Woodwind or Brasswind? Where does your wind instrument fall?

Sounds like a beauty pageant question to me… haha! This is a story of how I was forced to “GIG” about this efffffffin types of wind instruments. 

By the way, GIG is short for “google it girl” for those who do not know.

My niece Danielle, who is now on fourth grade, knows so much about musical instruments, that It made me wonder, where on earth was I when we were actually tackling that back during my elementary years in our Music Arts & Physical Education (M.A.P.E.) class?

One (dreadful) day she asked me to help her review for her periodical examination, and well, being a good aunt, of course I willingly said yes regardless of ‘the threat’. 

She asked me a simple task, actually, that is to randomnly enumerate all the wind instruments, while she identifies whether it falls under woodwinds or brasswinds, it’s up to me then to say if she’s right or wrong…

How did it go? Let’s just say this incident now falls under the “top 10 most humiliating thing that ever happened to me”. Hahaha.
I found it out the hard way. Thank you Mr. Wikipedia, now I know how they actually differ…

A Brass Instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator (a mouthpiece) in sympathy with the vibration of the player’s lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones, literally meaning ‘lip-vibrated instruments’.  

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The view of most scholars is that the term “brass instrument” should be defined by the way the sound is made, as above, and not by whether the instrument is actually made of brass. Thus one finds brass instruments made of wood, like the cornett, and the serpent, while some woodwind instruments are made of brass, like the saxophone.

Woodwind Instruments, on the other hand, are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments (otherwise called reed pipes). What differentiates these instruments from other wind instruments is the way in which they produce their sound.


To produce a sound with wind instruments, you have to blow a stream of air across a sharp edge that produces split airstream which acts upon the air column contained within the body of the instrument causing it to vibrate and produce sound.

It’s a weird feeling but believe me there is some sort of fulfillment knowing you can actually identify or differentiate between the two types of wind instruments. Reading about these inatruments actually gave more value to them. Believe it or not, I am now personally interested to learn at least one of each type, just so I can teach my daughter too. Who knows? She may be into it eventually, and if not, at least her mommy will be able to help her this time around, and feel like a PRO “know-it-all-mom”.


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