The systematical classification of the so-called wood wind instruments into flutes, oboes and clarinets is based on the way their sound is produced.With the flute, a stream of air is directed over a sharp edge, whereas in the case of reed instruments, the air causes the reeds to vibrate. The reeds are fixed at one end, either tied together or tied on the mouthpiece. The other flattened end is left free.In the case of the double reed instruments or oboes, the reeds beat against each other. In the single reed instruments or in clarinets, the reed beats against a frame which is formed either by an opening in the body of the instrument or by a mouthpiece (beak).The musical pitch is primarily dependent on the length of the vibrating column of air, the dimensions of the tube and the pressure of air entering the tube.The musical pitch can be varied by slides or by the opening and closing of holes, either by keys or by the fingers. Higher registers may be obtained through more pressure by overblowing (at the octave resp. twelfth).
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