New Chapter 10a Aerophones
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Chapter 10a AEROPHONES Aerophones are instruments in which the sound is produced by the vibration of air. They are classified according to how the vibration is generated, and includes flutes, reeds, cup mouthpiece instruments and free aerophones. Since the Stone Age, flutes have been endowed with magical significance, and some peoples still use them in ritual associated with storms, crops and death. Reed instruments originated in the East. More complex than flutes, there are less widely distributed, appearing today in Europe, Africa, and the East. Cup mouthpiece instruments have a very ancient history. Found in varying degrees of sophistication throughout the world, they are today most commonly used for ritual, military, and signaling purposes. Making the air vibrate. In all types of aerophones sound is made by vibrating air, and instruments are classified according to how the air is set into vibration. In instruments with a blow hole or whistle mouthpiece the air vibrates after being directed against a sharp edge. Vibrations in a tube may also be produced by reeds (single reed, double reed or free reed). In cup mouthpiece instruments air is made to vibrate by the action of the player’s lips. Body shapes. Most aerophones have a tubular or vessel-shaped body in which vibrating air is enclosed during play. The shape of the body affects the character of the sound produced. The most common body type is the hollow (cavo) tube, which may be cylindrical as in the clarinet, tapering (conico) as in the recorder, or flared (svasato, conico) as in the oboe. Less common are the aerophones with a vessel body (forma di tazza) like that of the ocarina. Pitch The pitch produced depends on the length of the tube containing the vibrating air column. The tube’s length determines the length of the sound waves and consequently the number of waves (frequencies) produced in a second. Any tube is theoretically capable of producing a pitch appropriate to its length. This pitch is called the fundamental. A 2ft tube (60 cm) will sound middle C (Do centrale), while a tube twice as long will sound one octave lower. A stopped (closed) pipe will sound one octave lower than an unstopped pipe of the same length. Altering the pitch Only by shortening or lengthening the tube can an aerophone be made to produce pitches other than fundamental. A tube is “shortened” by the use of finger holes: opening holes at the lower end of the tube has the effect of reducing the total length of tube to the point at which the air can first escape. A longer tube may be obtained by means of a simple slide mechanism, or by the use of crooks (ritorte), or valve to divert the air through an extra length of tubing. Tone colour Every aerophone has its own distinctive sound quality or “tone colour”. When any pitch is played the actual sound produced is coloured by the presence of harmonics associated with this pitch. The presence of different harmonics is determined by the shape of the tube. For example the conical tube of the oboe emphasizes the lower harmonics while the stopped cylindrical tube of the clarinet emphasizes the odd-numbered (dispari) harmonics. 1
THE WOOD-WIND INSTRUMENTS Recorders The recorder is a type of whistle flute that was very important in renaissance and baroque music. It is usually made from wood and has a wide tapering bore. Despite the increasing complexity of other woodwind instruments, the recorder remained comparatively simple. Having been generally discarded from around 1750 in favour of the transverse flute, interest in the recorder was revived by the instrument maker Arnold Dolmetsch in 1919. The recorder family includes: • Sopranino (in F or in G) • Descant (in C) • Treble (in F or in G) • Tenor (in C) • Bass (in F or in G) • Great bass (in C) Orchestral Flutes The western classical flutes is a side-blow, or transverse, flute that first reached Europe from the East in the 12th century. During the Middle Ages it was chiefly associated with military music, but by the middle of the 17th century had become more important a san instrument of the opera and court orchestra. The first major changes in western flute design were made in the late 17th century by the French Hotteterre family. Even more important were the radical developments introduced by Theobald Böhm of Munich in the early 1830s. His design has remained largely unaltered until the present day, and Böhm flutes, made of wood or metal are today played in symphony orchestras all over the world. The player directs the airstream across the blow hole and the way he does this is virtually important in producing a good tone. The flute family includes: • Flute (in C) • Piccolo (in C, one octave higher) • Alto flute (in G, one 4th lower) • Bass flute (in C, one 8ve lower) Orchestral Oboes The oboe is a double-reed wood-wind instrument; it was developed from the treble shawm in the 17th century to meet the demand for a shawm-like instrument suitable for indoor use. The firs oboes are thought to have been made by the Hotteterre family and were used by musicians at the court of Louis XIV. They were made in three sections, and had accurately calculated bore dimensions and fingerhole positions. During the 18th century several different sizes of oboe were introduced into the orchestra. Among them was an alto version – the cor anglais – which remains in regular use today. The main development in the 19th century was the application of key mechanism to the oboe. German makers generally preferred a fairly simple mechanism, whereas French makers produced a variety of more complicated systems. Even today, key systems for the oboe vary considerably from maker to maker. The oboe family includes: Oboe (in C) Oboe d’amore (in A, sounds one 3rd lower) Cor anglais – Oboe da caccia (in F, sounds one 5th lower) Baritone oboe – Heckelphone (in C, one 8ve below)
