Musical Instruments

A stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicular to the soundboard. All harps have a neck, resonator and strings. Some, known as frame harps, also have a forepillar; those lacking the forepillar are referred to as open harps. Harp strings can be made of nylon (sometimes wound around copper), gut (more commonly used than nylon), wire, or silk. A person who plays the harp is called a harpist or a harper. Various types of harps are found in Africa, Europe, North, and South America, and a few parts of Asia. In antiquity harps and the closely related lyres were very prominent in nearly all musical cultures, but they lost popularity in the early 19th century with Western music composers, being thought of primarily as a woman's instrument after Marie Antoinette popularised it as a lady's pastime. The aeolian harp (wind harp) and autoharp are technically zithers, not harps, because their strings are not perpendicular to the soundboard. The harp's origins may lie in the sound of a plucked hunter's bow string. The oldest documented references to the harp are from 4000 BC in Egypt (see Music of Egypt) and 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. While the harp is mentioned in most translations of the Bible, King David being the most prominent musician, the Biblical "harp" was actually a kinnor, a type of lyre with 10 strings. Harps also appear in ancient epics, and in Egyptian wall paintings. This kind of harp, now known as the folk harp, continued to evolve in many different cultures all over the world. It may have developed independently in some places. The lever harp came about in the second half of the 17th century to enable key changes while playing. The player manually turned a hook or lever against an individual string to raise the string's pitch by a half step. In the 1700s, a link mechanism was developed connecting these hooks with pedals, leading to the invention of the single-action pedal harp. Later, a second row of hooks was installed along the neck to allow for the double-action pedal harp, capable of raising the pitch of a string by either one or two half steps. With this final enhancement, the modern concert harp was born. Some pedal harps have rods in the column, but the latest harps have cables which makes for better pedal action.

The general name given to a musical instrument classified as a keyboard, percussion, or string instrument, depending on the system of classification used. The piano produces sound by striking steel strings with felt hammers that immediately rebound allowing the string to continue vibrating at its resonant frequency. These vibrations are transmitted through the bridges to the soundboard, which amplifies them. The piano is widely used in western music for solo performance, chamber music, and accompaniment. It is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal. Although not portable and often expensive, the piano's versatility and ubiquity has made it among the most familiar of musical instruments. The word piano is a shortened form of the word pianoforte, which is seldom used except in formal language and derived from the original Italian name for the instrument, gravicèmbalo col piano e forte (literally harpsichord with soft and loud). This refers to the ability of the piano to produce notes at different dynamic levels depending on the speed with which a key is depressed.

A bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest and highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which also includes the viola and cello. A violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, no matter what kind of music is played on it. The word "violin" comes to us through the Romance languages from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning "stringed instrument". A person who plays the violin is called a violinist or fiddler, and a person who makes or repairs them is called a luthier, or simply a violin maker. The violin emerged in northern Italy in the early 16th century. Most likely the first makers of violins borrowed from three types of current instruments: the rebec, in use since the 10th century (itself derived from the Arabic rebab), the Renaissance fiddle, and the lira da braccio. One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, was in the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon in 1556. By this time, the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe. The oldest documented violin to have four strings, like the modern violin, was constructed in 1555 by Andrea Amati. Other violins, documented significantly earlier, only had three strings. The violin immediately became very popular, both among street musicians and the nobility The oldest surviving violin, dated inside, is from this set, and is known as the "Charles IX," made in Cremona c. 1560. "The Messiah" or "Le Messie" (also known as the "Salabue") made by Antonio Stradivari in 1716 remains pristine, never having been used. To this day, instruments from the "Golden Age" of violin making, especially those made by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most sought-after instruments by both collectors and performers.

