Early Instruments


The viola d’amore (pronounced [ˈvjɔːla daˈmoːre]; Italian for “viol of love”) is a 7- or 6-stringed musical instrument with sympathetic strings used chiefly in the baroque period. It is played under the chin in the same manner as the violin. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the viola d’amore , click image

More: Family Fridays with Rachel Barton Pine: Episode 15 – The Viola D’amore


The šargija (shargia) is a plucked, fretted long necked lute used in the folk music of various Balkan countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo. The instrument is part of a larger family of instruments which includes the Balkan tambura and the bağlama (or tambura saz), tamburica, and the tambouras. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the šargija , click image


The balalaika is a Russian stringed musical instrument with a characteristic triangular wooden, hollow body, fretted neck and three strings. Two strings are usually tuned to the same note and the third string is a perfect fourth higher. The higher-pitched balalaikas are used to play melodies and chords. The instrument generally has a short sustain, necessitating rapid strumming or plucking when it is used to play melodies. Balalaikas are often used for Russian folk music and dancing. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the balalaika, click image


The Hydraulis of Dion is a unique exhibit of the Archaeological Museum of Dion. It is the oldest instrument of that type discovered so far. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the Hydraulis of Dion, click image


The ghichak, a bowed instrument and related to the kamancheh, is believed to have come from the East. The ghichak is a favorite in Afghanistan, as is its sister form, the sarinda, and the Indian version, the saragi. The soundbox of ghichak has a unique form: the bridge rests on a skin covering a small tube which flows into two large openings on each side near the top of the finger board. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the ghichak, click image


nyckelharpa, “keyed fiddle”, or literally “key harp”, is a traditional Swedish musical instrument. It is a string instrument or chordophone. Its keys are attached to tangents which, when a key is pressed, serve as frets to change the pitch of the string.

The nyckelharpa is similar in appearance to a fiddle or the big Sorb geige or viol. Structurally, it is more closely related to the hurdy-gurdy, both employing key-actuated tangents to change the pitch. Continue reading on Wikipedia…

To hear the nyckelharpa, click image


Wintergatan is without any shadow of a doubt an unbelievably talented Swedish Folk band. Their marble machine invention which is made out of wood is both incredible and ingenious.

The marble music machine is quite a creative and visually interesting musical concept! It was hoped that it would take around two months to build but in reality, took in fourteen. Not at all surprising considering the complexity in its design and implementation. The video below shows the first marble machine. Wintergatan is now building a second-generation marble machine, which you can see in the videos further down in this post. Continue reading …

To hear the Wintergatan marble machine, click image


The term naqqāranaqqaratnaqqarahnaqqårenakkarenagora comes from the Arabic verb naqr- that means “to strike, beat”. The naqqāranagara or nagada is a Middle Eastern drum with a rounded back and a hide head, usually played in pairs. It is thus a membranophone of the kettle drum variety. The instrument was also adopted in Europe following the Crusades, and known as the naccaire or nakerContinue reading on Wikipedia…

To hear the naqareh, click image

More: Naqareh (dhol) kyun bajate hai. Do you know about Naqareh?


The angklung is a musical instrument from the Sundanese region in Western Java, Indonesia made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck and are tuned to octaves, similar to Western handbells. The base of the frame is held in one hand, while the other hand shakes the instrument, causing a repeating note to sound. Each performer in an angklung ensemble is typically responsible for just one pitch, sounding their individual angklung at the appropriate times to produce complete melodies. The angklung is popular throughout the world, but it originated in what is now West Java and Banten provinces in Indonesia, and has been played by the Sundanese for many centuries. The angklung and its music have become an important part of the cultural identity of Sundanese communities in West Java and Banten. Playing the angklung as an orchestra requires cooperation and coordination, and is believed to promote the values of teamwork, mutual respect and social harmony. Continue reading on Wikipedia…

To hear the angklung, click image


Cornamuse is an instrument whose sound is associated with the Rennaisance, although its more primitive types were known many years before. No original instrument has been maintained till now, we only know its description and a picture kept in „Syntagnum Musicum” M.Praetorius. Similarly to most instruments of the 16th century, it was produced in different sizes: soprano in c, alto in f, tenor in c, bass in F, sub-bass in C. It is an instrument with a characteristic, growling timbre /like crumhorn/. A double reed is closed in a special „mouthpiece” thanks to which it sounds better and it is not put into the musician’s mouth directly. Continue reading…

