Musical Instruments

Jennifer C. Post

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Musical Instruments

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  • Music
  • Applied Music
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Theory and Analysis
  • Musicology and Music History
  • Music Education and Pedagogy


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Musical instruments are devices used to produce musical sound. Instruments also express individual and community identities and reflect physical geographies. The role a musical instrument plays in a society can range widely: for example, it can be used for entertainment or have a central role in ritual; its use in ensemble can demonstrate social solidarity or possessing a specific instrument can enhance the status of an individual. Most instruments are carefully constructed in conjunction with the beliefs and values of the community where it is played. Their sounds result from instrument makers’ and performers’ careful selection of acoustically resonant and aesthetically pleasing materials, such as two carefully chosen stones clapped together to accompany the songs of urban singers in Uzbekistan or use by a luthier of hand-selected and aged rosewood, spruce, and ebony for a fine guitar in England. Organology, or the study of musical instruments, has focused particularly on classification, instrument design and construction, and performance practice. More recently, the study of instruments has grown due to greater interest in the disciplines of ethnomusicology and musicology in using musical instruments to better understand social lives, local and global economies, key political events, physical geographies, religious belief systems, and other aspects of human activities in which music plays a role. This list of resources on musical instruments contains materials that provide broad information on musical instruments, including historical overviews, dictionaries and encyclopedias, and studies and sources for information on issues such as classification, construction, and social use in a country, region, or historical period.

Article.  9884 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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