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A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make
musical sounds
musical sounds
. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who plays a musical instrument is known as an instrumentalist. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for rituals, such as a
horn Horn usually refers to: *Horn (acoustic), a conical or bell shaped aperture used to guide sound ** Horn (instrument), collective name for tube-shaped wind musical instruments *Horn (anatomy), a pointed, bony projection on the head of various anima ...
to signal success on the hunt, or a
drum , at the Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Gettysburg () was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U. ...
in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of
melodies A melody (from Greek μελῳδία, ''melōidía'', "singing, chanting"), also tune, voice or line, is a linear Linearity is the property of a mathematical relationship ('' function'') that can be graphically represented as a straight ...

melodies
for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications and technologies. The date and origin of the first device considered a musical instrument is disputed. The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple
flute The flute is a family of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the ...

flute
, dates back as far as 67,000 years. Some consensus dates early flutes to about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible, as many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone, wood, and other non-durable materials. Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the post-classical era, instruments from
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
were in
maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
, and Europeans played instruments originating from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North, Central, and South America shared musical instruments. By 1400, musical instrument development slowed in many areas and was dominated by the
Occident The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
. During the
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
and
Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** Romanticism in science, of that er ...
periods of music, lasting from roughly 1750 to 1900, many new musical instruments were developed. While the evolution of traditional musical instruments slowed beginning in the 20th century, the proliferation of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its positio ...

electricity
led to the invention of new electric instruments, such as
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the ful ...
s,
synthesizer A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electronic circuitry. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an el ...

synthesizer
s and the
theremin The theremin (; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electr ...

theremin
. Musical instrument classification is a discipline in its own right, and many systems of classification have been used over the years. Instruments can be classified by their effective range, material composition, size, role, etc. However, the most common academic method,
Hornbostel–Sachs Hornbostel–Sachs or Sachs–Hornbostel is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the in 1914. An English translation was published in the ''Galpin Society, Galp ...
, uses the means by which they produce sound. The academic study of musical instruments is called
organology Organology (from Greek: – ''organon'', "instrument" and λόγος – ''logos'', "study") is the science of musical instruments and their classifications. It embraces study of instruments' history, instruments used in different cultures, techn ...
.


Definition and basic operation

A musical instrument is used to make
musical sounds
musical sounds
. Once humans moved from making sounds with their bodies — for example, by clapping—to using objects to create music from sounds, musical instruments were born. Primitive instruments were probably designed to emulate natural sounds, and their purpose was ritual rather than entertainment. The concept of melody and the artistic pursuit of musical composition were probably unknown to early players of musical instruments. A person sounding a bone flute to signal the start of a hunt does so without thought of the modern notion of "making music". Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from "found objects" such as shells and plant parts. As instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Virtually every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments. One plays a musical instrument by interacting with it in some way — for example, by plucking the strings on a
string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some string instruments by plucking the Stri ...

string instrument
, striking the surface of a drum, or blowing into an animal horn.


Archaeology

Researchers have discovered archaeological evidence of musical instruments in many parts of the world. Some artifacts have been dated to 67,000 years old, while critics often dispute the findings. Consensus solidifying about artifacts dated back to around 37,000 years old and later. Artifacts made from durable materials, or constructed using durable methods, have been found to survive. As such, the specimens found cannot be irrefutably placed as the earliest musical instruments. In July 1995, Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Turk discovered a bone carving in the northwest region of
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes ...

Slovenia
. The carving, named the
Divje Babe Flute The Divje Babe Flute is a cave bear femur pierced by spaced holes that was found in 1995 at the Divje Babe archaeology, archeological park located near Cerkno in northwestern Slovenia. It has been suggested that it was made by Neanderthals as a form ...

Divje Babe Flute
, features four holes that Canadian musicologist Bob Fink determined could have been used to play four notes of a
diatonic scale In music theory Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. ''The Oxford Companion to Music'' describes three interrelated uses of the term "music theory". The first is the "Elements of music, rudiments", that are ...
. Researchers estimate the flute's age at between 43,400 and 67,000 years old, making it the oldest known musical instrument and the only musical instrument associated with
Neanderthal Neanderthals (, also Neandertals, ''Homo neanderthalensis'' or ''Homo sapiens neanderthalensis'') are an extinct species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an orga ...
culture. However, some archaeologists and ethnomusicologists dispute the flute's status as a musical instrument. German archaeologists have found
mammoth A mammoth is any species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organi ...

mammoth
bone and
swan Swans are birds of the family (biology), family Anatidae within the genus ''Cygnus''. The swans' closest relatives include the goose, geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the ...

swan
bone flutes dating back to 30,000 to 37,000 years old in the
Swabian Alps The Swabian Jura (, more rarely: ), sometimes also named Swabian Alps in English, is a mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, extending from southwest to northeast and in width. It is named after the region of Swabia. The Swabian Jura ...
. The flutes were made in the
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone Age (LSA) is a period in African prehistory that follows the Middle Stone Age. The Later Stone Age is associated with the advent of modern human beha ...
age, and are more commonly accepted as being the oldest known musical instruments. Archaeological evidence of musical instruments was discovered in excavations at the Royal Cemetery in the
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclo ...