To hear the cornamuse, click image



fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most often a violin. It is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres including classical music. Although in many cases violins and fiddles are essentially synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and classical violins. For example, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. To produce a “brighter” tone, compared to the deeper tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers often use steel strings. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles, which are typically aural traditions—taught ‘by ear’ rather than via written music. Continue reading on Wikipedia…

To hear the fiddle, click image


One of the most significant innovations in sixteenth century woodwind instrument building was the development of the double bore principle. Two parallel holes drilled in the same piece of wood and connected at one end by a U-curve allowed an instrument to sound twice as low for its apparent length as one with a single bore. Little is known about where the earliest development took place, although some evidence points to Italy. The name dulcian (also dulzian, dulzian, dolzone, delzan, dulcan, dolcan) is from the Latin dulcis (sweet). This instrument was also called the curtal (or curtoll, curtail) from the Latin curtus(short). Continue reading from Iowa State University, Department of Theater and Music…

To hear the dulcian, click image


The baroque trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family. Invented in the mid-20th century, it is based on the natural trumpet of the 16th to 18th centuries, but designed to allow modern performers to imitate the earlier instrument when playing music of that time. Often synonymous with ‘natural trumpet’, the term ‘baroque trumpet’ is often used to differentiate an instrument which has added vent holes and other modern compromises, from an original or replica natural trumpet which does not. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the baroque trumpet, click image


The vihuela is a 15th-century fretted plucked Spanish string instrument, shaped like a guitar but tuned like a lute. It was used in 15th- and 16th-century Spain as the equivalent of the lute in Italy and has a large resultant repertory. There were usually five or six  doubled strings. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the vihuela, click image


harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. This activates a row of levers that turn a trigger mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum made from quill or plastic. The strings are under tension on a soundboard, which is mounted in a wooden case; the soundboard amplifies the vibrations from the strings so that the listeners can hear it. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the harpsichord with Seattle Baroque Orchestra’s, Alexander Weimann, click image


shofar is an ancient musical horn typically made of a ram’s horn, used for Jewish religious purposes. Like the modern bugle, the shofar lacks pitch-altering devices, with all pitch control done by varying the player’s embouchure. The shofar is blown in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur; it is also blown every weekday morning in the month of Elul running up to Rosh Hashanah.[1] Shofars come in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the choice of animal and level of finish. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the Jewish shofar, click image

The Meaning of the Shofar – Prof. William Kolbrener


A glass harp (also called musical glasses, singing glasses, angelic organ, verrillon or ghost fiddle) is a musical instrument made of upright wine glasses. It is played by running moistened or chalked fingers around the rim of the glasses. Each glass is tuned to a different pitch, either by grinding each goblet to the specified pitch, in which case the tuning is invariable, or by filling the glass with water until the desired pitch is achieved. Read more on Wikipedia…

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The water organ or hydraulic organ (Greek: ὕδραυλις) (early types are sometimes called hydrauloshydraulus or hydraula) is a type of pipe organ blown by air, where the power source pushing the air is derived by water from a natural source (e.g. by a waterfall) or by a manual pump. Consequently, the water organ lacks a bellows, blower, or compressor. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the water organ, click image

Listen to the Zadar Sea Organ


The goblet drum is a single head membranophone with a goblet shaped body used mostly in Egypt and is considered the National symbol of Egyptian Shaabi Music, also in parts of the West Asia, North Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. The African djembe-wassolou is also a goblet membranophone. This article focuses on the Eastern and North-African goblet drum. Read more…

To hear the goblet drum, click image


Olifant (an alternate spelling of the word elephant) was the name applied in the Middle Ages to ivory hunting horns made from elephants’ tusks. One of the most famous olifants belonged to the legendary Frankish knight Roland, protagonist of The Song of RolandRead more…

To hear the olifant, click image

More: Making a buffalo horn olifant – Cambodia


The name “tuba” comes from the Latin word for “tube,” but was also used for an ancient bronze instrument used in Greece and Rome. The name was later used as a blanket term for horns, trumpets, and bugles. Moritz called his invention the “basstuba” since it had a lower tone than historical “tubas.” Read more…

