History of Woodwinds

The Flute is a Timeless Instrument:

Where it originated A brief history

 

Old Cave Bone Flute

old flutes

History:

The flute is the oldest musical instrument dating back 50,000 years. Recently, archaeologists uncovered a flute from Eastern Europe believed to be between 35,000 and 50,000 years old made of cave bear bone. Other flutes have been found that were made from hollow bird bones. The flute can be played two ways: the side-blown flute like the piccolo and the end-blown flute like the recorder.

 
flute history

How the Flute has Changed:

The flute was introduced to Western Europe by the end of the 2nd century.  Since then, western culture has influenced it’s design.  Flutes have been made from all sorts of materials including wood, silver, and gold, and many of today’s modern flutes are still being made from these semi-precious and precious metals.  In the mid 17th century, Beethoven started adding flute parts to his symphonies.

Flute Specs:

Flutes are in the woodwinds family, even though they don’t have a wooden reed like clarinets and saxophones do.  They are pitched in the key of ‘C’ and play three octaves starting at middle ‘C’ with the exception of the piccolo that is pitched one octave higher.
 

 

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The Classic Clarinet:

Where it originated A brief history

 

Ancient Clarinet

History:

The clarinet was invented in the late 1600′s and credit is given to Johann Christoph Denner of Germany and his son for developing its initial design. During the 1700′s the clarinet underwent some changes as people experimented with different tone holes and made adjustments to the keys in order to alter the pitch. It was during this period they added the register key. By the 1800′s the clarinet adopted the same fingering system as the flute: the Boehm system. This system was based on a mathematical equation that placed the tone holes in a precise location so each note could play in tune.

Description:

Clarinets are in the woodwind family; sound is produced by a wooden reed. They are pitched in the key of Bb and play a variety of musical styles. Originally created to play classical and church music, the clarinet is right at home in concert bands and orchestras. American music in the 20th century changed the course for this highly versatile. With the birth of jazz came new opportunities for this instrument and the clarinet was seen playing in jazz clubs across the nation.

 

 


 

A Modern Day Instrument

Where is originated A Brief History

 

History of the SaxophoneHistory:

The saxophone is a very unique instrument that can play many different styles of music from classical to jazz.  It was invented by Adolphe Sax and introduced to the French military band in 1845.  It is considered to be one of the youngest instruments and was inspired by the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, and French horn. It was first built in the US in 1885.  Initially, it was developed to have a deep brass sound, but after Adolphe’s patient ran out other people changed it’s tone so it could be heard over the trumpets and trombones.

Description:

The soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, and baritone saxophone are the most common saxophones; however, there are a few bass saxophones and a contra bass saxophones that can be found today.  The soprano sax is pitched one octave higher than the tenor sax, and the alto sax is pitched one octave higher than the bari sax.  Even though the saxophone is made out of brass, it is classified as a woodwind instrument because a single wooden reed is used to produce sound.

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