Types of Musical Instruments
Musical Instruments are classified by the way they create tones of sound. Each type of musical instrument creates tones in different ways. The most common methods for producing tones are:
Stringed Musical InstrumentsIn stringed instruments, the sound source is a tensioned, vibrating string. The length, thickness, tension and density of the string all affect the pitch of a given string. Longer, thicker, and looser strings vibrate slower than shorter, thinner, tighter strings. After tuning a stringed instrument, the player can fret (press down) on the strings at certain points to shorten the vibrating portion of the string, thereby changing the tone that is produced.
Viola da gamba
Wind Musical InstrumentsIn wind instruments, the sound source is a vibrating column of air inside a tube. The length and diameter of the vibrating air in the tube affects the pitch. The more volume of air vibrating, the lower the pitch. A wind instrument player can adjust the areas of vibrating air by opening and closing holes along the instruments length.
Drum and Percussion InstrumentsIn percussion instruments, the sound source is a vibrating membrane (like a drum head), or a vibrating piece of material (like a xylaphone). The drummer / percussionist causes the material to vibrate by hitting, striking, shaking, or rubbing the instrument.
Drum and Percussion Instruments
Mbira or Sanza
Musical Instruments and the Science of Sound
Musical tones are longitudinal vibrations of air, at specific frequencies / wavelengths. Each musical note corresponds to a specific frequency / wavelength. For instance, the standard tuned 'A' note has a frequency of 440 hertz (440hz), which means that the wavelength passes through the air at 440 cycles in one second. The corresponding wavelength of the note 'A' is about .75 meters.
The Physics and Geometry of Sound and MusicFor more information on the physics and geometry of sound and music, check out these links:
The Geometry Behind Music (Banana's Article)
Connexions - Frequency, Wavelength and Pitch
Connexions - Octaves and the Major-Minor Tonal System
Wikipedia - Wavelengths of Musical Instruments
Wikipedia - Frequency of Musical Instruments
Classifications of Musical InstrumentsFor more information on classifications of musical instruments, check out these links:
Pacific Science Center Musical Instrument Families
Musical Instruments in the Yahoo! Directory
The CHICO Instrument Encyclopedia
Major Musical Instrument ManufacturersFor information on major musical instrument manufacturers, check out these links:
Fender Musical Instruments - Guitars, Basses, Amplifiers and Accessories
Gibson Musical Instruments - Guitars, Basses, Mandolins, Banjos, Dobros, Amplifiers and Accesssories
Yamaha Musical Instruments - Pianos, Drums, Keyboards, Guitars, Basses, Stringed Instruments and Wind Instruments