(Last Updated on : 19/07/2013)
Single Reed Musical Instruments, as name suggests, consist of only one reed to produce melodies or sounds. These are basically woodwind instrument. Reeds of these instruments are generally made of cane and sounds are produced by blowing air through or across them.
Pepa is a famous Single Reed Musical Instrument, used traditionally in Assam
. It is a flute like instrument made up of cane or bamboo
, having a small diameter. The end of it, which remains away from the mouth, is capped with buffalo horn. Pepa represents the tradition of Assam. However, nowadays Pepa has become very rare and expensive owing to the reducing population of buffalos with shrinking pastoral lands.
Been is another musical instrument having a single reed which is extensively used by snake charmers. It is a wind instrument consisting of a gourd with two reed pipes attached to it. Continuous melody is produced by the Been without a break.
Another popular single reed woodwind instrument is Hornpipe. It consists of a pipe having a small diameter. Finger holes are made on the pipe and a bell made of animal horn is attached to it. Often a reed cap is also placed around the reed.
Single Reed Musical Instruments also includes Saxophone. The instrument is made up of brass and is very popular as military music. Saxophone is also widely used in classical and jazz music. It has also become a popular instrument of musical concerts and is found in various sizes. It is mainly composed of a conical brass tube, often plated with silver, gold or nickel. Tone holes are present along the tube, which are covered with soft leather pad keys. Buttons on the keys are pressed to control the opening of the holes which produces mesmerizing melodies.
Clarinet is composed of a single reed mouthpiece, a flaring bell and a cylindrical tube. A huge variety is found in the family of this instruments differing in pitches and sizes. Clarinet is in fact considered as the largest family of woodwind instruments having a tremendous variety. The pitch range is largest in clarinet than any other woodwind instrument. It has an elaborate key organization which is responsible for its vast pitch range.
Another single reed musical instrument is Octavin, having a conical bore. The instrument is somewhat similar to a saxophone
which has a similar range. Its make is however different from saxophone as its conical bore has tapering and the body is made up of wood. It is also a woodwind instrument and is found very rarely.
Mock Trumpet has marked its existence since 17th century. It is also a single reed woodwind instrument. It consists of a pipe without any key. The reed pipe is closed on one end by a cane which is wrapped in leather. Playing of the instrument requires special techniques which need to be learnt by a tutor or method books.
Diplica is another popular single reed instrument. These are often known as double clarinets, owing to its structure. Diplicas originated from the practice of playing wind instruments in pairs. This instrument has two tubes belonging to single reed family, glued or tied together in parallels. A few key holes are also drilled on the pipes for controlling the sound production.
In single reed instruments, sound is produced by the vibration of a single piece of cane against a metal, resin, mouthpiece or some other material. Family of Single Reed Musical Instruments have furnished a variety of musical instruments which vary greatly in terms of melodies and sounds they produce. These amplify the essence and appeal of the music greatly.