A wind instrument, consisting of a natural wooden horn of conical bore, a cup-shaped mouthpiece, used by mountain dwellers in Switzerland and elsewhere. Similar wooden horns were used in most mountainous regions of Europe, from Sweden to the Romanian Carpathians. Documented records of alpine societies using signal horns date back to a 2nd century Roman mosaic fragment in Orbe. Scholars have believed that the alphorn was derived from the Roman-Etruscan lituus, because of their resemblance in shape, and because of the word liti, meaning Alphorn in the dialect of Obwalden. There is no documented evidence for this theory, however, and, the word liti was probably borrowed from 16th-18th century writings in Latin, where the word lituus could describe various wind instruments, such as the horn, the crumhorn, or the cornett. In 1555, Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner used the words lituum alpinum for the first known detailed description of the alphorn in his De raris et admirandis herbis. The oldest known document using the German word Alphorn is a page from a 1527 account book from the former Cistercian abbey St. Urban near Pfaffnau mentioning the payment of two Batzen for an itinerant alphorn player from the Valais. 17th-19th century collections of alpine myths and legends suggest that alphorn-like instruments had frequently been used as signal instruments in village communities since medieval times or earlier, sometimes substituting for the lack of church bells. Surviving artefacts, dating back to as far as ca. 1400 AD, include wooden labrophones in their stretched form, like the alphorn, or coiled versions, such as the '"Büchel" and the "Allgäuisches Waldhorn" or "Ackerhorn". Harmonium
Invented in Paris in 1842 by Alexandre Debain, though there was concurrent development of similar instruments. Harmoniums reached the height of their popularity in the West in the late 19th- and early-20th centuries. They were especially popular in small churches and chapels where a pipe organ would be too large or too expensive. Harmoniums generally weigh less than similarly-sized piano and are not as easily damaged in transport, thus they were also popular throughout the colonies of the European powers in this period- not only because it was easier to ship the instrument out to where it was needed, but it was also easier to transport overland in areas where good-quality roads and railways may have been non-existent. An added attraction of the harmonium in tropical regions was that the instrument held its tune regardless of heat and humidity, unlike the piano. This 'export' market was sufficiently lucrative for manufacturers to produce harmoniums with cases impregnated with chemicals to prevent woodworm and other damaging organisms found in the tropics. At the peak of the instruments' popularity around 1900, a wide variety of styles of harmoniums were being produced. These ranged from simple model with plain cases and only 4 or 5 stops (if any at all), up to large instruments with ornate cases, up to a dozen stops and other mechanisms such as couplers. Expensive harmoniums were often built to resemble pipe organs, with ranks of fake pipes attached to the top of the instrument. Small numbers of harmoniums were built with two manuals (keyboards). The invention of the electronic organ in the mid-1930s spelt the end of the harmonium's success (although it's popularity as a household instrument declined in the 1920s as musical tastes changed). The last mass-producer of harmoniums in the West was the Estey company, which ceased manufacture in the mid-1950s. As the existing stock of instruments aged and spare parts became hard to find, more and more were either scrapped or sold. It was not uncommon for harmoniums to be 'modernised' by having electric blowers fitted, often very unsympathetically. The majority of harmoniums today are in the hands of enthusiasts.

A free reed, musical wind instrument. It has multiple, variably-tuned brass or bronze reeds which are secured at one end over an airway slot in which they can freely vibrate. The vibrating reeds repeatedly interrupt the airstream to produce sound. Unlike most free reed instruments (such as reed organs, accordions, and melodicas), the harmonica lacks a keyboard. Instead, the player selects the notes by placing the mouth over the proper airways. These holes are usually discrete holes in the front of the instrument. Each hole communicates with one or more reeds, depending on the type of harmonica. Because a reed mounted above a slot is made to vibrate more easily by air from above, reeds accessed by a mouthpiece hole often may be selected further by choice of breath direction (blowing, drawing). Some harmonicas, primarily the chromatic harmonica, also include a spring-loaded button-actuated slide that, when depressed, redirects the airflow. The harmonica is commonly used in blues and folk music, but also in jazz, classical music, country music, rock and roll, and pop music. Increasingly, the harmonica is finding its place in more electronically generated music, such as dance and hip-hop, as well as funk and acid jazz. The harmonica has many names, especially in blues music. Commonly used names include: mouth-organ, blow-tube, Indiana Mating Call, mouth harp, Hobo Harp, French harp, Reckless Tram, harpoon, tin sandwich, blues harp, Mississippi saxophone, Cincinnati Cheerwine or the Aussie Bluey.

