Clarinets can play a very wide range of notes and also a wide range of
Just like the other
woodwinds we've looked at, there are a number of different sizes of
clarinet, from the "baby" Eb to the "big mama" Contrabass clarinet
The bassoon is similar to the oboe in that
it uses a double reed to produce sound. However, bassoons play
much lower than oboes.
Bassoons' sound can be very rich and beautiful, but it can also be
obnoxious, like a fog horn.
Here is a video example of the bassoon:
The instrument in the picture
to the left is a Contrabassoon, which is double the size of the regular
bassoon, so it plays even lower.
instruments: french horns,
trumpets, trombones, baritones/euphoniums, and tubas. Sound is
produced on brass instruments by buzzing the lips together in a
mouthpiece. In order to change notes on brass instruments, you
either move a slide or push different combinations of valves. The
valves add tubing when pushed, therefore making the instrument sound
Brass instruments are especially versatile in tone color.
The left picture above shows 2 mouthpieces each for french
horn, trombone/euphonium (they use the same size), and tuba. The
right picture is a trumpet mouthpiece.
The french horn is a special instrument for
First, it always has what are called rotary valves, which you
can see in the picture on the right. These consist of keys which
cause a valve to turn and add more tubing.
Second, the bell of the horn, (the big part where the sound
comes out), faces away from
Third, and most interesting is that horn players have to put
their right hand inside the bell of the
horn. This helps with tuning and tone color.
The french horn usually has a
very mellow, muted sound, but sometimes it can also be very
vibrant. It also has a very wide
Here is a video example of
the french horn:
recognized instrument in the brass family.
This instrument has a large range, both in pitch and in tone
color. The trumpet can play from soft and mellow to loud and
Here is a video example of the trumpet:
The picture to the right is
probably the most famous trumpet player of all time, Louis Armstrong.
On the left are some of the members of the trumpet's ranks. The
bottom horn in the picture is called a cornet. It is very similar
to the trumpet, but its sound is more mellow.
The trombone is a unique instrument as well.
Instead of valves like the rest of the brass instruments, trombones
change pitch by moving a slide.
This requires special skill to feel where each note is on the slide.
The sound of a trombone can be very powerful and vibrant, but can also
be sweet and low.
Here is a video example of the trombone:
The picture to the right
shows, from top to bottom, the bass, tenor, and alto trombones.
Not included is the soprano trombone, which looks like a trumpet with a
slide and has a similar range to a trumpet.
Many people interchange the names baritone and
euphonium. The two instruments have the same range, but
technically the baritone is smaller. You can see this in
the picture to the left, where the euphonium is on the left and the
baritone is on the right.
The sound of the baritone is very open and mellow. Its range is
the same as that of the trombone.
Here is a unique video example of the euphonium:
The tuba is the lowest instrument of the brass family. Tubas are
special in that they are regularly made with both rotary valves and
(like those on
the trumpet and baritone).
Tubas' sound is similar to that of the baritone,
Sometimes tubas can play very light and airy, but
other times they can
be bass powerhouses.
Here is a video example of the tuba:
To the right is a collection
The two standing up in the middle are your average tenor
tubas. The one on the left is a bass,
or BBb tuba. That's the "big mama" of this
Another member of the tuba
section is the sousaphone (picture right). It is normally used
only in marching band, but it is still a member of the family and it is
also kind of funny looking, so I thought I would include it.
San Francisco Symphony- Instruments of the Orchestra- http://www.sfskids.org/router.asp?pageid=3
introduction to the instruments of the orchestra
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra- Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkn8u2JwCPI
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk3dQdyRCpY
This is a
piece by Benjamin Britten which is a narrated introduction to the
Beatboxing flute player- Super Mario Brothers Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crfrKqFp0Zg
This is a fun video
that shows how versatile the flute is.
Play Music- http://www.playmusic.org/
Here's another interactive
introduction to the orchestra as well as some other fun links, such as
how to compose your own music and how to find an
orchestra or a teacher