Orchestral Clarinets The clarinet is a single-reed wood-wind instrument: one of the most versatile of all orchestral instruments. It was first developed from the chalumeau around 1700 by the German instrument-maker J.C. Denner. Over a period of about 20 years the clarinet became distinguishable from the chalumeau by its separate mouthpiece, its bell, and the addition of extra keys which enabled it to play higher notes. In the 1840s the Böhm system of keys, already successfully applied to the orchestral flute, was added to the clarinet. It brought a new facility to clarinet playing and remains the favoured system for modern instruments. Throughout its history the clarinet has been made in different sizes. There are also a number of related single-reed instruments, of which the basset horn is the most important. The modern clarinet family includes: • Piccolo clarinet (in E flat or D) • Clarinet (in B flat or in A) • Alto clarinet (in F) • Bass clarinet (in B flat or in A) • Contrabass clarinet Orchestral Bassoons The bassoon is a double-reed bass wind instrument developed during the 17th century from the curtal. It is characterized by two separate parallel tubes, joined at one end by a U-tube. Early bassoons had only two keys but in the 19th century German makers experimented with a variety of key mechanisms. Most successful was the system perfected by Heckel and this still remains popular with payers all over the world. The modern bassoon is the lowest sounding regular member of the orchestral wind group. The mellow notes of the bassoon provide a firm bass for orchestral harmony. Its higher notes, corresponding to the range of the tenor voice, are well suited for solos. Modern contra-bassoon or double-bassoon. This instrument can play notes one octave lower than the standard bassoon and extensions are available to extend the range even farther down. Despite its very low pitch, the tone of the contrabassoon is rich ad gentle. The Saxophone family Saxophones are classified with clarinets as members of the single-reed family, but they are actually a hybrid of the clarinet and the oboe. Like the clarinet the saxophone has a single reed attached to a beaked mouthpiece, but its conical tube and flared bell are more tipical of the oboe family. The saxophone was invented about 1840 by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument-maker working in Paris. Sax’s original family of saxophones comprised 14 members, but only eight of these are normally made today. These eight are, starting with the smallest, the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass and subcontrabass. Only the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone are widely used. Saxophones are regular members of dance bands and military bands, and occasionally they are used to play distinctive solos in orchestral works.
THE BRASS INSTRUMENTS A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose tone is produced by vibration of the lips as the player blows into a tubular resonator. There are two factors in changing the pitch on a valved brass instrument: pressing the valves to change the length of the tubing, and changing the player's lip aperture or "embouchure", which determines the frequency of the vibration into the instrument.
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, as exceptional cases one finds brass instruments made of wood like the alphorn, the cornett, and the serpent, while some woodwind instruments are made of brass, like the saxophone.
Families of brass instruments Modern brass instruments generally come in one of two families: Valved brass instruments use a set of valves (typically three or four but as many as seven or more in some cases) operated by the player's fingers that introduce additional tubing, or crooks, into the instrument, changing its overall length. This family includes all of the modern brass instruments except the trombone: the trumpet, horn (also called the French horn), euphonium, and tuba, as well as the cornet, flügelhorn, Wagner-tubas and sousaphone. The valves are usually piston valves, but can be rotary valves. Rotary valves are the norm for the horn and are also prevalent on the tuba. Slide brass instruments use a slide to change the length of tubing. The main instruments in this category are the trombone family, though valve trombones are occasionally used, especially in jazz.
There are two other families that have, in general, become functionally obsolete for practical purposes. Instruments of both types, however, are sometimes used for period-instrument performances of Baroque- or Classical-era pieces. In more modern compositions, they are occasionally used for their intonation or tone color. Natural brass instruments, on which only notes in the instrument's harmonic series are available. Such instruments include the bugle and older variants of the trumpet and horn. The trumpet was a natural brass instrument prior to about 1795, and the horn before about 1820. In the 18th century different-length interchangeable crooks were developed which enabled a single instrument to be used for more than one key. Natural instruments are still played for period performances and some ceremonial functions, and are occasionally found in more modern scores, such as those by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Keyed or Fingered brass instruments used holes along the body of the instrument, which were covered by fingers or by finger-operated pads (keys) in a similar way to a woodwind instrument. These included the cornett, serpent, ophicleide and keyed trumpet. They are more difficult to play than valved instruments. 4
Brass instruments may also be characterised by the geometry of the tubing, the bore. Cylindrical bore with approximately constant diameter tubing; cylindrical bore instruments have a bright projected tone. The trumpet, alto trombone and tenor trombone are cylindrical bore - the slide design of the trombone necessitates this. Conical bore with constantly increasing diameter tubing; conical bore instruments have a mellow tone. This group includes the cornet, tenor horn (alto horn), French horn, euphonium tuba and Wagner tubas.