To hear the tuba, click image

More: The History of the Tuba


To hear the marimba, click image

The marimba  is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with yarn or rubber mallets to produce musical tones. Resonators or pipes are suspended underneath the bars to amplify their sound. The bars of a chromatic marimba are arranged like the keys of a piano, with the groups of two and three accidentals raised vertically, overlapping the natural bars to aid the performer both visually and physically. This instrument is a type of idiophone, but with a more resonant and lower-pitched tessitura than the xylophone. A person who plays the marimba is called a marimbist or a marimba playerRead more on Wikipedia…

More marimba: Bach`s Air for marimba solo – Rudi Bauer


The zufolo is also known as zuffalo, chiufolo, ciufolo, picco pipe, and as an instrument to teach birds because of its comparable sound, this Italian fipple flute is one of the shortest of that family and has origins in the 14th century. Ranging about 8cm long, has a rear thumb-hole, two front finger-holes, and a conical bore, but there are also longer versions with more holes, and the Sicilian version ranges up to 29cm, and is known as a friscalettu. It’s sound is very loud and carries distances, is clear and clean, and can be played in a variety of contexts. It is particularly useful for fast, traditional dances, but can also be effective for slower, more melacholy melodies. Read more…

To hear the zufolo, click image


A pan flute (also known as panpipes or syrinx) is a musical instrument based on the principle of the closed tube, consisting of multiple pipes of gradually increasing length (and occasionally girth). Multiple varieties of pan flutes have been popular as folk instruments. The pipes are typically made from bamboo, giant cane, or local reeds. Other materials include wood, plastic, metal and ivory.. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the pan flute, click image



The guqin is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument. It has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favored by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as highlighted by the quote “a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason,” as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as “the father of Chinese music” or “the instrument of the sages”. The guqin is not to be confused with the guzheng, another Chinese long stringed instrument also without frets, but with moveable bridges under each string. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the gugin, click image


The tambourine is a musical instrument in the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called “zills”. Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all. Tambourines are often used with regular percussion sets. They can be mounted, for example on a stand as part of a drum kit (and played with drum sticks), or they can be held in the hand and played by tapping or hitting the instrument. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the tambourine, click image


The Celtic harp is a triangular frame harp traditional to Ireland and Scotland. It is known as cláirseach in Irish and clàrsach in Scottish Gaelic. In Ireland and Scotland, it was a wire-strung instrument requiring great skill and long practice to play, and was associated with the Gaelic ruling class. It appears on Irish and British coins and coat of arms of the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada. Read complete article…

To hear the Celtic harp, click image

Ana Harp plays “Baroque Flamenco”
Early Music @ 1: Jean, Celtic Harp


The Eastman School of Music has brought the sounds of the past to Rochester by installing an historic full-size Italian Baroque organ in the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. The magnificent instrument, originally built around 1770 in the region of central Italy, represents the genesis of Baroque organ music played and taught worldwide. Read complete article…

To hear the Italian Baroque organ, click image

View the Installation of the Italian Baroque Organ at Memorial Art Gallery, June 2005


Castanets, also known as clackers or palillos, are a percussion instrument (idiophone), used in Spanish, Kalo, Moorish, Ottoman, Italian, Sephardic, Swiss, and Portuguese music. In ancient Greece and ancient Rome there was a similar instrument called crotalum. The instrument consists of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by a string. They are held in the hand and used to produce clicks for rhythmic accents or a ripping or rattling sound consisting of a rapid series of clicks.. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the castanets, click image

Listen to: “El Vito” by Embrujo Mestizo (Guitar & Castanets)


The viola da gamba or informally gamba, is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed instruments with hollow wooden bodies and pegboxes where the tension on the strings can be increased or decreased to adjust the pitch of each of the strings. Frets on the viol are usually made of gut, tied on the fingerboard around the instrument’s neck, to enable the performer to stop the strings more cleanly. Frets improve consistency of intonation and lend the stopped notes a tone that better matches the open strings. Viols first appeared in Spain in the mid to late 15th century and were most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque (1600–1750) periods. Early ancestors include the Arabic rebab and the medieval European vielle, but later, more direct possible ancestors include the Venetian viole and the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish vihuela, a 6-course plucked instrument tuned like a lute (and also like a present-day viol)[ that looked like but was quite distinct from (at that time) the 4-course guitar (an earlier chordophone). Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the viola da gamba, click image

To learn more about the viola da gamba, click here.


lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. It may be either fretted or unfretted.

