Wind music is a term used in modern music to describe music created wind instruments and produced the player’s breath. However, there are several types of wind music. Wind music, as opposed to breath music, is less commonly used to describe music created the wind of the Earth.
Only “aerophone” instruments such as flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons, as well as saxophones, are strictly capable of producing this type of music. These instruments generate sound vibrating a column of air. Brass labrosones, or “lip vibrated” instruments like trumpets and french horns, are frequently divided from wind instruments. Because players cannot cause their lips to vibrate and produce a tone on the instrument without using their breath, labrosones are technically a subcategory of aerophone. As a result, brass instruments frequently collaborate with woodwind instruments, such as the french horn in a woodwind quintet.
Wind music is defined the primary instruments rather than the accompaniment. If a composer writes a flute solo with string quartet accompaniment, for example, the flute is the instrument that stands out for its virtuosity and tone. Despite the presence of strings, which are not aerophones, the work would be classified as wind music.
Concert and chamber music are the two main types of wind music created with the breath. In order to be performed well in small rooms, concert music necessitates the participation of far too many players. Wind bands, also known as wind ensembles, are probably the best example of this type of group. They can have anywhere from 25 to 100 performers and, depending on the band type, can march. Chamber music is usually composed of fewer than ten players. Solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets are the most common sizes for chamber wind music, though music for octets and double quintets is also available.
Wind musicians must prepare their instruments in ways that non-aerophone musicians are not required to do. The primary factor to consider is that the instrument is usually much cooler than the player’s breath, especially if the performance space is extremely hot. Heat makes aerophones sharp, so players literally warm their instruments before a performance blowing into them without the reed or holding them in their hands for at least five minutes. This helps to prevent pitch shifts during play, as well as damage such as cracks caused rapid temperature changes. For non-aerophones, “warming up” means getting the body’s muscles, particularly those of the fingers and mouth, ready for the movements required in performance.
Another factor to consider for wind players is pitch sustainment. Some players can use techniques like circular breathing, but most players can only hold notes for as long as they can push air out of their lungs. Non-aerophone instruments, on the other hand, do not have this problem. A string player, for example, can sustain a pitch for the duration of the pitch if necessary, though they must change bow direction to maintain the sound. When writing music, composers must keep this in mind and ensure that phrases are not constructed in such a way that it is impossible to take a deep breath.
Wind music refers to sounds made instruments such as the Aeolian harp or even wind chimes that are produced without the use of breath. These instruments’ sounds are unpredictable and aleotoric, meaning they are left to chance, because they rely on the wind for tonal production. As a result, there is no way to compose this type of wind music, though recordings of the sounds can be transcribed and written down if desired.