what kind of instruments are in the woodwind family and how exactly are they played?

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Answered by: Ashley, An Expert in the Instruments Category
Not a lot of people really understand the musical world of instruments and because of some complexity in them, not many people want to learn for the fear of "what in the heck would I be getting myself into?'. Well, I hope to tell you that it really isn't that bad. I've played a woodwind instrument for almost a decade. A decade! So, by now I should be able to say how one is played and all the weird features, I guess you could say, of each one.

Lets start simple. The saxophone. One of the most basic woodwind instruments out there. And you may be asking, well why is it the most basic in this family? Well, if you remember the terrible recorder from your younger years, you know the basics of the saxophone. Terrifying how one awful thing could help you become the next Kenny G. Next after the saxophone is the clarinet. One of the next basic woodwind instruments in the family. The only thing that is complex is figuring out which part goes where when you put it together. I don't even think that normal clarinet players quite understand and its just a guessing game some times. But, its still very basic to play like the recorder and saxophone.

Next up would have to be the flute. No reed, so why in the heck is it a woodwind instrument? Good question. Because its only good for runs and not that loud. It uses air across a head joint to make noise and the fingerings start to get a little more complex. If you want to get into an orchestra, for sure the one for you, if you don't, run far, far away. The next terrifying is the oboe, were we get into the world of double reeds. Just the two words "double reed" is terrifying enough. But, simplify it down a little, its just too reeds tied together that you put air in. The fingerings are just as complex as flute, so again, if you don't want to be in an orchestra, run away from this dying goose.

Last, but by far the least, is the less known bassoon. Its in the double reed family of the woodwind family as well, and I swear, this one is not for any beginner. Each finger has ten responsibilities which can become very overwhelming very quickly. But, once you get the hang of it, like any of the other instruments in the woodwind family, the notes on the page become less terrifying and overwhelming and more of well, this is logically going to be the next one to follow. With this scale pattern, it has to be. But, then again, woodwinds are terrifying creatures and have to shake everything up until you're a crying mess in the corner of a room and just decide to give up and try your hand at brass. Good 'ole woodwinds.

But, despite how much horror it can bring to you some days, no one would trade it for the world. The satisfaction of getting that one hard part down is one of the best things ever. Who knew that such a great pain could also be a great joy? So, I hope you have some sort of understanding about this amazing group of instruments now.

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