In all literate cultures there are known families or guilds of instrument makers, e. Around the world, instrument makers have long signed their products. Although similar respectful positions are held by instrument makers in cultures without a written record, their reputation is far less likely to spread beyond their particular time and place.
Instrument makers have always represented a blend of conservatism with the ability to quickly seize on and use a new constructional technique, a new tool , or a new material. Their contribution to both the history of music and the history of musical instruments has been enormous and little appreciated. The older makers of instruments were craftsmen who took delight in the appearance of their work.
In some cases, additions are purely decorative, as when pictures were painted on the inside of harpsichord lids or elaborate patterns were carved onto Indian vinas or inlaid into Persian lutes and drums. The rare set of 9th-century court instruments found in Nara, Japan, includes stunning examples of such artisan skills from all over East Asia.
Equal beauty is found on many of the anonymously constructed instruments of Oceania. Often these additions are symbolic or totemic; the patterns on the Australian didjeridu identify the clan of the performer, and shapes and patterns on instruments in New Guinea reflect aspects of the environment and culture.
Similarly, the dragon heads on the end of Tibetan and Chinese woodwinds have a symbolic meaning in those cultures. Most modern Western instruments reject ornamentation, but overall design and finish are as important as they have always been. Modern technology has in many cases simplified or improved the construction of instruments. In the past, for example, the tubes of horns and trumpets were made from a sheet of brass cut to the right width, which was rolled into shape, leaving the edges to be joined by brazing. In modern manufacture the tube is drawn in one piece, and there is no seam.
Evolution of design has been particularly notable in the construction of woodwind instruments, not only in the fixing of the metal keys and the mechanism that controls them but also in the piercing of holes in such a way that they are acoustically correct. This achievement was due mainly to the pioneering work of Theobald Boehm , who was not only a flute maker but also a performer and composer.
His system, designed for the flute, was later applied to the clarinet , the oboe , and the bassoon. The early 19th century saw a revolution in the manufacture of brass instruments as well: the addition of pieces of tubing of different lengths through which the air could be directed by the depression of valves or pistons , enabling an instrument to produce all 12 notes of the chromatic scale, in place of its earlier limitation to the notes of the natural harmonic overtone series.
Newer techniques of cutting and beating metal have created distinctive modern instruments, such as steel drums. The discovery of plastics in the 20th century also has influenced the manufacturers of instruments; for example, some makers have used plastic instead of quill or leather for the plectra that pluck the strings of the harpsichord, and plastic recorders have been built.
Mechanization has made possible the mass production of instruments of all kinds. Insofar as this makes it possible for people to acquire an instrument at a moderate price, mass production is a good thing, and in education it has been beneficial to schools working on a small budget. A natural development has been the provision of kits consisting of the separate parts of an instrument, which can then be assembled by the purchaser. It remains true, however, that the production of an instrument of the finest quality still demands the highest degree of individual skill.
A violin glued together from mass-produced parts cannot be the equal of one that has been meticulously constructed from the first by an individual craftsman who will not be satisfied with his work until every detail of it has been tested. Technology has been of service to music by providing composers with instruments they have asked for, by eliminating some defects of instruments, and by making instruments more widely available to the community in general.
Wagner also ordered a special type of tuba for use in his four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen The Ring of the Nibelung , — Not all modern changes in construction have been wholly advantageous, however. It is easier to play in tune on a modern woodwind instrument, but the older examples, being less cluttered with metal fittings, had a purer tone.
Similarly, the modern horn is to most listeners inferior in tone quality to its 18th-century predecessor. Among Western orchestral instruments, only the trombone and the stringed instruments have remained, apart from minor modifications, unchanged in structure over the centuries though the substitution of wire strings for gut has materially altered the tone of the violin. In contrast, the rate of technological change in electronic instruments has been almost bewilderingly fast.
Instruments have been classified in various ways, some of which overlap. The Chinese divide them according to the material of which they are made—as, for example, stone, wood, silk, and metal. Writers in the Greco-Roman world distinguished three main types of instruments: wind, stringed, and percussion.
