Folk & Traditional Wind & Keyboard Instruments

Native American Flutes
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About Wind & Keyboard Instruments

There are nearly as many varieties of folk instrument as there are styles of folk music itself and some of the most recognizable examples can be found in the category of wind and keyboard instruments. Possibly the best-known is the harmonica led by manufacturers such as Hohner and Lee Oskar. This handheld wind instrument is made of a central piece called a comb with one or more reed-plates attached to the sides to create the distinctive sound. A harmonica may be diatonic meaning it plays a single key or chromatic in which case it contains multiple reed plates that can be selected by the player to determine the instrument's key.

Other popular instruments are related to the harmonica such as the melodica which uses a keyboard to direct airflow to individual reeds for note selection. Its most famous relative however would certainly be the accordion which is controlled entirely by hand allowing melody and accompaniment to be played at the same time via two sets of keys while airflow is provided by opening and closing the instrument's bellows.

Naturally there are many other wind instruments outside the free-reed family to which harmonicas melodicas and accordions belong. The bagpipes are one such well-known instrument using enclosed reeds along with a system of finger holes to control notes and an air-filled bag to supply a steady wind stream. Some simpler instruments can be found here as well including the kazoo and whistles that are used to add accents to music and can serve as accessible starter instruments for young children who may move on to more advanced ones later.