Musical instrument

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Attributes of Music, 1770. This still life painting depicts a variety of French Baroque musical instruments, such as a natural horn, transverse flute, musette, pardessus de viole, and lute.

A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications.

The date and origin of the first device considered a musical instrument is disputed. The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple flute, dates back as far as 67,000 years. Some consensus dates early flutes to about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition and the relative instability of materials used to make them. Many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone, wood, and other non-durable materials.

Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the Middle Ages, instruments from Mesopotamia were in maritime Southeast Asia, and Europeans played instruments from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North, Central, and South America shared musical instruments. By 1400, musical instrument development slowed in many areas and was dominated by the Occident.

Musical instrument classification is a discipline in its own right, and many systems of classification have been used over the years. Instruments can be classified by their effective range, their material composition, their size, etc. However, the most common academic method, Hornbostel-Sachs, uses the means by which they produce sound. The academic study of musical instruments is called organology.

Definition and basic operation

A musical instrument makes sounds. Once humans moved from making sounds with their bodies—for example, by clapping—to using objects to create music from sounds, musical instruments were born.[1] Primitive instruments were probably designed to emulate natural sounds, and their purpose was ritual rather than entertainment.[2] The concept of melody and the artistic pursuit of musical composition were unknown to early players of musical instruments. A player sounding a flute to signal the start of a hunt does so without thought of the modern notion of "making music".[2]

Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from "found objects" such a shells and plant parts.[2] As instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Virtually every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments.[2] One plays a musical instrument by interacting with it in some way—for example, by plucking the strings on a string instrument.[2]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Musiekinstrument
Alemannisch: Musikinstrument
العربية: آلة موسيقية
armãneashti: Hâlati muzicalâ
azərbaycanca: Musiqi aləti
bamanankan: Fɔlifɛn
Bân-lâm-gú: Ga̍k-khì
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Музычны інструмэнт
བོད་ཡིག: རོལ་ཆ།
brezhoneg: Benveg-seniñ
Cymraeg: Offeryn cerdd
Ελληνικά: Μουσικό όργανο
euskara: Musika tresna
فارسی: ساز
Gaeilge: Uirlis cheoil
Gàidhlig: Innealan-ciùil
贛語: 樂器
ગુજરાતી: સંગીત વાદ્ય
한국어: 악기
hrvatski: Glazbala
Bahasa Indonesia: Alat musik
íslenska: Hljóðfæri
עברית: כלי נגינה
Basa Jawa: Piranti musik
Lëtzebuergesch: Museksinstrument
lingála: Eyémbeli
la .lojban.: zgitci
magyar: Hangszer
Bahasa Melayu: Alat muzik
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တူရိယာ
Nāhuatl: Tlatzotzonalli
Nederlands: Muziekinstrument
नेपाल भाषा: बाजं
日本語: 楽器
norsk nynorsk: Musikkinstrument
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Musiqa asbobi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸਾਜ਼
پښتو: ساز
Plattdüütsch: Musikinstrument
Runa Simi: Waqachina
संस्कृतम्: वाद्ययन्त्राणि
Seeltersk: Musikinstrumente
Simple English: Musical instrument
slovenčina: Hudobný nástroj
slovenščina: Glasbilo
Soomaaliga: Qalab muusig
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Muzički instrumenti
suomi: Soitin
Türkçe: Çalgı
Tiếng Việt: Nhạc cụ
Võro: Pill
West-Vlams: Muziekinstrument
吴语: 乐器
粵語: 樂器
中文: 乐器