Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Musical instrument

A musical instrument is a device that has been modified or constructed with the purpose of making music. In principle, anything that somehow produces sound can serve as a musical instrument, but the expression is reserved generally to items that have that specific purpose.

The academic study of musical instruments is called organology.

Instruments are often divided by the way in which they generate sound:

Many alternate divisions and further subdivisions of instruments exist. To learn about a specific instrument, consult the list of musical instruments.

All classes of instruments save the electronic are mentioned in ancient sources, such as Egyptian inscriptions and the Bible, and probably predate recorded history. The human body, generating both vocal and percussive sounds, may have been the first instrument, or, perhaps, found percussion instruments such as stones and hollow logs. Nine-thousand-year-old bone flutes or recorderss have been found in Chinese archeological sites.

See also: music lessons, orchestra, extended technique.