* List of musical instruments by Hornbostel-Sachs number


The following is a list of musical instruments, categorized according to the Hornbostel-Sachs system, by how they make sound.

1. Idiophones

Instruments which make sound primarily by way of the instrument itself vibrating, without the use of membranes or strings.

11. Struck idiophones

Idiophones set in motion by a percussion action (includes instruments shaken or scraped as well as directly struck instruments).

    * Bell

    * Castanets

    * Chimes

    * Cymbals:

          o Crash cymbal

          o Hi-Hat cymbal

          o Ride cymbal

          o Splash cymbal

    * Glockenspiel

    * Gong

    * Guiro

    * Maracas

    * Marimba

    * Metallophone

    * Steelpan (steel drum)

    * Tambourine

    * Toy piano

    * Triangle

    * Vibraphone

    * Washboard

    * Xylophone

    * Xylorimba

12. Plucked idiophones

Instruments set into vibration by plucking.

    * Jew's harp

    * Mbira

    * Musical box or music box

13. Friction idiophones

Instruments set into vibration by rubbing.

    * Glass harmonica

    * Daxophone

    * Styrophone

    * Musical Saw

    * Nail violin

14. Blown idiophones

Instruments set into vibration by blowing or moving air.

    * Aeolsklavier

2. Membranophones

Instruments which make sound primarily by way of a vibrating membrane. Includes all drums.

21. Struck drums

    * Bass drum

    * Bodhran

    * Bongo drum

    * Conga

    * Kettle drum

    * O Daiko

    * Octoban

    * Snare drum

    * Tabla

    * Taiko

    * Tambourine (the jingles also make this an idiophone)

    * Timpani

    * Tom-Tom

22. Plucked drums

Some commentators believe that instruments in this class ought instead to be regarded as chordophones (see below).

23. Friction drums

    * Cuíca

24. Singing membranes

Instruments in which a membrane modifies some other sound (typically the human voice) in some way (mirlitons).

    * Kazoos

3. Chordophones

    * Gayageum

    * Geomungo

31. Simple chordophones

Instruments consisting of a simple string bearer and strings - there may be an additional resonator, but removing it should not destroy the instrument (so the resonator should not be supporting the strings).

    * Harpsichord

    * Musical bow

    * Piano

    * Zither

32. Composite chordophones

Instruments in which the resonator cannot be removed without destruction of the instrument.

    * Aeolian harp

    * Balalaika

    * Banjo

    * Cello

    * Double Bass

    * Fiddle

    * Fiddle and Violin

    * Vieille

    * Violin

    * Guitars:

          o Acoustic guitar

          o Bass guitar

          o Classical guitar

          o Electric Guitar

          o Slide guitar

          o Steel guitar

    * Hammered dulcimer

    * Hardanger Fiddle

    * Harp

    * Hurdy gurdy

    * Komungo

    * Kora

    * Koto

    * Lute

    * Lyre

    * Mandolin

    * Sitar

    * Ukulele

    * Viol da gamba

    * Viola

    * Viola d'amore

    * Violin

    * Washtub bass

    * Xalam (or khalam)

4. Aerophones

Instruments in which the vibrating air itself is the primary cause of sound. This can include a column of air being set in vibration (as in wind instruments) or an air-flow being interrupted by an edge (as in free-reeds).

41. Free aerophones

The vibrating air is not contained within the instrument.

    * old car horn

    * Bullroarer

    * Siren

    * Whip

412.13. Free-reed instruments

The reed vibrates within a closely fitting slot (there may be an attached pipe, but it should only vibrate in sympathy with the reed, and not have an effect on the pitch - instruments of this class can be distinguished from 422.3 by the lack of finger-holes).

    * Accordion

    * Bandoneon

    * Concertina

    * Harmonica

    * Harmonium

    * Melodica

    * Reed organ

    * Sheng

413. Plosive aerophones

The sound is caused by a single compression and release of air.