(also spelled fluegelhorn or flügelhorn) is a brass instrument resembling a trumpet but with a wider, conical bore. It is thought by some to be a member of the saxhorn family developed by Adolphe Sax Plumber Thomas Crapper invented a device he referred to at one time as a flugelhorn, which was used to unclog drains (although this usage of the word is no longer current). The flugelhorn is built in the same B-flat pitch as many trumpets and cornets. It usually has three piston valves and employs the same fingering system as other brass instruments. Four valve and rotary valve variants also exist. It can thus be played without too much trouble by trumpet and cornet players, though some adaptation may be needed to their playing style. It is usually played with a more deeply conical mouthpiece than either trumpets or cornets (though not as conical as that on a horn). The tone is fatter and usually regarded as more "mellow" and "dark" than that of the trumpet or cornet. It has a similar level of agility to the cornet but is more difficult to control in the high register where in general it "slots" or locks on to notes less easily. It is not generally used for aggressive or bright displays as both trumpet and cornet can be, but tends more towards a softer and more reflective role. Its main areas of use are in jazz and in the brass band, though it does get occasional use in orchestral writing. The flugelhorn is the melody-instrument of a fanfare-orchestra. Flugelhorns have occasionally been used as the alto or low soprano voice in a drum and bugle corps. However this is increasingly rare, as the mellophone, with its larger bell, is more often picked to mimic the sound of a French horn. Some modern flugelhorns are built with a fourth valve which takes them down in pitch a perfect fourth (similar to the fourth valve sometimes found on euphoniums, tubas, and piccolo trumpets, as well as the trigger on trombones), adding a useful area of low range which when coupled with the dark sound gives an interesting extension to the instrument's abilities. More often, however, the fourth valve is used in place of the first and third valve combination, which is somewhat sharp (and which is flattened on trumpets and cornets and some three-valve flugelhorns by a "kicker" slide on the first and/or third valve).

A musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike other woodwind instruments, a flute produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge, instead of using a reed. A musician who plays the flute is generally referred to as either a flautist or a flutist. Flute tones are sweet and blend well with other instruments. Early flutes were made of carved bone. The flute has appeared in many different forms in many different locations around the world. The Flute has been dated back to, almost or even further back in time, the prehistoric times. A bone fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear with two to four holes found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,100 years ago may also be an early flute. Some early flutes were made out of tibias (shin bones). During the 16th and early 17th centuries in Europe, the transverse flute was available in several different sizes, in effect forming a "consort" much in the same way that recorders and other instrument families were used in consorts. At this stage, the transverse flute was usually made in one section (or two for the larger sizes) and had a cylindrical bore. As a result, the flute had a rather soft sound and limited range, and was used priimarily in compostions for the "soft consort". With the advent of the Baroque (17th and 18th centuries), the transverse flute was re-designed. Now often called the traverso (from the Italian), it was made in three or four sections, or joints, with a conical bore from the head joint down. The conical bore design gave the instrument a wider range and a more penetrating sound, without sacrificing the softer, expressive qualities of the instrument. In addition to chamber music, the traverso began to be used in orchestral music, eventually occupying an exalted status amongst the woodwinds. Many composers, such as Frenchmen Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Michel Corrette and Michel Blavet, Italians Antonio Vivaldi and Pietro Locatelli, and Germans Georg Phillipp Telemann and Johann Joachim Quantz, wrote significant collections of sonatas and chamber works for the traverso. ohann Sebastian Bach also contributed to the literature of the flute with his Sonatas for Flute and Continuo BWV 1034-35 and the Partita BWV 1013. Flute Terms:
Flautist - one who plays the flute. Crown - the cap at the end of the head joint that unscrews to expose the cork, and which helps keep the head joint cork positioned at the proper depth of insertion.
Lip plate - the part of the head joint which contacts the player's lower lip, allowing precise positioning and direction of the air stream.
Riser - a metal section shaped like a 'top hat with the top cut off', which raises the lip plate from the head joint tube.
Head joint - the top section of the flute, has the tone hole/lip plate where the player initiates the sound by blowing air across the opening.
Body - the middle section of the flute with the majority of the keys.
Closed-hole - a finger key which is fully covered.
Open-hole - a finger key with a perforated center, allowing the use of techinques such as pitch bending or glissando.
Pointed arms - arms connecting the keys to the rods which are pointed and extend to the keys' centers; found on more expensive flutes.
French model - a flute with pointed French-style arms and open-hole finger keys, as distinguished from the plateau style with closed holes.
Inline G - the standard postion of the left-hand G (third-finger) key - in line with the first and second keys.
Offset G - a G key which is extended to the side of the other two left-hand finger keys (along with the G# key), thus requiring less bending of the wrist, rendering it easier to reach and cover effectively, and less uncomfortable and fatiguing to play.
Split E mechanism - a system whereby the second G key (positioned below the G# key) is closed when the right middle-finger key is depressed, enabling a clearer third octave E; standard on most flutes, but omitted from many intermediate- and professional-grade flutes, as it can reduce the tonal quality of 3rd octave F#.
Trill Keys - two small, teardrop shaped keys between the right-hand keys on the body; the first enables an easy C-D trill, and the second enables C-D#. A Bb lever or "trill" key is located in line directly above the right first-finger key. An optional C# trill key which facilitates the trill from B to C# is sometimes found on intermediate- and professional-quality flutes.
Foot joint - the last section of the flute (played farthest towards the right).
C foot - a foot joint with a lowest note of middle C; typical on student model flutes.
B foot - a foot joint with a lowest note of B below middle C, which is an option for intermediate - and professional-grade flutes.
D# roller - an optional feature added to the Eb key on the foot joint, facilitating the transition between Eb/D# and Db/C#, and C.
"Gizmo key" - an amusingly named optional key on the B foot joint which can be used to play low B, as well as assisting in playing C7.

A violin used in folk music. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, is a style of music. A violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the kind of music being played with it. The word "violin" is derived from Italian and the word "fiddle" is native to English. Historically, the word fiddle also referred to a predecessor of today's violin. Like the violin, it tended to have 4 strings, but came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Another family of instruments which contributed to the development of the modern fiddle are the viols, which are held between the legs and played vertically, and have fretted fingerboards. One very slight difference between "fiddles" and ordinary violins may be seen in American (e.g., bluegrass and old-time music) fiddling: in these styles, the top of the bridge may be cut so that it is very slightly less curved. This reduces the range of right-arm motion required for the rapid string-crossings found in some styles, and is said to make it easier to play double stops and shuffles (bariolage), or to make triple stops possible, allowing one to play chords. Most classical violinists prefer a more rounded curve to the top of the bridge, which allows them to articulate each note more easily and clearly. In practice, most instruments are fitted with a rounded bridge to better accommodate the shape of the fingerboard. In any case, the difference between "round" and "flat" is not great; about a quarter or half a millimeter variation in the height of one or two strings. As a violin's bridge is relatively easy to replace, modifying the bridge does not permanently make a violin into a fiddle. It is also more common to see an instrument described as a fiddle if it has steel strings rather than gut or synthetic, and fine tuners on all four strings; it is very uncommon to see four fine tuners on instruments played by classical musicians. (Fine tuners are small screw mechanisms attached to the tailpiece, which make small tuning adjustments easier.) As with the bridge, this configuration is easy to change from "violin" to "fiddle", and causes no irreversible changes to the instrument.

