When is Brass not Brass?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by youngblood, May 12, 2007.

  1. youngblood

    youngblood Member

    In conversation the other day we were talking about what makes a brass band a brass band and what makes a brass instrument a brass instrument.

    Officialy it's all about the mouthpiece so...

    OK a Saxophone is not a Brass instrument it is woodwind, fine but I was told by someone the other day that a French horn is not a brass instrument well I ask you!

    So I ask you....

    It's all about the mouthpiece, Oh yea! What about a flute that has a metal mouthpiece?!

    Just something to think about!

    As for what makes a brass band I leave that one to you! Oh and the chap in the corner on the french horn!

    YB
     
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Let's start with the question ... 'what's in a name'? An object is labelled with a descriptive name that helps distinguish it from others and if there are any similarities within it's group, additional descriptors are added to keep it unique. It's when this name travels through time and space and is re-labelled in other languages by word and mouth the original meaning may become diffuse and generalised. A brass band may be interpreted as a village or ceremonial band and individual instruments may be modified or misconstrued in other cultures. However, you will always find that a brass band, regardless of location, will always contain at least one recognised brass instrument.
     
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, it's all about the mouthpiece, and, no, the flute doesn't qualify, because ...

    With a true brass instrument (orchestral or band) the vibration in the air column is set up by the vibration of the players lips, whereas with the flute the vibration does not come directly from the lips but rather is initiated by the disturbance caused by the air stream striking the edge of the aperture in the mouthpiece. Bit like producing a sound by blowing across the neck of a bottle.

    The interesting question concerns the medieval "Cornett" which produces sound using a cup-shaped mouthpiece similar to that of a trumpet, but was made out of wood ...
     

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