More specifically, the term “lute” can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table (in the Hornbostel–Sachs system). Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the lute, click image

Click here to learn more about the lute.


The sheng is a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument consisting of vertical pipes. It is a polyphonic instrument and enjoys an increasing popularity as a solo instrument.

It is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, with images depicting its kind dating back to 1100 BCE, and there are original instruments from the Han era that are preserved in museums today. Traditionally, the sheng has been used as an accompaniment instrument for solo suona or dizi performances. It is one of the main instruments in kunqu and some other forms of Chinese opera. Traditional small ensembles also make use of the sheng, such as the wind and percussion ensembles in northern China. In the modern large Chinese orchestra, it is used for both melody and accompaniment. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the sheng, click image

Click here to learn more about the Chinese sheng.


The vihuela is a 15th-century fretted plucked Spanish string instrument, shaped like a guitar (figure-of-eight form offering strength and portability) but tuned like a lute. It was used in 15th- and 16th-century Spain as the equivalent of the lute in Italy and has a large resultant repertory. There were usually five or six doubled strings. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the vihuela, click image


The kora has 21 strings and is unique to West Africa, allowing performers to display their virtuosity and creativity. Originally, the kora was exclusively played by the griots, a caste of professional musicians who are like a repository of oral tradition. These hereditary genealogists help anchor the identity of everyone in the community. Read more…

To hear the kora, click image


Mandora, also spelled mandola, is a small, pear-shaped stringed instrument of the lute family. It was derived from earlier gittern or rebec models and acquired its name in the 16th century. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear the mandora, click image


carillon is a musical instrument typically housed in the bell tower (belfry) of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or together to play a chord. A traditional manual carillon is played by striking a keyboard—the stick-like keys of which are called batons—with the fists, and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys mechanically activate levers and wires connected to metal clappers which strike the bells. Read on Wikipedia…

To hear the carillon, click image


The ancient Hebrews had two stringed instruments, the kinnor and the nebel. In the English versions of the Old Testament the former word is wrongly translated harp. In both instruments the strings were set in vibration by the fingers, or perhaps by a little stick, the plectrum (as Josephus says). Bow instruments were unknown to the ancients. The strings were made of gut, metal strings not being used in olden times. The body of the instrument was generally made of cypress (II Sam. vi. 5) or, in very precious instruments, of sandalwood. Read more from the Jewish Encyclopedia…

To hear the kinnor, click image


The cor anglais or English horn is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. It is approximately one and a half times the length of an oboe.

The cor anglais is a transposing instrument pitched in F, a perfect fifth lower than the oboe (a C instrument). This means that music for the cor anglais is written a perfect fifth higher than the instrument sounds. The fingering and playing technique used for the cor anglais are essentially the same as those of the oboe, and oboists typically double on the cor anglais when required. The cor anglais normally lacks the lowest B♭ key found on most oboes, and so its sounding range stretches from E3 (written B♮) below middle C to C6 two octaves above middle C. Read more on Wikipedia…

To hear and learn about the cor anglais, click image

To hear J.S. Bach: Concerto For Cor Anglais (From BWV 54) – 1. Larghetto, click here



The Queen Mary Harp is a Scottish clarsach currently displayed in the National Museum of Scotland. It is believed to date back to the 15th century, and to have originated in Argyll, in South West Scotland. It is one of the three oldest surviving Gaelic harps, the others being the Lamont Harp and the Trinity College Harp.. Read more on Wikiprdia…

Click image to hear the Queen Mary Harp

To learn more, click here


The arghul also spelled argul, arghoul, arghool, argol, or yarghul, is a musical instrument in the reed family. It has been used since ancient Egyptian times and is still used as a traditional instrument in Egypt and Palestine. Read more on Wikiprdia…

