in this set, where the length of the tube is varied by a slide. The other special case is a bugle, where the length of the pipe is fixed and the range of notes available is limited to the harmonic set able to be produced by the player's lips.

... Did I miss any?

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