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to select the harmonic at which the instruments column of air will vibrate. By making the instrument about twice as long as the equivalent woodwind instrument and starting with the second harmonic, players can get a good range of notes simply by varying the tension of their lips see embouchure. Brass players call each harmonic a partial because each loop of the vibrating air column only occupies part of the tubing whereas at the fundamental, the loop occupies the entire length of tubing.

Most brass instruments are fitted with a removable mouthpiece. Different shapes, sizes and styles of mouthpiece may be used to suit different embouchures, or to more easily produce certain tonal characteristics. Trumpets, trombones, and tubas are characteristically fitted with a cupped mouthpiece, while horns are fitted with a conical mouthpiece.

One interesting difference between a woodwind instrument and a brass instrument is that woodwind instruments are non directional. This means that the sound produced propagates in all directions with approximately equal volume. Brass instruments, on the other hand, are highly directional, with most of the sound produced traveling straight outward from the bell. This difference makes it significantly more difficult to record a brass instrument accurately. It also plays a major role in some performance situations, such as in marching bands.

 

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