Click image to hear the arghul

To learn more, click here


According The Accordion Its Historical Due
by Laura Stanfield Prichard

Throughout the Classical and Romantic periods, the humble accordion and its simpler cousin, the concertina, were important parlor, chamber, and accompanying instruments. The earliest forms of the accordion were inspired by the 1777 introduction of the Chinese free-reed sheng (bowl mouth organ) into Europe by Père Amiot, a Jesuit missionary in Qing China. Amiot entertained Beijing listeners by playing harpsichord versions of Rameau’s music, including Les sauvages (later part of Les Indes galantes)His introduction of the sheng set off an era of experimentation in free-reed instruments such as Anton Haeckel’s Physharmonika, a bellows-operated reed organ (Vienna, patented 1818), and Friedrich Buschmann’s mouthblown “Handäoline” (Berlin, patented 1822). Two of Haeckel’s instruments from 1825 can be seen in the Vienna Technical Museum. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg holds Europe’s largest collection of early German free-reed instruments, accordions, and harmonicas. Read complete EMA article…

Click image to hear the accordion

Click here to view J.S. Bach Accordion BMV 539


The Irish fiddle is one of the most important instruments in the traditional repertoire of Celtic music. The fiddle itself is identical to the violin, however it is played differently in widely varying regional styles. In the era of sound recording some regional styles have been transmitted more widely while others have become more uncommon.. Read more…

Click image to hear the Irish fiddle


The Loughnashade Horn is one of the top ten most important archaeological finds in Ireland. It has been given pride of place in the National Museum of Ireland and is regularly cited as one of the most unique and intriguing insights into Irish history. Despite all of this, few people have ever actually heard of it, let alone seen it in the flesh. Often overlooked by more well known and more ornate objects such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch or the Broighter Hoard, the Loughnashade Horn often gets forgotten about. Here’s what you need to know about it and why its importance needs to be recognised more often. Read more…

Click image to hear the Loughnashade Horn

To learn more about the Loughnashade Horn, click here


The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument was invented in medieval India and flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the sitar


The bandora is a large long-necked plucked string-instrument that can be regarded as a bass cittern though it does not have the re-entrant tuning typical of the cittern. Probably first built by John Rose in England around 1560, it remained popular for over a century. A somewhat smaller version was the orpharion.

The bandora is frequently one of the two bass instruments in a broken consort as associated with the works of Thomas Morley, and it is also a solo instrument in its own right. Anthony Holborne wrote many pieces for solo bandora. The multiple lute settings of Pacoloni appear both with and without optional wire-strung instruments. Read more…

Click image to hear the bandora


The historical violoncello has evolved to become the instrument we now know as the “cello.” The violoncello appeared by the early 16th century, part of the “violin family” of stringed instruments. The violoncello – like its siblings, the violin and viola – has four strings. It is substantially larger than the other two, and has the deepest sound or “voice.” Read more…

Click image to hear the violoncello


Rauschpfeife is a commonly used term for a specific type of capped conical reed musical instrument of the woodwind family, used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. In common with the crumhorn and cornamuse, it is a wooden double-reed instrument with the reed enclosed in a windcap. The player blows into a slot in the top of the windcap to produce the sound. Read more…

Click image to hear the rauschpfeife


The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air (called wind) through the organ pipes selected from a keyboard. Because each pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass. Most organs have many ranks of pipes of differing timbre, pitch, and volume that the player can employ singly or in combination through the use of controls called stops. Read more on Wikipedia…



metallophone is a musical instrument in which the sound-producing body is a piece of metal (other than a metal string), consisting of tuned metal bars, tubes, rods, bowls, or plates. Most frequently the metal body is struck to produce sound, usually with a mallet, but may also be activated by friction, keyboard action, or other means. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the metallophone



The serpent is a bass wind instrument, descended from the cornett, and a distant ancestor of the tuba, with a mouthpiece like a brass instrument but side holes like a woodwind. It is usually a long cone bent into a snakelike shape, hence the name. The serpent is closely related to the cornett, although it is not part of the cornett family, due to the absence of a thumb hole. It is generally made out of wood, with walnut being a particularly popular choice. The outside is covered with dark brown or black leather. Despite wooden construction and the fact that it has finger holes rather than valves, it is usually classed as a brass; the Hornbostel–Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification places it alongside trumpets. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the copper serpent