    * Udu "drum" or kimkim

    * Boomwhacker

42. Non-free aerophones (wind instruments proper)

The vibrating air is contained within the instrument.

421. Edge-blown instruments or flutes

The player makes a ribbon-shaped flow of air with his lips, or his breath is directed against an edge.

    * Conch shell

    * Ocarina

    * Flute

    * Piccolo

    * Jug

    * Recorder

    * Slide whistle

    * Whistle

    * Shakuhachi

    * Pan pipes

422. Reed instruments

The player's breath is directed against a lamella or pair of lamellae which periodically interrupt the airflow and cause the air to be set in motion.

422.1 Double reed instruments

There are two lamellae which beat against one another.

    * Oboe

    * Oboe d'Amore

    * Cor anglais / English horn (same instrument)

    * Bassoon

    * Contrabassoon

    * Shawm

    * Bombarde

    * Bagpipes:

          o Great Highland Bagpipe

          o Uilleann Pipes

          o Northumbrian Smallpipes

          o Musette

    * Crumhorn

    * Heckelphone

    * Sarrusophone

422.2 Single reed instruments

There is one lamella which beats against a solid surface.

    * Clarinet

    * Bass clarinet

    * Basset-horn

    * Saxophone

    * Tarogato


Similar to the free-reeds with a pipe attached - distinguished from them by the prescence of finger-holes in the pipe.

423. Trumpets

The player's vibrating lips set the air in motion.

423.1 Natural trumpets

There are no means of changing the pitch apart from the player's lips.

    * Bugle

    * Didgeridoo

    * Shofar

    * Alphorn

    * Lur

423.2 Chromatic trumpets

The pitch can be changed by means of keys (423.21) a slide (423.22) or valves (423.23).

    * Bazooka

    * Sackbut

    * Trombone

    * Baritone horn

    * Cornett or Cornetto

    * Serpent

    * Tenor Horn / Alto Horn (same instrument)

    * Cornet

    * Euphonium

    * Flugelhorn

    * French Horn

    * Mellophone

    * Sousaphone

    * Trumpet

    * Tuba

    * Wagner tuba

5. Electrophones

Instruments in which sound is generated by electrical means.

    * Denis d'or

    * Drum machine

    * Hammond organ

    * Mellotron

    * Moog

    * Octapad

    * Ondes Martenot

    * Rhodes piano

    * Synclavier

    * Synthesizer

    * Teleharmonium

    * Theremin

6. Hydrophones

A class of instruments in which sound is generated by water is also under consideration.

    * Organology


Organology is the study of musical instruments. It embraces study of instruments' history, instruments used in different cultures, technical aspects of how instruments produce sound, and musical instrument classification. There is a degree of overlap between organology, ethnomusicology, and musicology.

A number of ancient cultures left documents detailing musical instruments used, their role in society, and sometimes including a classification system. The first major documents on the subjects from the west, however, date from the 16th century, with works such as Sebastian Virdung's Musica getuscht und ausgezogen (1511), Martin Agricola's Musica instrumentalis deudsch (1529).

One of the most important organologists of the 17th century is Michael Praetorius. His Syntagma musicum (1618) is one of the most quoted works from that time on the subject, and is the source of much of what we know about renaissance musical instruments. Praetorius' Theatrum instrumentorium (1620) contains possibly the first pictures of African instruments in a European publication.

For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, little work was done on organology. Explorers returned to Europe with instruments from different cultures, however, so that by the end of the 19th century, some musical instrument collections were quite large. This led to a renewed interest in the subject.

One of the most important organologists of the 20th century was Curt Sachs, who, as well as writing Real-Lexicon der Musikinstrumente (1913) and The History of Musical Instruments (1942), devised with Erich von Hornbostel the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of instrument classification, published in 1914. This remains the most common classification scheme used by organologists today, despite some criticism.

A number of societies exist dedicated to the study of musical instruments. Among the more prominent are the Galpin Society, based in the United Kingdom; and the American Musical Instrument Society, based in the United States.

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