Sumer
ian city of . These instruments, one of the first ensembles of instruments yet discovered, include nine
lyre The lyre () is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some st ...

lyre
s ( the
Lyres of Ur 200px, Detail of the "Peace" panel of the Standard of Ur showing lyrist, excavated from the same site as the Lyres of Ur. The Lyres of Ur or Harps of Ur are considered to be the world's second oldest surviving stringed instruments after the ones ...
), two
harp The harp is a stringed musical instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that p ...

harp
s, a silver double
flute The flute is a family of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the ...

flute
, a
sistra A sistrum (plural: sistra or Latin sistra; from the Ancient Greek, Greek ''seistron'' of the same meaning; literally "that which is being shaken", from ''seiein'', "to shake") is a musical instrument of the percussion instrument, percussion famil ...
and
cymbal A cymbal is a common percussion instrument. Often used in pairs, cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys. The majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound ...
s. A set of reed-sounded silver pipes discovered in Ur was the likely predecessor of modern
bagpipes Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known examples in the Anglophone world, but people have played bagpipes for ...
. The cylindrical pipes feature three side-holes that allowed players to produce whole tone scales. These excavations, carried out by
Leonard Woolley Sir Charles Leonard Woolley (17 April 1880 – 20 February 1960) was a British archaeologist best known for his Excavation (archaeology), excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is recognized as one of the first "modern" archaeologists who excavated ...
in the 1920s, uncovered non-degradable fragments of instruments and the voids left by the degraded segments that, together, have been used to reconstruct them. The graves these instruments were buried in have been
carbon dated Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of ...
to between 2600 and 2500 BC, providing evidence that these instruments were used in Sumeria by this time. Archaeologists in the
Jiahu Jiahu () was the site of a Neolithic settlement based in the central plain of ancient China, near the Yellow River. It is located between the floodplains of the Ni River (China), Ni River to the north, and the Sha River to the south, north of ...

Jiahu
site of central
Henan province Henan (; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China, in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (), which literally means "central plain" or "midland", although the name is also ap ...
of China have found flutes made of bones that date back 7,000 to 9,000 years, representing some of the "earliest complete, playable, tightly-dated, multinote musical instruments" ever found.


History

Scholars agree that there are no completely reliable methods of determining the exact chronology of musical instruments across cultures. Comparing and organizing instruments based on their complexity is misleading, since advancements in musical instruments have sometimes reduced complexity. For example, construction of early
slit drum Slit may refer to: * Slit (protein), in genetics, the midline repellent signaling molecule * Slitting, a shearing operation that cuts a large roll of material into narrower rolls * Slit trench, a defensive fighting position in warfare * Slit Woods ...
s involved felling and hollowing out large trees; later slit drums were made by opening bamboo stalks, a much simpler task. German musicologist
Curt Sachs Curt Sachs (; June 29, 1881 – February 5, 1959) was a German musicologist. He was one of the founders of modern organology (the study of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In ...

Curt Sachs
, one of the most prominent musicologists and musical ethnologists in modern times, argues that it is misleading to arrange the development of musical instruments by workmanship, since cultures advance at different rates and have access to different raw materials. For example, contemporary
anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
comparing musical instruments from two cultures that existed at the same time but differed in organization, culture, and handicraft cannot determine which instruments are more "primitive". Ordering instruments by geography is also not reliable, as it cannot always be determined when and how cultures contacted one another and shared knowledge. Sachs proposed that a geographical chronology until approximately 1400 is preferable, however, due to its limited subjectivity. Beyond 1400, one can follow the overall development of musical instruments over time. The science of marking the order of musical instrument development relies on archaeological artifacts, artistic depictions, and literary references. Since data in one research path can be inconclusive, all three paths provide a better historical picture.


Prehistoric

Guitar (molo) Until the 19th century AD, European-written music histories began with mythological accounts mingled with scripture of how musical instruments were invented. Such accounts included Jubal, descendant of
Cain Cain ''Káïn''; ar, قابيل/قايين, Qābīl/Qāyīn is a Biblical figure in the Book of Genesis within Abrahamic religions. He is the elder brother of Abel, and the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, the First man or woman, first couple with ...
and "father of all such as handle the harp and the organ" (Genesis 4:21)
Pan Pan may refer to: Prefix *''Pan-'', a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' is added to the word ''happy ...
, inventor of the
pan pipes is made from bamboo bound with reeds and rope A pan flute (also known as panpipes or syrinx) is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sou ...

pan pipes
, and
Mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...
, who is said to have made a dried
tortoise Tortoises () are reptiles Reptiles are tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapoda . It includes extant and extinct amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs and t ...

tortoise
shell into the first
lyre The lyre () is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some st ...

lyre
. Modern histories have replaced such mythology with anthropological speculation, occasionally informed by archeological evidence. Scholars agree that there was no definitive "invention" of the musical instrument since the definition of the term "musical instrument" is completely subjective to both the scholar and the would-be inventor. For example, a ''
Homo habilis ''Homo habilis'' ("handy man") is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the large ...

Homo habilis
'' slapping his body could be the makings of a musical instrument regardless of the being's intent. Among the first devices external to the human body that are considered instruments are rattles, stampers, and various
drum , at the Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Gettysburg () was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U. ...
s. These instruments evolved due to the human motor impulse to add sound to emotional movements such as dancing. Eventually, some cultures assigned ritual functions to their musical instruments, using them for hunting and various ceremonies. Those cultures developed more complex percussion instruments and other instruments such as ribbon reeds, flutes, and trumpets. Some of these labels carry far different connotations from those used in modern day; early flutes and trumpets are so-labeled for their basic operation and function rather than resemblance to modern instruments. Among early cultures for whom drums developed ritual, even sacred importance are the
Chukchi people Chukchi man The Chukchi, or Chukchee ( ckt, Ԓыгъоравэтԓьэт, О'равэтԓьэт, ''Ḷygʺoravètḷʹèt, O'ravètḷʹèt''), are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal peopl ...
of the
Russian Far East Koryaksky volcano in Kamchatka The Russian Far East ( rus, Дальний Восток России, r=Dal'niy Vostok Rossii, p=ˈdalʲnʲɪj vɐˈstok rɐˈsʲiɪ) is a region in Northeast Asia. It is the easternmost part of Russia and the A ...

Russian Far East
, the indigenous people of
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from the island of New Guinea in the west to Tonga in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea. The region includes the four independent countries of Fiji, V ...

Melanesia
, and many cultures of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are ...