The phorminx  was one of the oldest of the Ancient Greek stringed musical instruments, in the yoke lutes family, intermediate between the lyre and the kithara. It consisted of two to seven strings, richly decorated arms and a crescent-shaped sound box. It most probably originated from Mesopotamia. While it seems to have been common in Homer’s day, accompanying the rhapsodes, it was supplanted in historical times by the seven-stringed kithara. Nevertheless, the term phorminx continued to be used as an archaism in poetry.. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the phorminx



The lautenwerck is a European keyboard instrument of the Baroque period. It is similar to a harpsichord, but with gut rather than metal strings, producing a mellow tone. The instrument was favored by J. S. Bach, who owned two of the instruments at the time of his death, but no specimens from the 18th century have survived to the present day. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the lautenwerck



Top Ten Facts

  1. Possibly the world’s oldest musical instrument.
  2. A wind instrument originally found in Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.
  3. Is made from limbs and tree trunks hollowed out by termites (insects).
  4. Is cut to an average length of 1.3 metres and cleaned out with a stick. or hot coals.
  5. Was used as an accompaniment to chants and songs.
  6. Produces a low-pitch, resonant sound with complex rhythmic patterns.
  7. In some tribal groups only played by men but in most groups by men, women and children.
  8. Traditional forms of the didjeridoo where found right accross the Australian Northern Territory.
  9. The Didgeridoo is the sound of Australia.
  10. If the earth had a voice it would be the sound of the Didgeridoo.

For more information about the dideridoo, click here
Also, Didgeridoo on Wikipedia

Click image to hear the didgeridoo

To view how the didgeridoo is made, click here.



The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board and hollow cavity to make the vibration of the strings audible. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the hurdy gurdy
MORE: View Introducing the Hurdy Gurdy



A Baroque violin is a violin set up in the manner of the baroque period of music. The term includes original instruments which have survived unmodified since the Baroque period, as well as later instruments adjusted to the baroque setup, and modern replicas. Baroque violins have become relatively common in recent decades thanks to historically informed performance, with violinists returning to older models of instrument to achieve an authentic sound. Read more on Wikipedia…

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MORE: Baroque violin and modern violin: What’s the difference? An introduction.



The guqin is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument. It has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favoured by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as highlighted by the quote “a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason,” as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as “the father of Chinese music” or “the instrument of the sages”. The guqin is not to be confused with the guzheng, another Chinese long stringed instrument also without frets, but with moveable bridges under each string. Read more on Wikipedia…

Click image to hear the baroque gugin



The güiro instrument is a long, hollow gourd with ridges that produce sound when a stick, called a pua, is scraped along the sides of the instrument. The güiro is classified as a percussion idiophone because the entire instrument vibrates to create sound. Popular in Latin American music and a staple of worldwide dance rhythms, this percussion instrument has been around for hundreds of years and continues to gain popularity. Read complete article…

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More: How to Make an Artisan Guiro 



The path of this instrument’s development has traveled the globe and is intimately related to other musical instruments some of which are also very young and some of which are centuries old.
Continue reading, What is a Hand Pan, Hang Drum, and Pantam and where did they originate?”

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The bagpipe, of course, is an ancient instrument. What distinguished the musette, a bagpipe popular in baroque era France, was the use of a bellows. In 18th-century depictions it’s possible to see this little bellows tucked under the forearm of the player. Read more…

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The cornetto is an early wind instrument that dates from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, popular from 1500 to 1650. It was used in what are now called alta capellas or wind ensembles. It is not to be confused with the trumpet-like cornet. Read more on Wikipedia…

Video: What is a cornetto?
Matthew Manchester explains the cornetto, a musical instrument that flourished from the medieval period to the baroque. The cornetto is the platypus of the music world, with finger-holes like a recorder but a mouthpiece like a trumpet. The instrument represented life, death, and eternity when it was played in the cathedrals and palaces of Europe.



As with many instruments with ancient origins, the exact predecessor of the bassoon is hard to pin down definitively. There are several historic instruments that predate what we think of as the modern bassoon, but none were actually supplanted completely by the bassoon.

