A woodwind is a type of musical instrument that you play by blowing into its mouthpiece. Flutes, clarinets, and oboes are all woodwinds. So are bagpipes—but you might have a hard time convincing your music teacher to let you play bagpipes in the marching band.

Most woodwinds have a mouthpiece with a thin strip of material called a reed that vibrates when air passes. Blowing into a saxophone or clarinet is different than blowing across the opening in a flute or piccolo, but they're all woodwinds. Each requires wind, or a stream of blown air, to play notes. While today most woodwinds are made from metal and other materials, the original woodwinds were wooden—which explains the wood part of the name.

Definitions of woodwind

n any wind instrument other than the brass instruments

wood, woodwind instrument
show 8 types...
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beating-reed instrument, reed, reed instrument
a musical instrument that sounds by means of a vibrating reed
flute, transverse flute
a high-pitched woodwind instrument; a slender tube closed at one end with finger holes on one end and an opening near the closed end across which the breath is blown
double reed, double-reed instrument
a woodwind that has a pair of joined reeds that vibrate together
a small high-pitched flute similar to a piccolo; has a shrill tone and is used chiefly to accompany drums in a marching band
a reed that does not fit closely over the aperture
nose flute
a flute that is played by blowing through the nostrils (used in some Asian countries)
a small flute; pitched an octave above the standard flute
single-reed instrument, single-reed woodwind
a beating-reed instrument with a single reed (as a clarinet or saxophone)
Type of:
wind, wind instrument
a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by an enclosed column of air that is moved by the breath

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