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Different Types of Musical Instruments

Music is the most beautiful form of art that is communicated through variety of musical instruments producing sounds, rhythms, and tones. The oldest musical instrument dates back to the rich heritage and after that many varieties have been introduced with each delivering its unique sound and quality

These instruments are divided into many categories depending on different types of classification. A significant classification is based on the mechanism used for producing sound under which instruments are divided into five basic categories.

Explore here some of the most significant types of musical instruments:

String Instruments

String instruments produce sound through the mechanism of a vibrating string. Strings are composed of metal, synthetic, or natural materials and are of varied thickness, weight, length, and tension. The composition, dimension, and the weight of the strings play an integral role in the quality of sound produced. When the strings are thick and heavy, vibration is slow resulting in lower pitch whereas faster vibration results in higher pitch. Some of the most common types of string instruments are guitar, piano, violin, cello, viola, double bass, mandolin, harp, and santoor.

Wind Instruments

Wind instruments are those instruments in which sound is made by the vibration of air in a pipe or a tube. The key factor influencing the pitch of sound produced is the frequency of air vibration that greatly depends on the size of the air chamber or the tube. Larger the size of the air chamber deeper will be the sound produced. Some instruments like flute have holes in the tube to change the pitch of the sound. Covering and uncovering these holes change the path of the air which directly affects the air chamber size that changes the frequency and eventually the pitch. Some of the most popular wind instruments are flute, clarinet, bassoon, English horn, saxophone, bagpipe, and harmonica.

Brass Instruments

Brass instruments produce a unique nature and texture of sound. They work on the principle of air vibration and sound frequency. The pitch produced is directly related to the size of the air chamber that depends on the size and the length of the tube, pipe, or the instrument. The larger the size of the chamber, lower is the pitch of the sound. These instruments have holes or valves that are used to control the path of air. Pressing a valve changes the path of air that affects the sound wave by changing the length of the pipe. This way by shortening and lengthening the size of the pipe the sound pitch is altered as desired. Some common brass instruments are trumpet, bugle, conch, and french horn.

Percussion Instruments

Percussion instruments produce sound waves by being hit or shaken by any kind of striking object. The vibration and the wave produced depend on the type of surface and the type of material used to strike the instrument surface. Apart from this the thickness and size of the material also influences the sound quality and the vibration. Furthermore different sounds are produced by striking different areas of the instrument’s surface. Some significant instruments under this category are drum, xylophone, cymbal, marimba, triangle, bells, tambourine, and wood block.


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