Throughout the Middle Ages, there is extensive documentation and surviving examples of instruments that bear resemblance to bassoons called shawms. These early wind instruments were made with either single or double reeds and were a common sight in Europe. One type of shawm called the “bombarde,” which was a cylindrical tube with seven sound holes and played with a double reed, was particularly bassoon-like. Read more…

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Video: Introducing the Baroque Bassoon


mandolin (Italian: mandolino pronounced [mandoˈliːno]; literally “small mandola”) is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum. It commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison (8 strings), although five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) course versions also exist. The courses are typically tuned in a succession of perfect fifths, with the same tuning as a violin (G3, D4, A4, E5). Also like the violin, it is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass. Read more on Wikipedia…

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Conch, or conque, also known as a “seashell horn” or “shell trumpet“, is a wind instrument that is made from a conch, the shell of several different kinds of sea snails. Their natural conical bore is used to produce a musical tone. Conch shell trumpets have been played in many Pacific Island countries, as well as South America and Southern Asia.” Read more…

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Also read, Brass Beginnings: A Fanfare for the Conch Trumpet



The historical violoncello has evolved to become the instrument we now know as the “cello.” The violoncello appeared by the early 16th century, part of the “violin family” of stringed instruments. The violoncello – like its siblings, the violin and viola – has four strings. It is substantially larger than the other two, and has the deepest sound or “voice.” Read more…

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The bandora is a large long-necked plucked string-instrument that can be regarded as a bass cittern though it does not have the re-entrant tuning typical of the cittern. Probably first built by John Rose in England around 1560, it remained popular for over a century. A somewhat smaller version was the orpharion.

The bandora is frequently one of the two bass instruments in a broken consort as associated with the works of Thomas Morley, and it is also a solo instrument in its own right. Anthony Holborne wrote many pieces for solo bandora. The multiple lute settings of Pacoloni appear both with and without optional wire-strung instruments. Read more…

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The rackettcervelas, or Sausage Bassoon is a Renaissance-era double reed wind instrument, introduced late in the sixteenth century and already superseded by bassoons at the end of the seventeenth century. Read more…

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The lyre was played in Mesopotamia (modern-day southern Iraq) over 4,000 years ago. Music was an important aspect of many celebratory and ritual occasions in ancient Mesopotamia. The lyre is made of lavishly decorated silver and red limestone. The frame, tuners and strings are modern reproductions made from casts of the long-decayed wooden parts. The decorated panels below the bull’s head depict fallow deer and a tree on a hill, lions attacking a goat, and a lion attacking a gazelle. Read more about lyres…

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To learn more about The Lyre of Mesopotamia click here.


Chinese archeologists have unearthed what is believed to be the oldest known playable musical instrument, a seven-holed flute fashioned 9,000 years ago from the hollow wing bone of a large bird. Read more…

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The archlute is a European plucked string instrument developed around 1600 as a compromise between the very large theorbo, the size and re-entrant tuning of which made for difficulties in the performance of solo music, and the Renaissance tenor lute, which lacked the bass range of the theorbo. Essentially a tenor lute with the theorbo’s neck-extension, the archlute lacks the power in the tenor and the bass that the theorbo’s large body and typically greater string length provide. Read more…

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The Hohle Fels (also HohlefelsHohler Fels, German for “hollow rock”) is a cave in the Swabian Jura of Germany that has yielded a number of important archaeological finds dating from the Upper Paleolithic. Artifacts found in the cave represent some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art and musical instruments ever discovered. The cave is just outside the town of Schelklingen in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near Ulm. Read more...

Click image to hear the hohle fels flute

For more information:
Click here to learn the history of the Hohle Fels Cave flute



lithophone is a musical instrument consisting of a rock or pieces of rock which are struck to produce musical notes. Notes may be sounded in combination (producing harmony) or in succession (melody). The lithophone is an idiophone comparable to instruments such as the glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone and marimba. Read more…

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For more information:
Click here to view Jeff Shook describe and demonstrate a lithophone. This is a collection of rocks arranged like the keys of a xylophone.



The organistrum is an early form of hurdy-gurdy. Generally considered the ancestor of all subsequent hurdy-gurdies, the organistrum differs substantially from later instruments in that it was played by two individuals: one turned the crank while the other pulled the keys upward to change the musical pitch of the melody strings.. Read more…

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Shuttle pipes are a type of bagpipes which derive their name from the drones used to produce the harmony. Rather than the long tube-like drones of most bagpipes, shuttle pipes use a shuttle drone, a cylindrical chamber enclosing a series of drone tubes, each terminating in a slot covered by a sliding “shuttle” which can be adjusted to lengthen or shorten the distance traveled by air moving through the tube, thus flattening or sharpening the pitch of the note produced. Read more...