Africa
. In fact, drums were pervasive throughout every African culture. One East African tribe, the Wahinda, believed it was so holy that seeing a drum would be fatal to any person other than the sultan. Humans eventually developed the concept of using musical instruments to produce
melody A melody (from Greek language, Greek μελῳδία, ''melōidía'', "singing, chanting"), also tune, voice or line, is a Linearity#Music, linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal ...

melody
, which was previously common only in singing. Similar to the process of
reduplication In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

reduplication
in language, instrument players first developed repetition and then arrangement. An early form of melody was produced by pounding two stamping tubes of slightly different sizes—one tube would produce a "clear" sound and the other would answer with a "darker" sound. Such instrument pairs also included bullroarers, slit drums, shell trumpets, and skin drums. Cultures who used these instrument pairs associated them with gender; the "father" was the bigger or more energetic instrument, while the "mother" was the smaller or duller instrument. Musical instruments existed in this form for thousands of years before patterns of three or more tones would evolve in the form of the earliest
xylophone The xylophone (from the Greek words —''xylon'', "wood" + —''phōnē'', "sound, voice", literally meaning "sound of wood") is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In princi ...

xylophone
. Xylophones originated in the mainland and archipelago of
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, south-east of the Indian sub ...

Southeast Asia
, eventually spreading to Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Along with xylophones, which ranged from simple sets of three "leg bars" to carefully tuned sets of parallel bars, various cultures developed instruments such as the ,
ground zither Ground may refer to: * Soil, a mixture of clay, sand and organic matter present on the surface of the Earth * Ground (electricity), the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltages are measured ** Earthing system, part of an elect ...

ground zither
,
musical bow The musical bow (bowstring or string bow, a subset of bar zithers) is a simple string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make ...
, and
jaw harp The jaw is any opposable articulated structure at the entrance of the mouth In animal anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an ...

jaw harp
. Recent research into usage wear and acoustics of stone artefacts has revealed a possible new class of prehistoric musical instrument, known as
lithophone A lithophone is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object ...
s.


Antiquity

Images of musical instruments begin to appear in Mesopotamian artifacts in 2800 BC or earlier. Beginning around 2000 BC,
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclo ...

Sumer
ian and
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili' ...

Babylon
ian cultures began delineating two distinct classes of musical instruments due to
division of labor The division of labour is the separation of tasks in any economic system or organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated a ...
and the evolving class system. Popular instruments, simple and playable by anyone, evolved differently from professional instruments whose development focused on effectiveness and skill. Despite this development, very few musical instruments have been recovered in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
. Scholars must rely on artifacts and
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is name ...

cuneiform
texts written in or
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
to reconstruct the early history of musical instruments in Mesopotamia. Even the process of assigning names to these instruments is challenging since there is no clear distinction among various instruments and the words used to describe them. Although Sumerian and Babylonian artists mainly depicted ceremonial instruments, historians have distinguished six
idiophone An idiophone is any musical instrument that creates sound primarily by the vibration of the instrument itself, without the use of air flow (as with aerophones), strings (music), strings (chordophones), acoustic membrane, membranes (membranophone ...
s used in early Mesopotamia: concussion clubs, clappers,
sistra A sistrum (plural: sistra or Latin sistra; from the Ancient Greek, Greek ''seistron'' of the same meaning; literally "that which is being shaken", from ''seiein'', "to shake") is a musical instrument of the percussion instrument, percussion famil ...

sistra
, bells, cymbals, and rattles. Sistra are depicted prominently in a great relief of
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun is Satisfied"; Hellenization, Hellenized as Amenophis III), also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty. According to different autho ...

Amenhotep III
, and are of particular interest because similar designs have been found in far-reaching places such as
Tbilisi Tbilisi ( ; ka, თბილისი ), in some languages still known by its pre-1936 name Tiflis ( ), is the Capital city, capital and the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), largest city of Georgia (country), Georgia, lying on the ...

Tbilisi
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Wester ...
and among the Native American
Yaqui The Yaqui, Hiaki, or Yoeme, are a Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan-speaking indigenous people of Mexico in the valley of the Río Yaqui in the Mexican state of Sonora and the Southwestern United States. They also have communities in Chihuahua ( ...
tribe. The people of Mesopotamia preferred stringed instruments, as evidenced by their proliferation in Mesopotamian figurines, plaques, and seals. Innumerable varieties of harps are depicted, as well as lyres and lutes, the forerunner of modern stringed instruments such as the
violin The violin, sometimes known as a '' fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone ( string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (soprano A soprano () is a ty ...

violin
. Musical instruments used by the Egyptian culture before 2700 BC bore striking similarity to those of Mesopotamia, leading historians to conclude that the civilizations must have been in contact with one another. Sachs notes that Egypt did not possess any instruments that the Sumerian culture did not also possess. However, by 2700 BC the cultural contacts seem to have dissipated; the lyre, a prominent ceremonial instrument in Sumer, did not appear in Egypt for another 800 years. Clappers and concussion sticks appear on Egyptian vases as early as 3000 BC. The civilization also made use of sistra, vertical flutes, double clarinets, arched and angular harps, and various drums. Little history is available in the period between 2700 BC and 1500 BC, as Egypt (and indeed, Babylon) entered a long violent period of war and destruction. This period saw the
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificatio ...
destroy the Babylonian empire in Mesopotamia and the
Hyksos Hyksos (; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''wikt:ḥqꜣ, ḥqꜣ(w)-wikt:ḫꜣst, ḫꜣswt'', Egyptological pronunciation: ''hekau khasut'', "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; grc, Ὑκσώς, ) is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kin ...
destroy the
Middle Kingdom of Egypt The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (also known as The Period of Reunification) is the period in the history of ancient Egypt following a period of political division known as the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, First Intermediate Period. The Middle ...
. When the Pharaohs of Egypt conquered Southwest Asia in around 1500 BC, the cultural ties to Mesopotamia were renewed and Egypt's musical instruments also reflected heavy influence from Asiatic cultures. Under their new cultural influences, the people of the
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of th ...
began using
oboe The oboe ( ) is a type of double reed woodwind instrument. Oboes are usually made of wood, but may also be made of synthetic materials, such as plastic, resin or hybrid composites. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A ...

oboe
s, trumpets,
lyre The lyre () is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some st ...

lyre
s,
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
s,
castanets , Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = ...

castanets
, and
cymbal A cymbal is a common percussion instrument. Often used in pairs, cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys. The majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound ...
s. Unlike Mesopotamia and Egypt, professional musicians did not exist in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
between 2000 and 1000 BC. While the history of musical instruments in Mesopotamia and Egypt relies on artistic representations, the culture in Israel produced few such representations. Scholars must therefore rely on information gleaned from the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...