This classification was retained in the Middle Ages and persisted for several centuries: it is the one preferred by some writers, with the addition of electronic instruments, at the present day. Some 16th-century writers excluded certain instruments from this classification; the musical theorist Lodovico Zacconi went so far as to exclude all percussion instruments and established a fourfold division of his own—wind, keyed, bowed, and plucked.
A different fourfold classification was accepted by Hindus at least as early as the 1st century bc : they recognized stringed instruments, wind instruments, percussion instruments of wood or metal, and percussion instruments with skin heads i. This ancient system—based on the material producing sound—was adopted by the Belgian instrument maker and acoustician Victor-Charles Mahillon , who named his four main classes autophones, or instruments made of a sonorous material that vibrates to produce sound e.
The name idiophones was substituted for autophones, and each class was subdivided according to a method similar to that used by botanists.
A fifth class, electrophones , in which vibration is produced by oscillating electric circuits, was added later. Many instruments can be played using more than one system of tone production and hence might reasonably appear in several subcategories. The double bass , for example, is usually considered a chordophone whose strings may be bowed or plucked; sometimes, however, the body of the instrument is slapped or struck, placing the double bass among the idiophones.
The tambourine is a membranophone insofar as it has a skin head which is struck; but, if it is only shaken so that its jingles sound, it should be classed as an idiophone , for in this operation the skin head is irrelevant. Open flue stops are the foundation of organ tone, but the instrument also has a number of free reed stops, so that the organ belongs equally to the first and second order of aerophones.
Modern composers not infrequently require players to treat their instruments in unorthodox ways, thus changing their position in the classification system. It must be understood that the Sachs-Hornbostel system was created for the purpose of bringing order to the massive collections of musical instruments in ethnographic museums. It is directly analogous to the various book classification systems of libraries and, like them, is arbitrary.
Musicians themselves generally think of instruments in terms of their technological features and playing method. To them, therefore, it is logical to group keyboard instruments together, ignoring the fact that in the Sachs-Hornbostel system such instruments fit into several categories. There has been speculation about the origin of instruments since antiquity.
Older writers were generally content to rely on mythology or legends. In the 19th century, partly as a result of theories of evolution put forward by Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer , new chronologies based on anthropological evidence were advanced. The British writer John Frederick Rowbotham argued that there was originally a drum stage, followed by a pipe stage, and finally a lyre stage.
The Austrian writer Richard Wallaschek, on the other hand, maintained that, although rhythm was the primal element, the pipe came first, followed by song , and the drum last. Sachs based his chronology on archaeological excavation and the geographic distribution of the instruments found in them.
Following this method, he established three main strata. The first stratum, which is found all over the world, consists of simple idiophones and aerophones; the second stratum, less widely distributed, adds drums and simple stringed instruments; the third, occurring only in certain areas, adds xylophones , drumsticks, and more complex flutes.
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In the 21st century, ethnomusicologists have questioned assumptions about the evolution of instruments from simple to complex; see above Technological developments. The development of musical instruments among ancient high civilizations in Asia, North Africa , and the Mediterranean appears to have emphasized stringed instruments. In Central and South America, wind and struck instruments seem to have been most important.
It is not always easy to say whether instruments are indigenous to a particular area, however, since their cultivation may well have spread from one country to another through trade or migration. Nevertheless, it is known that the harp was used from early times in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India and was imported into China after the end of the 4th century ad.
In Greece it was regarded as a foreign instrument: the standard plucked instrument was the lyre , known in its fully developed form as the kithara or cithara. Apart from the trumpet, the only wind instrument in normal use in Greece was the aulos , a double-reed instrument akin to the modern oboe. The Egyptians used wind instruments not only with double reeds but also with single reeds and thus may be said to have anticipated the clarinet. Peculiar to China was the sheng , or mouth organ; the Chinese also used as an artistic instrument the panpipes xiao , which in Greece had a recreational function.