Steel Drums
A musical instrument and a form of music originating in Trinidad and Tobago. Steel Drums are a pitched percussion instrument, tuned chromatically, made from a 55 gallon drum of the type that stores oil. In fact, drum refers to the steel drum containers from which the pans are made; the steel drum is correctly called a steelpan or pan as it falls into the Idiophone family of instruments, and is not technically regarded as a drum or Membranophone. Bunches of young African men can be credited with contributing to the Steel Drums. Only having scraps as their primary resources they used what they had to preserve aspects of their culture in the space of the Caribbean. Clearly being influenced by the mixture of those on the islands along with the desire for African drums, Steel Drums was formed. The development of the Steel Drums took place largely during WWII, the first record of a pan band in the press being in a report of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in the Trinidad Guardian dated Tuesday, February 6, 1940. Early bands were essentially rhythm bands. However during the 1940s discarded 55-gallon steel oil drums became the preferred type of pan and, perhaps noticing that constant drumming changed the tone of the Steel Drums, techniques were developed to tune them to enable melodies to be played. During WWII, tamboo bamboo bands, who usually performed during Trinidad's Carnival began using steel drums discarded by the US military to make advanced versions of their instruments. Ellie Mannette is credited as the first person to use an oil drum in 1946. By the late 1940s the music had spread to neighbouring islands. In 1951 the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) took the music to the Festival of Britain in the United Kingdom. During the 1960s the tuner Anthony Williams developed a pan - the fourths and fifths - that has since become the standard design used today.

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A woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers and occasionally even higher. It is called das Fagott in German, il fagotto in Italian, and le basson in French. Appearing in its modern form in the 1800s, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band, and chamber music literature. The instrument is known for its distinctive tone color, wide range, variety of character, and agility. Its warm, dark, reedy timbre has often been compared to that of a male baritone voice. Due to the complicated fingering and the problem of reeds, the bassoon is one of the more difficult instruments to learn; schoolchildren typically take up the bassoon only after starting on another easier instrument such as the flute or clarinet.

A stringed instrument adapted from several African instruments. Africans in the American South and Appalachia fashioned the earliest banjos after instruments they had been familiar with in Africa. Some of the earliest instruments were often called "gourd banjos". One predecessor to the banjo is called the "Akonting." It is a spike folk lute played by the Jola tribe of Senegambia. The name banjo commonly is thought to be derived from the Kimbundu term mbanza. Some etymologists derive it from a dialectal pronunciation of "bandore", though recent research suggests that it may come from a Senegambian term for the bamboo stick used for the instrument's neck. Today, the banjo commonly is associated with country and bluegrass music. Historically, however, the banjo occupied a central place in African American traditional music, as well as in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. The modern banjo comes in a variety of forms, including four- (plectrum and tenor banjos) and five-string versions. A six-string version, tuned and played similar to a guitar, is gaining popularity. Banjo playing is characterised by a fast strumming or arpeggiated right hand, although there are many different playing styles. The banjo consists of a wooden or metal rim with a plastic polyester (PET film) or calf or goat skin drumhead stretched across it, a neck mounted on the side of the rim, a tailpiece mounted opposite the neck, four or five strings, and a bridge. The woods used in construction vary, but are often combinations of maple, walnut, and ebony for fingerboards, pegheads, and the tops of bridges. In the five-string banjo, the fifth peg is normally on the side of the neck, although some English versions (the Zither banjo) mount the fifth string tuner on the tuning head with the others, and route the string through a tube in the neck where it exits near the fifth fret. The earliest banjos were unfretted, like the African instruments that inspired them, but most banjos today are fretted. Banjo strings are most commonly metal, although nylon and gut can be used on some banjos, especially those played in the classical style. The two most common modern day acoustic banjos are the resonator banjo which has a detachable chamber, or resonator, on the back of the rim and the open back banjo which does not have a resonator. There are also solid body electric banjos; one such banjo, the Crossfire (manufactured by Deering), has two powerful magnetic pickups under the drumhead. A metal footed bridge ensures that pickups draw sound from both the strings and the head.

