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Home Ensemble Category Acknowledgment

Aerophones           

> Extracted from the summary of "An introduction to a classification system for all musical isntruments" by Catherine Schmidt-Jones.

In aerophones category, the sound is produced by the vibration of the air (usually in the instruments). Instruments or part of the instruments is shaped (tube or sets of tube) so that the vibration last in for a certain length and  pitch. Aerophones instruments are sub-categorized to what causes the air to vibrate:

Illustration by Margaret Jones

Figure: The melodeon, like its close relatives the accordion and the concertina, is a free-reed aerophone.

1.1    In whistles, the air is blown at a sharp edge in the instrument (as in recorders as well as police whistles).

1.2    In blowhole instruments, the air is blown across the sharp edge at the blowhole. When the instrument is tube-shaped, the blowhole can be in the end ("end-blown", as in panpipes), or in the side of the instrument ("side-blown", as in a fife). Examples are the:

Seruling: Another end-blown flute made of bamboo. It is made from the sumbiling bamboo or even hard wood and varies in length from 8 to 14 inches. The music of this flute is pentatonic.

Nose Flute: This is another common instrument in the ASIAN region. In Malaysia, it is known as the turali. It has an angled blowing end to facilitate blowing with the nose. It is about 24.5 inches long and one inch in diameter. Four basic tones are produced.

Mouth Organ: It is found in Sarawak, known as sompoton. It consists of eight pieces of bamboo pipes of varying lengths and arranged in two rows. These pipes have individual names.

1.3    In reed instruments, the vibration of a reed or reeds begins the air vibration. In single reed (saxophone, for example) and double reed (oboe) instruments, the one or two reeds are part of the mouthpiece. In bagpipes and in free-reed instruments (such as harmonica and accordion), the single or double reeds are mounted somewhere inside the instrument and there can be many of them - sometimes a different reed for every pitch.

Malay famous flute, the Serunai: The end-blown pipe is ubiquitous in Asia. It is believed to have originated from Palestine in the Middle East sometime during the 2nd century. It is a double reed instrument varying in length from 12 to 18 inches, and constructed from a variety of wood such as batang lada, lemab and nangka. Its three main parts are the kepala (head), batang (stem) and pipit (mouth piece). The instrument’s body is adorned with intricate carvings and painted in red, green, gold and black

1.4    In cup mouthpiece instruments, the player buzzes the lips against the mouthpiece, causing a sympathetic vibration in the air inside the instrument such as the bugle, conch shell, and nafiri. (Nafiri: A horn about 32 inches long and made of silver. It has no finger holes. When blown, it produces a wailing drone sound).

1.5    The pipes of an organ have a sharp edge like a whistle, but the pipes are filled with air from something other than a mouth or nose, usually a bellows of some sort.

1.6    Free aerophones (bull-roarers, toy spinning tops), cause vibrations in the air around them rather than inside them.