Wind instruments have been around for thousands of years. Wind horns were made from many materials, such as ram, cow, wood and conch shell. Anything that someone could blow in that made sound, it was used.
Where Did Wind Instruments Come From
According to MKwhistles.com, over twenty thousand years ago, man realized he could produce a sound by blowing into things like hollow cane or dried fruit shell. When they would blow hard or soft, they realized they can make different sounds which sounded like music. Though wind instruments are not considered the first forms of music, vocalists and percussion instruments were the first and second, they are considered to be the third.
Blowing through a dead bone or a cut plant was considered magic to man at the time. I have to say, I have never blown into a dead bone, but how many of you remember putting a slice of grass between your thumbs and blowing to make a noise? I remember doing this as a child. Do you?
Finding Multiple Musical Notes
Can you imagine using multiple one note instruments to get multiple sounds? That is exactly what primitive man did…. That was until they realized if they blew harder they would produce other notes. They also figured out, if blown right, they could produce harmonics of the basic note. In some ancient countries like, Egypt, China and Samaria, they invented finger hole instruments. Using one to four holes, they were able to create pentatonic melodies by using root notes with harmonics. Soon after, the basic musical scale and progression were invented.
Some Inventive Facts About The Woodwind Instruments
Woodwind instruments like the oboe, flute and clarinet, all have separate backgrounds and a different time period that in which they came into existence. These instruments are called woodwinds because they were originally made out of wood. Some are called woodwind because they use a wooden reed.
Flute-The first one was found in southwest Germany and was hollowed from the bone of a Griffin vulture measuring eight and a half inches long, and had 5 finger holes. This flute is thought to be around 35,00 years old.
Clarinet-In 2700BC Egyptians called it a Zummara or Memet. The clarinet as we know it today was invented in the 17th century by Johan Christoph Dener.
Obeo-In the 17th century these instruments were made in Germany and France. At the end of the 19th century, with a new mechanism, the Oboe was redone and created in France. Known as the Conservatoire style, this style is what is used today.
Brass instruments aren’t always made of brass. Being a wind instrument, they can be made of other material such as wood, shells or horns. The technical term for these instruments is aerophone (“aero” is air and “phone” is sound. This is because musicians must blow air into the instrument in order to produce sound. One of the earliest trumpets were discovered in the tomb of King Tutankhamen and still exist today. One was made of copper and the other was made of silver. In 1939 a musician by the name of James Tappern played these instruments, over the air, to every corner of the world. To hear these instruments go to:
Rex Keating, who presented the 1939 broadcast, later claimed that during rehearsal the silver trumpet shattered and Alfred Lucas, a member of Carter’s team who had restored the trumpets, was so distressed he needed to go to the hospital. Due to their fragile state, it is unlikely the trumpets will be played again.
Brass instruments like the trombone and trumpet emerged thousands of years apart. In the Egyptian culture, drawings of trumpets were found to date back to 1500 BC. Many other countries have depictions of the trumpet including, Israel, Greece, India, China and Japan. These types of trumpets were made from bamboo, silver, shell, ivory, wood and bone. The early trumpets back then were simply long tubes with bell on the end.
The early trumpets were originally used to call an army into battle or announce a royalty arrival, but the use of these instruments were different between the countries. The Israelite used this instrument, made of a rams horn, to mark significant religious occasions, or to announce war. Ancient German armies used cow horns to signal mealtimes and announce military significant. In Britain, Romans used cow horns to announce the start of rugby and boxing matches. The Egyptians, Celts and Danes all used cow horns as ceremonial instruments. Conch shell trumpets were used among priests and monks throughout Asia to announce ceremonies and call others to worship. In Fiji Islanders played them for funeral processions.
In the early Fifteenth century, instrument makers developed the first “S” shaped trumpet, which resembles the modern trumpet of today. While it had a brilliant tone, at also had a limited range of notes. This instrument was followed by the slide trumpet which was awkward to play, so the sackbut, the predecessor of the trombone, was designed with double tubes to shorten the distance the slide had to travel, while increasing the range of notes. This double tubing, is what is used today for many instruments.
In 1597 composers began to realize the potential of brass instruments to be incorporated into music. Giovanni Gabrieli composed “Sonate pian’ forte,” the first piece of music to incorporate brass instruments.
Wind instruments have been placed into culture around the globe for centuries. As they started out as significant Instruments for war, meetings, royalty or religion, they have been know to put out some beautiful music when played together or by themselves.
Nowadays, the wind instruments are mostly found in Orchestras or jazz bands and even sometimes in rock bands but they are still a beautiful and respected instrument and has served its purpose throughout history.
There are many other brass and woodwind instruments not mentioned here, but they deserve the same respect as any instrument played today.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I hope you enjoyed this article.