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woodwinds

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A group of wind instruments with a softer tone than that of brass instruments. Woodwind players do not set the air in their instruments in motion by blowing through their closed lips against a cup-shaped mouthpiece, as players of brass instruments do. In woodwinds, the players insert the mouthpiece into their mouths and blow while pressing their lips against a single or double reed. Bassoons, clarinets, oboes, and saxophones are played in this way. In other woodwinds, the player blows across a hole (fifes, flutes, and piccolos) or into a whistlelike mouthpiece (recorders).

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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