A stringed musical instrument well known for its use in Classical Antiquity and later. The recitations of the Ancient Greeks were accompanied by lyre playing. The lyre of Classical Antiquity was ordinarily played by plucking with a plectrum, like a harp, rather than being strumed, like a guitar. Lyres from various times and places are regarded by some organologists (specialists in the history of musical instruments) as a branch of the zither family, while others view the lyre and zither as being two separate classes. Those specialists maintain that the zither is distinguished by strings spread across all or most of its soundboard, or the top surface of its sound chest, also called soundbox or resonator, as opposed to the lyre, whose strings emanate from a more or less common point off the soundboard, such as a tailpiece. Some specialists even argue that instruments such as the violin and guitar belong to a class apart from the lyre because they have no yokes or uprights surmounting their resonators like "true" lyres do. This group they usually refer to as the lute class, after the instrument of that name, and include within it the guitar, the violin, the banjo, and similar stringed instruments with fingerboards. Those who differ with that opinion counter by calling the lute, violin, guitar, banjo, and other such instruments "independent fingerboard lyres," as opposed to simply "fingerboard lyres" such as the Welsh crwth, which have both fingerboards and frameworks above their resonators.

A small, stringed musical instrument which is plucked, strummed or a combination of both. It is descended from the mandora. Mandolins evolved from the lute family in Italy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the deep bowled mandolin produced particularly in Naples became a common type in the nineteenth century. The original instrument was the mandore (mandorla is "almond" in Italian, describing the instrument's body shape) and evolved in the fourteenth century from the lute. As time passed and the instrument spread around Europe, it took on many names and various structural characteristics. Further back, dating to around 15,000 BC to 8,000 BC, single stringed instruments have been seen in cave paintings and murals. They were struck, plucked, and eventually bowed. From these, the families of stringed instruments developed. Single strings were long and gave a single melody line. To shorten the scale length, other strings were added with a different tension and pitch so one string took over where another left off. In turn, this led to being able to play diads and chords. The bowed family became the rabob, rebec and then the fiddle evolving into the modern violin family by 1520 (incidentally also in Italy). The plucked family led to lute-like instruments in 2000 BC Mesopotamia, and developed into the oud or ud before appearing in Spain, first documented around 711 AD, courtesy of the Moors. Over the next centuries, frets were added and the strings doubled to courses, leading to the first lute appearing in the thirteenth century. The history of the lute and the mandolin are intertwined from this point. The lute gained a fifth course by the fifteenth century, a sixth a century later, and up to thirteen courses in its heyday. As early as the fourteenth century a miniature lute or mandora appeared. Similar to the mandola, it had counterparts in Assyria (pandura), the Arab countries (dambura), and Ukraine (kobza-bandura). From this, the mandolino (a small gut-strung mandola with six strings tuned g b e' a' d g sometimes called the Baroque mandolin and played with a quill, wooden plectrum or finger-style) was developed in several places in Italy. The mandolino was sometimes called a mandolin in the early eighteenth century (around 1735) Naples. At this point, all such instruments were strung with gut strings. The first evidence of modern steel-strung mandolins is from literature regarding popular Italian players who traveled through Europe teaching and giving concerts. These early mandolins are termed Neapolitan mandolins, because of their origin from Naples. They are distinguished by an almond-shaped body with a bowled back that is constructed from curved strips of wood along its length. The soundtable is bent just behind the bridge, the bending achieved with a heated bending iron. This "canted" table aids the body to support a greater string tension. A hardwood fingerboard is flush with the soundtable. Ten metal or ivory frets are spaced along the neck in semitones, with additional frets glued upon the soundtable. The strings are brass except for the lowest string course which are gut or metal wound onto gut. The bridge is a movable length of hardwood or ivory placed in front of ivory pins that hold the strings. Wooden tuning pegs are inserted through the back of a flat pegboard. The mandolins have a tortoise shell pickguard below the soundhole under the strings. A quill or shaped piece of tortoise shell is used as a plectrum. The twentieth century saw the rise in popularity of the mandolin for Celtic, bluegrass, jazz and classical styles. Much of the development of the mandolin from Neapolitan bowl-back to the flat-back style (actually, gently rounded and carved like a violin) is attributable to Orville Gibson (1856-1918).

