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Kinds of Musical Instruments Essay

Trumpet

A soprano brass wind instrument consisting of a long metal tube looped once and ending in a flared bell, the modern type being equipped with three valves for producing variations in pitch.

Trombone A brass instrument consisting of a long cylindrical tube bent upon itself twice, ending in a bell-shaped mouth, and having a movable U-shaped slide for producing different pitches.

French Horn

A valved brass wind instrument that produces a mellow tone from a long narrow tube that is coiled in a circle before ending in a flaring bell.

Tuba

A large, valved, brass wind instrument with a bass pitch. A reed stop in an organ, having eight-foot pitch.

Euphonium

A brass wind instrument similar to the tuba but having a somewhat higher pitch and a mellower sound.

Flugelhorn

The could produce only the natural harmonics flugelhorn is a valved bugle developed in Germany. It has a conical bore. The bugle had no valves and therefore of the tube.

Percussion instruments

DRUM SET

The first drum sets were put together in the late 1800s sometime after the invention of the bass drum pedal. This invention made it possible for one person to play several percussion instruments (snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals) at one time

Bass Drum

This drum is the largest member of the set and is played by using a foot pedal attached to a beater which then strikes the drum head. This drum produces a low deep sound.

Snare Drum

This shallow, cylindrical drum produces a sound that is very distinctive to the drum (higher in pitch than the bass drum). The snares, which are bands of metal wires, are pulled across the bottom head of the drum. This produces a buzzing or snapping sound when the drum is struck using a variety of techniques.

Bell

Bells can be made from various materials including clay, glass or metal. It also ranges in shape and size. It may be played by lightly shaking it as in hand bells or by striking it using a metal or wooden striker or mallet.

Bongo Drum

Another type of drum that is mostly used in world music is the bongo drum. Bongos are played by striking the fingertips and/or the heel of the hand on the drumhead.

Castanet

For some reason I think of chestnuts when I hear the word castanets. True enough the word castanet was derived from the Spanish word castana meaning chestnuts. Castanets belong to the clapper family of percussion instruments.

Conga Drum

A conga drum is another type of percussion instrument belonging to the drum family. It is shaped somewhat like a barrel and is played the same way as the bongo drum. Conga also refers to a form of dance of Afro-Cuban origin. A perfect example is the song “Conga” by Gloria Estefan.

Cymbal

The player holds the strap attached to each cymbal and brushes it against each other or clash it together. It can either be held horizontally or vertically and played either loudly or softly depending on the music.

Glockenspiel

Glockenspiels have tuned steel bars or tubes which are struck by the musician using two beaters. The beaters may be made from metal, wood or rubber.

Gong

Remember that show on NBC during the 70’s hosted by Chuck Barris? It was called “The Gong Show” and it’s an amateur talent show where the gong was sounded to signal that a contestant was eliminated. Read more about the gong.

Maracas

The maracas is one of the easiest musical instruments to play; you just need to have a sense of rhythm, timing and a flair for shaking. Maracas are made in various materials including plastic and wood and it ranges from the very simple to the most intricate designs.

Metallophone

Generally, metallophones differ from xylophones because the tuned bars which are struck with a mallet are made of metal, hence the name metallophones. There are many different kinds of metallophones; here we will focus on those which are used by Indonesian gamelan orchestras.

TRIANGLE

The triangle is another commonly used percussion instrument. The instrument is made by bending a steel rod into a triangle shape with an opening at one corner. It is suspended by a string and struck with a steel beater to produce a tone. The instrument has been used in Europe since the 14th century.

XYLOPHONE

The xylophone is a mallet percussion instrument. It consists of a set of graduated wooden bars which are hit with mallets to produce a tone. Xylophones were used in Southeast Asia during the 1300s and spread to Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

Woodwind Instruments

Saxophone

The saxophone is a member of the reed -sounded wind instruments. In its construction, it combines the single reed and mouthpiece of the clarinet, a metal body, and a widened version of the conical bore of the oboe.

Bassoon

The bassoon is a double reed instrument. It is made up of about eight feet of cylidrical wood tubing. There are four joints in the bassoon: the bass joint, the tenor join, the double joint, and the bell joint.

Clarinet

The clarinet, a member of the woodwind family, usually consists of a long tube with a mouthpiece at one end and a bell-shaped opening at the other end. Usually made of wood, the clarinet has tone holes that are covered by small metal levers

Oboe

The oboe is the smallest and highest pitched double reed instrument. It has a cylindrical wooden body with keys along the length of its body.

English Horn

The English Horn is part of the oboe family. It is also called an alto oboe because it is tuned one-fifth lower in pitch than an oboe. Its shape is similar to that of an oboe and is often played by the third oboe player in an orchestra.

Flute

The flute is the instrument that serves as the soprano voice in most bands, orchestras, and woodwind groups. Most flutes are made of metal and consist chiefly of a tube with a mouthpiece near one end.

Piccolo

The piccolo is a type of transverse flute that is pitched an octave above the concert (or standard) flute. It has a range of nearly three octaves and reaches the highest pitches of a modern orchestra. It is usually used for special effects in orchestras but is more widely used in concert and marching bands

String Instruments

Violin

The violin, which is probably the best known orchestral instrument, is a stringed instrument that is played with a bow. The violin is the highest pitched member of the violin family, which also includes the viola, the cello, and the double bass.

Viola

The viola is the second highest pitched member of the violin family. It has four strings tuned to the notes c, g, d, and a. Music for the viola is written in the alto clef. Violas vary in size, although they are always larger and tuned lower than violins.

Cello

The cello, also known as violoncello, is a stringed instrument which is part of the violin family. It is played with a bow much like the violin. It is also shaped liked a violin but is much larger. The cello is about four feet long and one and a half feet across at its widest part and, therefore, this member of the violin family is played sitting down

String Bass

The double bass (also known as the string bass, bass viol, or contrabass) is the largest and lowest pitched string instrument of the violin family. It is usually six feet high and has four strings.


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