In medieval Europe, many instruments came from Asia, having been transmitted through Byzantium , Spain , or eastern Europe. Perhaps the most notable development in western Europe was the practice, originating apparently in the 15th century, of building instruments in families, from the smallest to the largest size. A typical family was that of the shawms , which were powerful double-reed instruments.
A distinction was made between haut loud and bas soft instruments, the former being suitable for performance out-of-doors and the latter for more intimate occasions. Hence, the shawm came to be known as the hautbois loud wood , and this name was transferred to its more delicately toned descendant, the 17th-century oboe. Drum ensembles have achieved extraordinary sophistication in Africa, and the small hand-beaten drum is of great musical significance in western Asia and India. The native cultures of the Americas have always made extensive use of drums, as well as other struck and shaken instruments.
In Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, xylophones and, since the introduction of metals, their cousins the metallophones play significant roles. Europe, however, has not placed great emphasis on drums and other percussion instruments. See also percussion instrument. Many varieties of plucked instruments were found in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; but bowed instruments eventually came to characterize the area, and they played an important role in the rest of Eurasia and in North Africa as well.
The idea of playing a stringed instrument with a bow may have originated with the horse cultures of Central Asia , perhaps in the 9th century ad. The technique then spread rapidly over most of the European landmass. The European fiddle existed in various forms: by the 16th century these had settled down into two distinct types—the viol , known in Italy as viola da gamba leg fiddle , and the violin , or viola da braccio arm fiddle. The viol has a flat back, sloping shoulders, and six or seven strings; the violin has a rounded back, rounded shoulders, and four strings.
The viol, unlike the violin, has frets—pieces of gut wound at intervals around the fingerboard—which make every stopped note i. See also stringed instrument. Only in Europe did the keyboard develop—for reasons that are not clear. The principle of the keyboard has been used successfully to control bells the carillon , plucked and struck stringed instruments the piano and harpsichord , and wind instruments the organ , the accordion , and the harmonium.
Of all instruments, the organ showed the most remarkable development from the early Middle Ages to the 17th century. Originally, sound was admitted to the pipes by withdrawing sliders or depressing levers. Both of these methods were clumsy: they gave way to a reduction in the size of the levers, which eventually could be depressed by the fingers, while the larger pipes were controlled by pedals.
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A further development was to separate the various rows of pipes, so that each row could be brought into action or suppressed by means of a draw stop. Once a manageable keyboard had been produced, it could be applied to the portable organ, carried by the player, which was already in use by the 12th century. Scientific experiments with the monochord , a stretched string that could be divided into various lengths by means of a metal tangent, were followed by the construction of an instrument with a whole range of strings and a keyboard similar to that of the organ—the clavichord.
A similar adaptation of the plucking of stringed instruments led to the harpsichord , the ingenious mechanism of which had been perfected by the 16th century. It is curious that a similar method was not applied to the dulcimer , which was struck with hammers, until the early 18th century, when the Italian maker Bartolomeo Cristofori constructed the first pianoforte , so-called because, unlike the harpsichord, it could vary the tone from soft piano to loud forte.
See also keyboard instrument. In Europe the practice of constructing instruments in families continued from the 17th century onward. It established itself only gradually in the orchestra in the course of the 18th century. Trumpets and horns were used in most areas of Eurasia for ceremonial and military purposes.
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They remained relatively unchanged until the early 19th century, when valves were added to European instruments. This modification also led to the creation of new types. A pioneer in the field was the Belgian instrument maker Antoine-Joseph Sax , who in built a family of valved instruments called saxhorns , using the bugle as the basis for his invention.
Similar instruments were widely adopted in military and brass bands, but only the bass, under the name bass tuba, became a normal member of the orchestra. Sax also invented the saxophone , a single-reed instrument like the clarinet but with a conical tube. This, too, was made in various sizes, which came to be used both in military bands and in jazz ensembles. The saxophone never became a normal member of the symphony orchestra , but the alto and the tenor have been used by art-music composers, largely as solo instruments, and occasionally a complete quartet of four different sizes has appeared in an orchestral work.