Bible
and the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been ...

Talmud
. The Hebrew texts mention two prominent instruments associated with Jubal: the ''ugab'' (pipes) and ''
kinnor Kinnor ( he, כִּנּוֹר) is an ancient Israelite musical instrument in the yoke lutesYoke lutes, commonly called lyres, are a class of string instruments, subfamily of lutes, indicated with the code 321.2 in the Hornbostel–Sachs classific ...

kinnor
'' (lyre). Other instruments of the period included the ''tof'' (
frame drum A frame drum is a drum that has a drumhead width greater than its depth. It is one of the most ancient musical instruments, and perhaps the first drum to be invented. It has a single drumhead that is usually made of rawhide (textile), rawhide, b ...
), ''pa'amon'' (small bells or jingles),
shofar A shofar ( ; from he, שׁוֹפָר, ) is an ancient musical Horn (instrument), horn typically made of a Ram (sheep), ram's horn (anatomy), horn, used for Judaism, Jewish religious purposes. Like the modern bugle, the shofar lacks pitch (musi ...

shofar
, and the trumpet-like ''hasosra''. The introduction of a monarchy in Israel during the 11th century BC produced the first professional musicians and with them a drastic increase in the number and variety of musical instruments. However, identifying and classifying the instruments remains a challenge due to the lack of artistic interpretations. For example, stringed instruments of uncertain design called nevals and asors existed, but neither archaeology nor etymology can clearly define them. In her book ''A Survey of Musical Instruments'', American musicologist Sibyl Marcuse proposes that the nevel must be similar to vertical harp due to its relation to ''nabla'', the Phoenician term for "harp". In
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A contin ...

Greece
,
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
, and
Etruria Etruria () was a region of Central Italy Central Italy ( it, Italia centrale or just ) is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy used by the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica, National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), a Italian N ...

Etruria
, the use and development of musical instruments stood in stark contrast to those cultures' achievements in architecture and sculpture. The instruments of the time were simple and virtually all of them were imported from other cultures. Lyres were the principal instrument, as musicians used them to honor the gods. Greeks played a variety of wind instruments they classified as ''
aulos An ''aulos'' ( grc, αὐλός, plural , ''auloi'') or ''tibia'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rom ...

aulos
'' (reeds) or ''
syrinx In classical Greek mythology, Syrinx (Greek language, Greek Σύριγξ) was a nymph and a follower of Artemis, known for her chastity. Pursued by the amorous god Pan (god), Pan, she ran to a river's edge and asked for assistance from the Pota ...
'' (flutes); Greek writing from that time reflects a serious study of reed production and playing technique. Romans played reed instruments named ''
tibia The tibia (; ), also known as the shinbone or shankbone, is the larger, stronger, and anterior (frontal) of the two Leg bones, bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates (the other being the fibula, behind and to the outside of the tibia), an ...
'', featuring side-holes that could be opened or closed, allowing for greater flexibility in playing modes. Other instruments in common use in the region included vertical harps derived from those of the Orient, lutes of Egyptian design, various pipes and organs, and clappers, which were played primarily by women. Evidence of musical instruments in use by early civilizations of India is almost completely lacking, making it impossible to reliably attribute instruments to the Munda languages, Munda and Dravidian languages, Dravidian language-speaking cultures that first settled the area. Rather, the history of musical instruments in the area begins with the Indus Valley Civilization that emerged around 3000 BC. Various rattles and whistles found among excavated artifacts are the only physical evidence of musical instruments. A clay statuette indicates the use of drums, and examination of the Indus script has also revealed representations of vertical arched harps identical in design to those depicted in Sumerian artifacts. This discovery is among many indications that the Indus Valley and Sumerian cultures maintained cultural contact. Subsequent developments in musical instruments in India occurred with the Rigveda, or hymns. These songs used various drums, shell trumpets, harps, and flutes. Other prominent instruments in use during the early centuries AD were the Snake charming, snake charmer's double clarinet,
bagpipes Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known examples in the Anglophone world, but people have played bagpipes for ...
, barrel drums, cross flutes, and short lutes. In all, India had no unique musical instruments until the post-classical era. Musical instruments such as zithers appeared in Chinese writings around 12th century BC and earlier. Early Chinese philosophy, Chinese philosophers such as Confucius (551–479 BC), Mencius (372–289 BC), and Laozi shaped the development of musical instruments in China, adopting an attitude toward music similar to that of the Greeks. The Chinese believed that music was an essential part of character and community, and developed a unique system of classifying their musical instruments according to their material makeup. Idiophones were extremely important in Chinese music, hence the majority of early instruments were idiophones. Poetry of the Shang dynasty mentions bells, chimes, drums, and globular flutes carved from bone, the latter of which has been excavated and preserved by archaeologists. The Zhou dynasty saw percussion instruments such as clapper (musical instrument), clappers, troughs, wooden fish, and ''Yu (percussion instrument), yǔ'' (wooden tiger). Wind instruments such as flute, pan-pipes, pitch-pipes, and mouth organs also appeared in this time period. The ''Xiao (flute), xiao'' (an end-blown flute) and various other instruments that spread through many cultures, came into use in China during and after the Han dynasty. Although civilizations in Central America attained a relatively high level of sophistication by the eleventh century AD, they lagged behind other civilizations in the development of musical instruments. For example, they had no stringed instruments; all of their instruments were idiophones, drums, and wind instruments such as flutes and trumpets. Of these, only the flute was capable of producing a melody. In contrast, pre-Columbian South American civilizations in areas such as modern-day Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile were less advanced culturally but more advanced musically. South American cultures of the time used pan-pipes as well as varieties of flutes, idiophones, drums, and shell or wood trumpets. An instrument that can be attested to the Iron Age Celts is the carnyx which is dated to ~300 BC, the elongated trumpet-like instrument which had the end of the bell crafted from bronze into the shape of a screaming animal head which was held high above their heads, when blown into, the carnyx would emit a deep, harsh sound, the head also had a tongue which clicked when vibrated, the intention of the instrument was to use it on the battleground to intimidate their opponents.