A musical instrument from handheld bellows-driven free reed aerophone family. It is sometimes referred to as squeezeboxes. The accordion is played by compression and expansion of a bellows, which generates air flow across reeds; a keyboard or buttons control which reeds receive air flow and therefore the tones produced. Modern accordions consist of a body in two parts, each generally rectangular in shape, separated by a bellows. On each of these parts of the body is a keyboard containing buttons, levers or piano-style keys. When pressed, the buttons travel in a direction perpendicular to the motion of the bellows (towards the performer). Many of the modern accordions also have buttons capable of producing entire chords. In 1822 in Berlin, Friedrich Buschmann invented many of the accordion's basic form. In his 1833 "Schule für Accordion", the musician Adolph Müller described a great variety of instruments. Further innovations of the accordion followed and continue to the present. Various keyboard systems have been developed, as well as voicings (the combination of multiple tones at different octaves), with mechanisms to switch between different voices during performance, and different methods of internal construction to improve tone, stability and durability.

A double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. The English word "oboe" comes from the French translation of the word hautbois; the name of the instrument in French (literal meaning, "high" or "loud" wood). The Italian name displaced the older English name "hautboy" or "hoboy" in the 18th century. A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist. Careful manipulation of embouchure and air pressure allows the player to express a large timbral and dynamic range. Along with the French Horn, the oboe is often considered the most difficult instrument to play. It has three joints which traditionally has 10 or 11 holes on the first joint, played mostly by the left hand. Another 10 or 11 holes are on the second joint, played mainly by the right hand. And on the bell are two rarely used covered holes.

A small flute. Its name in Italian is "flauto piccolo" which means "small flute". Like the flute, the piccolo is normally pitched in the key of C, one octave above the concert flute (making it, effectively, a sopranino flute). Music for the piccolo is written one octave lower than concert pitch. Fingerings on the piccolo correspond to those of the flute, but sound an octave higher. Also, many alternate fingerings may be used to tune the individual pitches, as many are consistently out of tune. In addition to the standard C piccolo, there is a piccolo pitched in Db that is sometimes used in bands and one in A-flat, rarely used outside Italian marching bands. Because the piccolo's sound is in a very high register, it has a potential to be strident or shrill. Thus, it is often used only as an ornamental, "flavor" or "garnish" instrument, or not at all. Nonetheless, there have been many concertos and solo pieces written for the piccolo, written by notable composers such as Persichetti, Vivaldi, and Todd Goodman. (Vivaldi’s concertos, however, were originally for the sopranino recorder). One of the earliest pieces to use the piccolo was Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Triple-woodwind orchestral works typically include two flutes and one piccolo or three flutes with a piccolo double. Not all flute players play piccolo. Though the fingerings are the same, the embouchure and other differences do require a separate effort to learn. Also, flute players with large fingers may find it difficult to press the smaller piccolo keys accurately. The piccolo can be quite noticeable in concert marches. It is increasingly difficult to sustain notes in the third octave, especially softly. The piccolo is somewhat notorious for being difficult to play in tune, as evidenced by the joke circulating among musicians that defines a minor second as “two piccolos playing in unison”. Its small size makes it difficult to construct completely in tune and causes what would be small pitch variances in larger instrument to become rather significant. The fact that it is so high does not help as it is rather conspicuous when out of tune. Piccolos may be constructed out of wood, metal, plastic, or a combination. Many piccolo players find that wooden piccolos offer a more mellow timbre than metal ones. A popular compromise combines a metal head joint with a body made from wood. In more recent years the piccolo has also been made out of a plastic composite material. The composite piccolo is durable enough for marching and produces a fair quality sound. Most professionals agree that it should be made out of one material as two separate ones rise to separate temperatures, leading to tuning inconsistencies

