Reedless wind instrument
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Wind instruments are often characterized by their number of reeds, which is typically zero, one, or two. Reedless wind instruments typically have no moving parts other than the wind (air) itself. Examples include the flute, ocarina, recorder, tin whistle, and calliope (steam whistles).
Categorization by number of reeds
- 0 reeds: Instruments such as the flute, or whistles, that have zero reeds typically have a fipple mechanism, or some similar sharp edge against which air is blown;
- 1 reeds: Instruments such as the saxophone that have one reed;
- 2 reeds: Instruments such as the bassoon or oboe that have two reeds that beat against each other, rather than a single reed that beats against a mouthpiece.
Purest form of wind instrument
Under the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, reedless wind instruments are aerophones in the most pure sense that there are no moving parts other than the air itself, and thus the attribution of the sound source is wholly the air. Whereas a clarinet functions mostly as a wind instrument (aerophone), some percentage of the sound production may be attributed to the beating of the reed, which, although not considered an idiophone, does contribute, to a slight degree, non-aerophonic components to the initial sound production.
In reedless wind instruments the solid matter from which the instrument's body is made takes on the role only of containing the fluid (air) that makes the sound.
Reedless water instrument
Whereas wind instruments use compressible fluid (air), a new category of instruments, called hydraulophones, use less-compressible fluid (water). Hydraulophones in their most pure form, are reedless. These are called waterflutes. Other hydraulophones have one or more reeds, which vibrate in a stream of water.