Post-classical era/Middle Ages

During the period of time loosely referred to as the post-classical era and Europe in particular as the Middle Ages, China developed a tradition of integrating musical influence from other regions. The first record of this type of influence is in 384 AD, when China established an orchestra in its imperial court after a conquest in Turkestan. Influences from Middle East, Persia, India, Mongolia, and other countries followed. In fact, Chinese tradition attributes many musical instruments from this period to those regions and countries. Cymbals gained popularity, along with more advanced trumpets, clarinets, pianos, oboes, flutes, drums, and lutes. Some of the first Bow (music), bowed zithers appeared in China in the 9th or 10th century, influenced by Mongolian culture. India experienced similar development to China in the post-classical era; however, stringed instruments developed differently as they accommodated different styles of music. While stringed instruments of China were designed to produce precise tones capable of matching the tones of chimes, stringed instruments of India were considerably more flexible. This flexibility suited the slides and tremolos of Hindu music. Rhythm was of paramount importance in Indian music of the time, as evidenced by the frequent depiction of drums in reliefs dating to the post-classical era. The emphasis on rhythm is an aspect native to Indian music. Historians divide the development of musical instruments in medieval India between pre-Islamic and Islamic periods due to the different influence each period provided. In pre-Islamic times, idiophones such as handbells, cymbals, and peculiar instruments resembling gongs came into wide use in Hindu music. The gong-like instrument was a bronze disk that was struck with a hammer instead of a mallet. Tubular drums, stick zithers (veena), short fiddles, double and triple flutes, coiled trumpets, and curved India horns emerged in this time period. Islamic influences brought new types of drum, perfectly circular or octagonal as opposed to the irregular pre-Islamic drums. Persian influence brought oboes and sitars, although Persian sitars had three strings and Indian version had from four to seven. The Islamic culture also introduced double-clarinet instruments as the Alboka (from Arab, al-buq or "horn") nowadays only alive in Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country. It must be played using the technique of the circular breathing. Southeast Asian musical innovations include those during a period of Indian influence that ended around 920 AD. Balinese people, Balinese and Javanese people, Javanese music made use of
xylophone The xylophone (from the Greek words —''xylon'', "wood" + —''phōnē'', "sound, voice", literally meaning "sound of wood") is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In princi ...

xylophone
s and metallophones, bronze versions of the former. The most prominent and important musical instrument of Southeast Asia was the gong. While the gong likely originated in the geographical area between Tibet and Burma, it was part of every category of human activity in
maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
including Java. The areas of Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula experiences rapid growth and sharing of musical instruments once they were united by Islamic culture in the seventh century. Frame drums and cylindrical drums of various depths were immensely important in all genres of music. Conical oboes were involved in the music that accompanied wedding and circumcision ceremonies. Persian miniatures provide information on the development of timpani, kettle drums in Mesopotamia that spread as far as Java. Various lutes, zithers, Hammered dulcimer, dulcimers, and harps spread as far as Madagascar to the south and modern-day Sulawesi to the east. Despite the influences of Greece and Rome, most musical instruments in Europe during the Middles Ages came from Asia. The lyre is the only musical instrument that may have been invented in Europe until this period. Stringed instruments were prominent in Middle Age Europe. The central and northern regions used mainly lutes, stringed instruments with Neck (music), necks, while the southern region used lyres, which featured a two-armed body and a crossbar. Various harps served Central and Northern Europe as far north as Ireland, where the harp eventually became a national symbol. Lyres propagated through the same areas, as far east as Estonia. European music between 800 and 1100 became more sophisticated, more frequently requiring instruments capable of polyphony. The 9th-century Persian people, Persian geographer Ibn Khordadbeh mentioned in his lexicographical discussion of music instruments that, in the Byzantine Empire, typical instruments included the ''urghun'' (Organ (music), organ), ''shilyani'' (probably a type of
harp The harp is a stringed musical instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that p ...

harp
or
lyre The lyre () is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some st ...

lyre
), ''salandj'' (probably a bagpipe) and the Byzantine lyra, lyra. The Byzantine lyra, a Bow (music), bowed string instrument, is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the
violin The violin, sometimes known as a '' fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone ( string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (soprano A soprano () is a ty ...

violin
. The monochord served as a precise measure of the notes of a musical scale, allowing more accurate musical arrangements. Mechanical Hurdy-gurdy, hurdy-gurdies allowed single musicians to play more complicated arrangements than a fiddle would; both were prominent folk instruments in the Middle Ages. Southern Europeans played short and long lutes whose pegs extended to the sides, unlike the rear-facing pegs of Central and Northern European instruments. Idiophones such as bells and clappers served various practical purposes, such as warning of the approach of a Leprosy, leper. The ninth century revealed the first
bagpipes Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known examples in the Anglophone world, but people have played bagpipes for ...
, which spread throughout Europe and had many uses from folk instruments to military instruments. The construction of pneumatic Organ (music), organs evolved in Europe starting in fifth-century Spain, spreading to England in about 700. The resulting instruments varied in size and use from portable organs worn around the neck to large pipe organs. Literary accounts of organs being played in English Benedictine abbeys toward the end of the tenth century are the first references to organs being connected to churches. Reed players of the Middle Ages were limited to
oboe The oboe ( ) is a type of double reed woodwind instrument. Oboes are usually made of wood, but may also be made of synthetic materials, such as plastic, resin or hybrid composites. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A ...

oboe
s; no evidence of clarinets exists during this period.


