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edge-blown aerophone


An instrument that produces sound by air being directed against sharp edge. Typically, an edge-blown aerophone is mouth-blown by the performer.
With a fipple instrument such as a duct flute, the performers breath is directed through a mouthpiece into a duct (often called the windway) where the bottom portion of the duct is referred to as a fipple. The air then flows across a sharp edge (often called the labium), where the air column is split. Half of the air is directed outside of the instrument and the other half continues down the instrument. The air being split is what produces the sound (or "whistle"). The unique quality of the sound of a specific instrument is due to its body, which acts as a resonant cavity. The size of the body responds to specific frequencies in the whistle sound. The change of the size of the body by opening or closing finger holes along the body of the instrument results in the change of pitch.
Since the windway is created in a fixed position with respect to the labium, fipple instruments can make a good musical sound without the kind of embouchure required with other edge-blown instruments such as the flute. Experience and practice is still required to make a professional-sounding tone.

Edge-blown aerophone instruments:

Fipple Instruments (Duct Flutes) Non-Fipple Instruments
slide whistle
bird whistle
boat whistle
police whistle
train whistle
boatswain's whistle
penny whistle


Last Updated: 2016-05-24 13:25:30