Click image to hear the Shuttle Pipe.



Tutankhamun’s trumpets are a pair of trumpets found in the burial chamber of the 18th dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The trumpets, one of sterling silver and one of bronze or copper, are considered to be the oldest operational trumpets in the world, and the only known surviving examples from ancient Egypt. Read more…

Click image to hear the Tutankhamun’s trumpets.



psaltery (Greek: ψαλτήρι) (or sawtry [archaic]) is a stringed instrument of the zither family. The psaltery of Ancient Greece (epigonion) was a harp-like winged instrument. The word psaltery derives from the Ancient Greek ψαλτήριον (psaltḗrion), “stringed instrument, psaltery, harp” and that from the verb ψάλλω (psállō), ” to touch sharply, to pluck, pull, twitch” and in the case of the strings of musical instruments, “to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, and not with the plectrum.” The psaltery was originally made from wood, and relied on natural acoustics for sound production. Read more…

Click image to hear the psaltery.



The baroque oboe seems to have developed from the shawm starting around the 1650s in Paris. Earlier instruments were loud double reeds intended for use outdoors (a use that continued through the 17th century in the “waits” bands of England) , and while the new, more refined oboe (and its larger cousins) maintained that function in the oboe bands of France, it also began to find a place in the orchestra starting in the 1670s. Its early orchestral use was in doubling the first violin part, but gradually it began to be used independently for its own color and expressive capability. The baroque oboe’s sound is less compact and more plaintive than that of the modern oboe and has been described as more like the human voice than any other instrument. Read more…

Click image to hear the oboe barroco which will be played by Ars Longa musicians.



The theorbo is a plucked string instrument of the lute family, with an extended neck and a second pegbox. Like a lute, a theorbo has a curved-back sound box (a hollow box) with a wooden top, typically with a sound hole, and a neck extending out from the soundbox. As with the lute, the player plucks or strums the strings with one hand while “fretting” (pressing down) the strings with the other hand; pressing the strings in different places on the neck produces different pitches (notes), thus enabling the performer to play chords, basslines and melodies. Read more…

Click image to hear the theorbo.



Timpani or kettledrums are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum categorized as a semi-spherical drum, they consist of a membrane called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. Most modern timpani are pedal timpani and can be tuned quickly and accurately to specific pitches by skilled players through the use of a movable foot-pedal. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Read more…


Click image to hear the timpani.



The nevel or nebel was a stringed instrument used by the ancient Hebrew people. The Greeks translated the name as nabla. Read more…


Click image to hear the nevel.



A revolution in flute making took place in the second half of the 17th century. The instrument emerged as the ‘baroque flute’ with significant modifications including a conical bore, the addition of a key for the right hand little finger, and a more ornate body made in several pieces. It was now fully chromatic (in large part because of the key), but more significantly, it was better suited tonally for a role as a soloist (primarily because of the bore change). The bore change made a big difference in sound—improving the intonation and increasing the volume in the lowest notes, in particular—and incidently allowed the finger holes to be placed higher on the tube, making it slightly easier to handle with small hands than a renaissance flute at the same pitch. Read more…

Click image to hear the Baroque flute.



The Baroque guitar (c. 1600–1750) is a string instrument with five courses of gut strings and moveable gut frets. The first (highest pitched) course sometimes used only a single string. Read more…

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The vielle is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a somewhat longer and deeper body, three to five gut strings, and a leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal tuning pegs, sometimes with a figure-8 shaped body. Whatever external form they had, the box-soundchest consisted of back and belly joined by ribs, which experience has shown to be the construction for bowed instruments. The most common shape given to the earliest vielles in France was an oval, which with its modifications remained in favor until the Italian asserted itself as the better type, leading to the violin. Read more…

Click image to hear the vielle. (Instrument used in EMS’s “The Play of Daniel”)



nyckelharpa “keyed fiddle”, or literally “key harp”, plural nyckelharpor) is a traditional Swedish musical instrument. It is a string instrument or chordophone. Its keys are attached to tangents which, when a key is depressed, serve as frets to change the pitch of the string. Read more…

Click image to hear the nyckelharpa.