Classification of Musical Instruments
Musical Instruments are classifed according to five major catergories, based on the sound produced by the vibrating material. This system of classification was invented by musicologist Curt Sachs, and it is now universally accepted. This system was later named the Sachs-Hornbostel system.
1) Idiophones - Self sounding instruments. They are of naturally sonourous material. They may be struck, shaken, plucked, or rubbed. A few examples of struck idiophones are bells, cymbals, and lithophones. Shaken Idiophones are rattles. An example of plucked idiophones are harps, and an example of rubbed idiophones are harmonicas.
2) Membranophones - Instruments producing sound by means of a stretched skin, or membrane. Some examples are kettledrums, snare drums, and tambourines. Some of these drums are rubbed instead of struck.
3) Aerophones - Wind instruments. The sound is caused by vibrating air. In Tubular Aerophones, the air is inclosed in a tube in 3 ways: 1) Trumpets and Horns - The players compressed lips set the air into motion 2) Reed Instruments (clarinet, saxaphone, oboe) - a single or double beeting reed sets the air into motion 3) Flutes: The sharp edge of a hole, against which the players breath is directed, sets the air into motion
Most saxophones, flutes, and many clarinets are made of metal. Horns and trumpets haven been made of other materials such as wood, ivory tusk, animal horn, gold, and clay.
4) Chordophones - String instruments. 4 types: a) Zithers - neckless instruments, with strings stretched from end to end of a board. They are struck or plucked. b) Lutes - instruments with necks. They may be plucked or bowed. c) Lyres - Instruments with two projecting arms linked by a crossbar. May be plucked or bowed d) Harps - instruments in which the string's plane is at an angle, rather than parallel to the sound board.
5) Electrophones Instruments using electronic circuits. Amplification of Sound - May use an electronic circuit to reinforce means of amplification. Examples: Electric guitar, electric piano
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