Modern


Western Classical


=Renaissance

= Musical instrument development was dominated by the
Occident The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
from 1400 on, indeed, the most profound changes occurred during the Renaissance period. Instruments took on other purposes than accompanying singing or dance, and performers used them as solo instruments. Keyboards and lutes developed as polyphonic instruments, and composers arranged increasingly complex pieces using more advanced tablature. Composers also began designing pieces of music for specific instruments. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, orchestration came into common practice as a method of writing music for a variety of instruments. Composers now specified orchestration where individual performers once applied their own discretion. The polyphonic style dominated popular music, and the instrument makers responded accordingly. Beginning in about 1400, the rate of development of musical instruments increased in earnest as compositions demanded more dynamic sounds. People also began writing books about creating, playing, and cataloging musical instruments; the first such book was Sebastian Virdung's 1511 treatise ''Musica getuscht und ausgezogen'' ('Music Germanized and Abstracted'). Virdung's work is noted as being particularly thorough for including descriptions of "irregular" instruments such as hunters' horns and cow bells, though Virdung is critical of the same. Other books followed, including Arnolt Schlick's ''Spiegel der Orgelmacher und Organisten'' ('Mirror of Organ Makers and Organ Players') the following year, a treatise on organ building and organ playing. Of the instructional books and references published in the Renaissance era, one is noted for its detailed description and depiction of all wind and stringed instruments, including their relative sizes. This book, the ''Syntagma musicum'' by Michael Praetorius, is now considered an authoritative reference of sixteenth-century musical instruments. In the sixteenth century, musical instrument builders gave most instruments – such as the violin – the "classical shapes" they retain today. An emphasis on aesthetic beauty also developed; listeners were as pleased with the physical appearance of an instrument as they were with its sound. Therefore, builders paid special attention to materials and workmanship, and instruments became collectibles in homes and museums. It was during this period that makers began constructing instruments of the same type in various sizes to meet the demand of ''consorts'', or ensembles playing works written for these groups of instruments. Instrument builders developed other features that endure today. For example, while organs with multiple keyboards and pedals already existed, the first organs with Organ stop, solo stops emerged in the early fifteenth century. These stops were meant to produce a mixture of timbres, a development needed for the complexity of music of the time. Trumpets evolved into their modern form to improve portability, and players used Mute (music), mutes to properly blend into chamber music.


=Baroque

= Beginning in the seventeenth century, composers began writing works to a higher emotional degree. They felt that polyphony better suited the emotional style they were aiming for and began writing musical parts for instruments that would complement the singing human voice. As a result, many instruments that were incapable of larger ranges and dynamics, and therefore were seen as unemotional, fell out of favor. One such instrument was the shawm. Bowed instruments such as the violin, viola, baryton, and various lutes dominated popular music. Beginning in around 1750, however, the lute disappeared from musical compositions in favor of the rising popularity of the guitar. As the prevalence of string orchestras rose, wind instruments such as the flute, oboe, and bassoon were readmitted to counteract the monotony of hearing only strings. In the mid-seventeenth century, what was known as a hunter's horn underwent a transformation into an "art instrument" consisting of a lengthened tube, a narrower bore, a wider bell, and a much wider range. The details of this transformation are unclear, but the modern French horn, horn or, more colloquially, French horn, had emerged by 1725. The slide trumpet appeared, a variation that includes a long-throated mouthpiece that slid in and out, allowing the player infinite adjustments in Pitch (music), pitch. This variation on the trumpet was unpopular due to the difficulty involved in playing it. Organs underwent tonal changes in the Baroque period, as manufacturers such as Abraham Jordan of London made the stops more expressive and added devices such as expressive pedals. Sachs viewed this trend as a "degeneration" of the general organ sound.


=Classical and Romantic

= During the
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
and
Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** Romanticism in science, of that er ...
periods of music, lasting from roughly 1750 to 1900, many musical instruments capable of producing new timbres and higher volume were developed and introduced into popular music. The design changes that broadened the quality of timbres allowed instruments to produce a wider variety of expression. Large orchestras rose in popularity and, in parallel, the composers determined to produce entire orchestral scores that made use of the expressive abilities of modern instruments. Since instruments were involved in collaborations of a much larger scale, their designs had to evolve to accommodate the demands of the orchestra. Some instruments also had to become louder to fill larger halls and be heard over sizable orchestras. Flutes and bowed instruments underwent many modifications and design changes—most of them unsuccessful—in efforts to increase volume. Other instruments were changed just so they could play their parts in the scores. Trumpets traditionally had a "defective" range—they were incapable of producing certain notes with precision. New instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, and tuba became fixtures in orchestras. Instruments such as the clarinet also grew into entire "families" of instruments capable of different ranges: small clarinets, normal clarinets, bass clarinets, and so on. Accompanying the changes to timbre and volume was a shift in the typical pitch used to tune instruments. Instruments meant to play together, as in an orchestra, must be tuned to the same standard lest they produce audibly different sounds while playing the same notes. Beginning in 1762, the average concert pitch began rising from a low of 377 vibrations to a high of 457 in 1880 Vienna. Different regions, countries, and even instrument manufacturers preferred different standards, making orchestral collaboration a challenge. Despite even the efforts of two organized international summits attended by noted composers like Hector Berlioz, no standard could be agreed upon.