Valves Valves are used to change the length of tubing of a brass instrument allowing the musician to change pitch. When pressed each valve changes the pitch by diverting the air stream through additional tubing, thus lengthening the instrument and lowering the harmonic series on which the instrument is vibrating. The tuning of brass instruments is not perfect, the mentioned tuning deficiencies are unavoidable; they are inherent in the construction of the instrument. Playing notes using certain combinations of valves requires "compensation" to adjust the tuning appropriately.
Valve mechanism The two major types of valves are rotary valves and piston valves. The first piston valve instruments were developed just after the start of the 19th century. The Stölzel valve (invented by Heinrich Stölzel in 1814) was an early variety. In the mid 19th century the Vienna valve was an improved design. However most professional musicians preferred rotary valves for quicker, more reliable action, until better designs of piston valves were mass manufactured towards the end of the 19th century. Since the early decades of the 20th century, piston valves have been the most common on brass instruments.
Sound production in brass instruments Because the player of a brass instrument has direct control of the prime vibrator (the lips), brass instruments exploit the player's ability to select the harmonic at which the instrument's column of air will vibrate. By making the instrument about twice as long as the equivalent woodwind instrument and starting with the second harmonic, players can get a good range of notes simply by varying the tension of their lips. Most brass instruments are fitted with a removable mouthpiece. Different shapes, sizes and styles of mouthpiece may be used to suit different embouchures, or to more easily produce 5
certain tonal characteristics. Trumpets, trombones, and tubas are characteristically fitted with a cupped mouthpiece, while horns and Wagner tubas are fitted with a conical mouthpiece. One interesting difference between a woodwind instrument and a brass instrument is that woodwind instruments are non-directional. This means that the sound produced propagates in all directions with approximately equal volume. Brass instruments, on the other hand, are highly directional, with most of the sound produced traveling straight outward from the bell. This difference makes it significantly more difficult to record a brass instrument accurately. It also plays a major role in some performance situations, such as in marching bands. _________ ___________
Brass Instruments Trumpet The trumpet is a musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BC. They are constructed of brass tubing bent twice into an oblong shape, and are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the trumpet. There are several types of trumpet; the most common is a transposing instrument pitched in B♭ but low F, C, D, E♭, E, F, G and A trumpets are also available. The predecessors to trumpets did not have valves; however, modern trumpets have either three piston valves or three rotary valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. The trumpet is used in many forms of music, including classical music and jazz. Horn The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about 12 feet (3.7 m) of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. It is descended from the natural horn and is informally known as
the French horn. Horns have valves, operated with the left hand, to route the air into extra tubing to change the pitch. Most horns have lever-operated rotary valves, but some horns use piston valves (similar to trumpet valves). A horn without valves is known as a natural horn, changing pitch along the natural harmonics of the instrument (similar to a bugle), but with a wide range of notes due to the long tubing. Three valves control the flow of air in the single horn, which is tuned to F or less commonly, B♭. The more common double horn has a fourth valve, usually operated by the thumb, which routes the air to one set of tubing tuned to F or the second set of tubing tuned to B♭. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player (or less frequently, a hornist). Cornet (B ♭) and Cornet (E ♭) The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most 6
common cornet is a transposing instrument in B♭. It is not related to the medieval cornett or cornetto. This instrument could not have been developed without the invention of the valves by Stölzel and Blühml. In symphonic repertoire one will often find separate parts for both trumpet and cornet. As several instrument builders made improvements to both instruments, they started to look and sound more alike. The modern day cornet is used in brass bands, concert bands, wind ensembles, and in specific symphonic repertoire that requires a more mellow sound. Flugelhorn The flugelhorn (also spelled fluegelhorn or flügelhorn) is a brass instrument resembling a trumpet but with a wider, conical bore. Some consider it to be a member of the saxhorn family developed by Adolphe Sax (who also developed the saxophone); however, other historians assert that it stems from the keyed bugle by Michael Saurle (father), Munich 1832 (Royal Bavarian privilege for a "chromatic Flügelhorn" 1832), thus predating Adolphe Sax's innovative work Trombone The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, it is a lip-reed aerophone; sound is produced when the player’s buzzing lips (embouchure) cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate. The trombone is usually characterized by a telescopic slide with which the player varies the length of the tube to change pitches, although the less common valve trombone uses three valves similar to those on a trumpet. The word trombone derives from Italian tromba (trumpet) and -one (a suffix meaning large), so a trombone is quite literally a "large trumpet". Trombones and trumpets share the important characteristic of having predominantly cylindrical bores. Therefore, the most frequently encountered trombones — the alto, tenor and bass trombone — are the natural counterparts of the trumpet. Euphonium The euphonium is a conical-bore, baritone-voiced brass instrument. It derives its name from the Greek word euphonos, meaning "beautiful-sounding" or "sweet-voiced" (eu means "well" or "good" and phonium means "voice"). The euphonium is a valved instrument; nearly all current models are piston valved, though rotary valved models do exist. Tuba or Bass Tuba in B♭. The tuba is the largest and lowest pitched of brass instruments. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid19th century, when it largely replaced the ophicleide.