Instrument Classification Encyclopedia

Understanding the classification of instruments will help you to decide on which is best for you and your lifestyle. This instrument encyclopedia will help to define the categories that you need to look into before deciding. Music is universal, so the drums that you see used by tribes in sub-Saharan Africa may differ in form from the ones used in China, but you know that they are essentially used in similar ways in producing music. Researchers have considered the Hornbostel-Sachs system as the standard of classification of instruments. It uses the basic construction or playing method of a particular musical instrument to determine the category it belongs to.

Percussion
This is considered to be the oldest type of musical instrument. Sound can be produced using the hand, a beater, or a similar instrument by striking or scraping any part of it. The percussions are important in producing rhythm, melody, and harmony and key examples of percussion instruments include drums, cymbal, castanet, gong, and xylophone.

Strings
The sound is produced when the strings that are attached to the instrument vibrate. The vibrations can be caused by plucking, striking, or bowing the strings. The most popular examples of this category are the violin, guitar, ukulele, piano, and harp.

Woodwinds
This category includes the flutes and reed instruments. It produces sound when the wind blown into it is split by a sharp edge at the mouthpiece. The pitch can be changed by opening or closing holes with your fingers. The best examples of this category include the oboe, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, and the bagpipe.

Brass
Despite the name, not all of the instruments that are under this category are made of brass. They are wind instruments that are characterised by long tubes and a flared end. The sound is produced by buzzing the lips into the mouthpiece while the pitch is controlled through valves, slides, or keys along the tubed body of the instrument. Some brass instruments like the trumpet, horn, and trombone are made of metal, while traditional brass instruments like the didgeridoo and the alphorn are made of wood.

Of course, there are further subcategories that are included in these classifications but this instrument encyclopedia is an excellent place to start.