Twentieth century to present

The evolution of traditional musical instruments slowed beginning in the 20th century. Instruments such as the violin, flute, french horn, and harp are largely the same as those manufactured throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Gradual iterations do emerge; for example, the "New Violin Family" began in 1964 to provide differently sized violins to expand the range of available sounds. The slowdown in development was a practical response to the concurrent slowdown in orchestra and venue size. Despite this trend in traditional instruments, the development of new musical instruments exploded in the twentieth century, and the variety of instruments developed overshadows any prior period. The proliferation of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its positio ...

electricity
in the 20th century led to a new category of musical instruments: electronic instruments, or electrophones. The vast majority produced in the first half of the 20th century were what Sachs called "electromechanical instruments"; they have mechanical parts that produce sound vibrations picked up and amplified by electrical components. Examples include Hammond organs and
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the ful ...
s. Sachs also defined a subcategory of "radioelectric instruments" such as the
theremin The theremin (; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electr ...

theremin
, which produces music through the player's hand movements around two antennas. Image:Moog Modular 55 img2.jpg, 200px, A 1975 Moog synthesizer, Moog Modular 55 synthesizer The latter half of the 20th century saw the evolution of
synthesizer A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electronic circuitry. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an el ...

synthesizer
s, which produce sound using circuits and microchips. In the late 1960s, Bob Moog and other inventors developed the first commercial synthesizers, such as the Moog synthesizer. Whereas once they had filled rooms, synthesizers can now be embedded in any electronic device, and are ubiquitous in modern music. Sampler (musical instrument), Samplers, introduced around 1980, allow users to Sampling (music), sample and reuse existing sounds, and were important to the development of hip hop. 1982 saw the introduction of MIDI, a Standardization, standardized means of synchronizing electronic instruments. The modern proliferation of computers and microchips has created an industry of electronic musical instruments.


Classification

There are many different methods of classifying musical instruments. Various methods examine aspects such as the physical properties of the instrument (material, color, shape, etc.), the use for the instrument, the means by which music is produced with the instrument, the Range (music), range of the instrument, and the instrument's place in an orchestra or other ensemble. Most methods are specific to a geographic area or cultural group and were developed to serve the unique classification requirements of the group. The problem with these specialized classification schemes is that they tend to break down once they are applied outside of their original area. For example, a system based on instrument use would fail if a culture invented a new use for the same instrument. Scholars recognize
Hornbostel–Sachs Hornbostel–Sachs or Sachs–Hornbostel is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the in 1914. An English translation was published in the ''Galpin Society, Galp ...
as the only system that applies to any culture and, more importantly, provides the only possible classification for each instrument. The most common classifications are String instrument, strings, Brass instrument, brass, Woodwind instrument, woodwind, and Percussion instrument, percussion.


Ancient systems

An ancient Hindu system named the ''Natya Shastra'', written by the sage Bharata Muni and dating from between 200 BC and 200 AD, divides instruments into four main classification groups: instruments where the sound is produced by vibrating strings; percussion instruments with skin heads; instruments where the sound is produced by vibrating columns of air; and "solid", or non-skin, percussion instruments. This system was similar to some degree in 12th-century Europe by Johannes de Muris, who used the terms ''tensibilia'' (stringed instruments), ''inflatibilia'' (wind instruments), and ''percussibilia'' (all percussion instruments). In 1880, Victor-Charles Mahillon adapted the ''Natya Shastra'' and assigned Greek labels to the four classifications: ''chordophones'' (stringed instruments), ''membranophones'' (skin-head percussion instruments), ''aerophones'' (wind instruments), and ''autophones'' (non-skin percussion instruments).


Hornbostel–Sachs

Erich von Hornbostel and
Curt Sachs Curt Sachs (; June 29, 1881 – February 5, 1959) was a German musicologist. He was one of the founders of modern organology (the study of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In ...

Curt Sachs
adopted Mahillon's scheme and published an extensive new scheme for classification in ''Zeitschrift für Ethnologie'' in 1914. Hornbostel and Sachs used most of Mahillon's system, but replaced the term ''autophone'' with ''idiophone''. The original
Hornbostel–Sachs Hornbostel–Sachs or Sachs–Hornbostel is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the in 1914. An English translation was published in the ''Galpin Society, Galp ...
system classified instruments into four main groups: * Idiophones, which produce sound by vibrating the primary body of the instrument itself; they are sorted into concussion, percussion, shaken, scraped, split, and plucked idiophones, such as claves,
xylophone The xylophone (from the Greek words —''xylon'', "wood" + —''phōnē'', "sound, voice", literally meaning "sound of wood") is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In princi ...

xylophone
, guiro,
slit drum Slit may refer to: * Slit (protein), in genetics, the midline repellent signaling molecule * Slitting, a shearing operation that cuts a large roll of material into narrower rolls * Slit trench, a defensive fighting position in warfare * Slit Woods ...
, mbira, and Rattle (percussion instrument), rattle. * Membranophones, which produce sound by a vibrating a stretched membrane; they may be drums (further sorted by the shape of the shell), which are struck by hand, with a stick, or rubbed, but kazoos and other instruments that use a stretched membrane for the primary sound (not simply to modify sound produced in another way) are also considered membranophones. * Chordophones, which produce sound by vibrating one or more strings; they are sorted according to the relationship between the string(s) and the sounding board or chamber. For example, if the strings are laid out parallel to the sounding board and there is no neck, the instrument is a zither whether it is plucked like an autoharp or struck with hammers like a piano. If the instrument has strings parallel to the sounding board or chamber and the strings extend past the board with a neck, then the instrument is a
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
, whether the sound chamber is constructed of wood like a guitar or uses a membrane like a banjo. * Aerophones, which produce a sound with a vibrating column of air; they are sorted into free aerophones such as a bullroarer or whip, which move freely through the air; reedless aerophones such as
flute The flute is a family of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the ...

flute
s and recorders, which cause the air to pass over a sharp edge; reed instruments, which use a vibrating reed (this category may be further divided into two classifications: single-reeded and double-reeded instruments. Examples of the former are clarinets and saxophones, while the latter includes oboes and bassoons); and lip-vibrated aerophones such as trumpets, trombones and tubas, for which the lips themselves function as vibrating reeds. Sachs later added a fifth category, electrophones, such as
theremin The theremin (; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electr ...

theremin
s, which produce sound by electronic means. Within each category are many subgroups. The system has been criticised and revised over the years, but remains widely used by ethnomusicology, ethnomusicologists and organology, organologists.