See also wind instrument. The variety of musical ensembles used throughout the world is vast and beyond description, but the following principles apply nearly everywhere. Outdoor music, which is often ceremonial, most frequently involves the use of loud wind instruments and drums. Indoor music, which is more often intended for passive listening, emphasizes such quieter instruments as bowed and plucked strings and flutes.
The establishment of orchestras , as opposed to chamber groups, in the early 17th century led to a slight revision of these principles in Europe. As concert halls increased in size and popularity, so too did the sound-volume requirements of so-called indoor instruments. One result was that the violin family was favoured at the expense of the quieter viols.
The latter, along with other instruments whose tone was too weak for orchestral music, gradually dropped out of use until the 20th century, when earlier styles of music and their associated instruments experienced a revival in popularity. Water power, clockwork, steam, and electricity have all been used at various times to power musical instruments, enabling them to produce sound automatically.
There is no low brass. There is tympani. Strings are a standard configuration 4 first violin, 4 second violin, 3 viola, 2 cello, 2 bass. Sometimes strings are simply listed as "str," which means strings. The second example is common for a concert band or wind ensemble piece.
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Note the inclusion of the saxes after bassoon for this band work. Note also that the separate euphonium part is attached to trombone with a plus sign. For orchestral music, saxes are at the end see Saxophones below. Multiples, if any, are not shown in this system.
The numbers represent only distinct parts, not the number of copies of a part. In the third example, we have a rather extreme use of the system. Note: This system lists Horn before Trumpet. This is standard orchestral nomenclature. Also, it should be noted that Euphonium can be doubled by either Trombone or Tuba. Typically, orchestra scores have the tuba linked to euphonium, but it does happen where Trombone is the principal instead. Saxophones , when included in orchestral music they rarely are will be shown in the "other instrument" location after strings and before the soloist, if any.
Letters that are duplicated as in A in this example indicate multiple parts. Hickeys Music Center. Various Barvo! Various Belwin Oboe Solos, v. Various Chester Oboe Anthology Daniel 15 popular works for oboe with piano accompaniment featuring selected works from the major exam board syllabuses, spanning Grades 5 to 8 and beyond.
Includes pull-out part and performance notes by Nicholas Daniel. Various Classic Festival Solos, v. Composers in those days were often employed by the church or the nobility, with much of their music written for special occasions.
Many works have maintained their value and are still played worldwide. On the CD of Classical Favourites the accompaniment is played on an organ, giving you the impression of playing in a church or concert hall.
The CD features demo tracks, It contains 12 melodies based on works of well-known and some lesser known 19th-century composers, arranged to be suitable for soloists with piano accompaniment. The CD includes solos played by several instruments, as well as piano accompaniments only, with which instrumentalists can practice and play along.
Various Competition Solos, v. Piano accompaniment book sold separately, see item Piano accompaniment book sold separately, see item Piano accompaniment for item Piano accompaniment sold separately item The pieces are demonstrated on the accompanying CD which also includes accompaniment-only tracks for each piece. These new editions have been refreshed and repackaged to fulfil the needs of the next generation of musicians.
Providing the perfect 'next step' for students reaching the end of Peter Wastall's award-winning Learn As You Play method books, these collections of repertoire are ideally suited for students of Grade standard. Each piece is now complemented by useful practice and performance tips. A newly-recorded CD of backing Various Grade By Grade, v.
Each piece included in these wide-ranging collections is complemented by useful practice and performance tips. A CD of demonstration and backing tracks is also included to enhance both private practice and public performance. Each book contains grade-appropriate scales and arpeggios linked to the repertoire, sight-reading and improvisation activities, aural awareness tasks and a piano accompaniment booklet.
The CD includes full performance demonstrations, piano backing tracks and grade-appropriate aural awareness resources.