Schaeffner

Andre Schaeffner, a curator at the Musée de l'Homme, disagreed with the Hornbostel–Sachs system and developed his own system in 1932. Schaeffner believed that the pure physics of a musical instrument, rather than its specific construction or playing method, should always determine its classification. (Hornbostel–Sachs, for example, divides aerophones on the basis of sound production, but membranophones on the basis of the shape of the instrument). His system divided instruments into two categories: instruments with solid, vibrating bodies and instruments containing vibrating air.


Range

Musical instruments are also often classified by their musical range in comparison with other instruments in the same family. This exercise is useful when placing instruments in context of an orchestra or other ensemble. These terms are named after singing voice classifications: * Soprano instruments:
flute The flute is a family of musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the ...

flute
,
violin The violin, sometimes known as a '' fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone ( string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (soprano A soprano () is a ty ...

violin
, soprano saxophone, trumpet, clarinet,
oboe The oboe ( ) is a type of double reed woodwind instrument. Oboes are usually made of wood, but may also be made of synthetic materials, such as plastic, resin or hybrid composites. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A ...

oboe
, piccolo * Alto instruments: alto saxophone, french horn, alto flute, english horn, alto clarinet, viola, alto horn * Tenor instruments: trombone, tenoroon, tenor saxophone, tenor violin, guitar, tenor drum * Baritone instruments: bassoon, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, cello, baritone horn, euphonium * Bass (sound), Bass instruments: double bass, bass guitar, contrabassoon, bass saxophone, tuba, bass drum Some instruments fall into more than one category. For example, the cello may be considered tenor, baritone or bass, depending on how its music fits into the ensemble. The trombone and French horn may be alto, tenor, baritone, or bass depending on the range it is played in. Many instruments have their range as part of their name: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone horn, alto flute, bass guitar, etc. Additional adjectives describe instruments above the soprano range or contrabass, below the bass, for example the sopranino saxophone and contrabass clarinet. When used in the name of an instrument, these terms are relative, describing the instrument's range in comparison to other instruments of its family and not in comparison to the human voice range or instruments of other families. For example, a bass flute's range is from C3 to F♯6, while a bass clarinet plays about one octave lower.


Construction

The materials used in making musical instruments vary greatly by culture and application. Many of the materials have special significance owing to their source or rarity. Some cultures worked substances from the human body into their instruments. In ancient Mexico, for example, the material drums were made from might contain actual human body parts obtained from sacrificial offerings. In New Guinea, drum makers would mix human blood into the adhesive used to attach the Acoustic membrane, membrane. Morus (plant), Mulberry trees are held in high regard in China owing to their mythological significance—instrument makers would hence use them to make zithers. The Yakuts believe that making drums from trees struck by lightning gives them a special connection to nature. Musical instrument construction is a specialized trade that requires years of training, practice, and sometimes an apprenticeship. Most makers of musical instruments specialize in one genre of instruments; for example, a luthier makes only stringed instruments. Some make only one type of instrument such as a piano. Whatever the instrument constructed, the instrument maker must consider materials, construction technique, and decoration, creating a balanced instrument that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Some builders are focused on a more artistic approach and develop experimental musical instruments, often meant for individual playing styles developed by the builder themself.


User interfaces

Regardless of how the sound is produced, many musical instruments have a keyboard as the user interface. Keyboard instruments are any instruments that are played with a musical keyboard, which is a row of small keys that can be pressed. Every key generates one or more sounds; most keyboard instruments have extra means (Piano#Pedals, pedals for a piano, Organ stop, stops and a pedal keyboard for an organ) to manipulate these sounds. They may produce sound by wind being fanned (organ (music), organ) or pumped (accordion),Bicknell, Stephen (1999). "The organ case". In Thistlethwaite, Nicholas & Webber, Geoffrey (Eds.), ''Cambridge Companions to Music, The Cambridge Companion to the Organ'', pp. 55–81. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Howard, Rob (2003) An A to Z of the Accordion and related instruments Stockport: Robaccord Publications vibrating strings either hammered (piano) or plucked (harpsichord),Fine, Larry. The Piano Book, 4th ed. Massachusetts: Brookside Press, 2001. by electronic means (
synthesizer A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electronic circuitry. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an el ...

synthesizer
),Paradiso, JA. "Electronic music: new ways to play". Spectrum IEEE, 34(2):18–33, Dec 1997. or in some other way. Sometimes, instruments that do not usually have a keyboard, such as the ''glockenspiel'', are fitted with one. Though they have no moving parts and are struck by mallets held in the player's hands, they have the same physical arrangement of keys and produce soundwaves in a similar manner. The
theremin The theremin (; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electr ...

theremin
, an electrophone, is played without physical contact by the player. The theremin senses the proximity of the player's hands, which triggers changes in its sound. More recently, a MIDI controller keyboard used with a digital audio workstation may have a musical keyboard and a bank of sliders, knobs, and buttons that change many sound parameters of a
synthesizer A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electronic circuitry. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an el ...

synthesizer
.


Instrumentalist

A person who plays a musical instrument is known as an instrumentalist or Musician#Types, instrumental musician. Many instrumentalists are known for playing specific musical instruments such as guitarist (guitar), pianist (piano), bassist (Bass (instrument), bass), and drummer (
drum , at the Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Gettysburg () was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U. ...
). These different types of instrumentalists can perform together in a music group. A person who is able to play a number of instruments is called a multi-instrumentalist. According to David Baskerville in the book ''Music Business Handbook and Career Guide'', the working hours of a full-time instrumentalist may average only three hours a day, but most musicians spent at least 40 hours a week.


See also

* List of musical instruments * Folk instrument * Experimental musical instrument * Recording studio as an instrument * Music instrument technology * Orchestra


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * Music Library Association (1974). ''Committee on Musical Instrument Collections. A Survey of Musical Instrument Collections in the United States and Canada'', conducted by a committee of the Music Library Association, William Lichtenwanger, chairman & compiler, ed. and produced by James W. Pruitt. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Music Library Association. xi, p. 137, '' *


External links

* {{Authority control Musical instruments,