A woodwind musical instrument and a member of the clarinet family. A saxonette is a soprano clarinet in C, A, or B? that has both a curved barrel and an upturned bell, both usually made of metal. It has the approximate overall shape of a saxophone, but unlike that instrument it has a cylindrical bore and is therefore categorized as a clarinet. The instrument is also known as the 'Claribel' and 'Clariphon'. Saxonettes were first produced by the Buescher Band Instrument Company, between 1918 and 1921. They are almost always simple (Albert) system, and most are in C. It is known that they were made in B? and A also, and Boehm system examples exist as well. Several stencils have also turned up that can be shown as being the same as Buescher models already in existence. Among these are the 'Supertone' and the 'Gretsch'. Other than the barrel and bell, there is no difference between a saxonette and a soprano clarinet (of the same fingering system). In fact, some manufacturers sold instruments having both clarinet- and saxonette-style barrels and bells. The curvature of the bell has little effect on the sound of the instrument. In particular, very few notes on a woodwind instrument vent through the bell, so its effect on most notes is negligible. Switching from a straight wood barrel to a curved metal one is more likely to influence the instrument's sound for several reasons: differences between metal and wood, likely differences in variation of the cross sectional area of the bore, and differences in the player's embouchure due to the different angle of the mouthpiece with respect to the body of the instrument. Perhaps the main reason for preferring a saxonette to a straight clarinet is visual: the saxonette looks distinctive and unusual.

(also called a babone) is a musical instrument made up of the reed and bocal of the bassoon attached to the body of a trombone in place of the trombone's mouthpiece, combining the "worst" aspects of each instrument, a reed and a slide. The trombone is often called the true head of the family of wind instruments. The name of the instrument is a portmanteau of "trombone" and "bassoon". The name "trombone" comes from the Italian word tromba for trumpet. Change the suffix "a" to the Italian suffix "one", meaning "big", and you get trombone meaning "big trumpet".

The highest brass instrument in register, above the horn, trombone, baritone, euphonium and tuba. A musician who plays the trumpet is called a trumpet player or trumpeter. The most common trumpet by far is a transposing instrument pitched in B flat - the note read as middle C sounds as the B flat 2 semitones below - but there are many other trumpets in this family of instruments. The oldest trumpets date back to 1500 B.C.E. and earlier. The earliest trumpets were signaling instruments used for military or religious purposes, rather than music in the modern sense. The modern bugle continues the signaling tradition, with different tunes corresponding to different instructions, but the advent of radio made its use more ceremonial. The trumpet players were often among the most heavily guarded members of a troop, as they were relied upon to relay instructions to other sections of the army. Improvements to instrument design and metal making in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance led to an increased usefulness of the trumpet as a musical instrument. The development of the upper, "clarino" register, by specialist trumpeters, would lend itself well to the Baroque era, also known as the "Golden Age of the natural trumpet." The melody-dominated homophony of the classical and romantic periods, relegated the trumpet to a secondary role by most major composers.

The largest of brass instruments and is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the ophicleide. An orchestra usually has a single tuba, serving as the bass of the brass section, though its versatility means it can double as reinforcement for the strings and woodwinds, or increasingly as a solo instrument. Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz was the first major work orchestrated for tuba. The Tuba is are found in various pitches, most commonly in F, E?, CC, or BB? in "brass band" pitching. The main bugle of BB? tubas is approximately 18 feet long, while that of CC tubas are 16 feet, E? tubas 13 feet, and F tubas 12 feet in tubing length without adding any valve branches. Tubas are considered to be conical in shape as from their tapered bores, they steadily increase in diameter along their lengths. A tuba with its tubing wrapped for placing the instrument on the player's lap is usually called a tuba or concert tuba. Some have a bell pointing forward as opposed to upward, which are often called recording tubas because of their popularity in the early days of recorded music, as their sound could more easily be directed at the recording instrument. When wrapped to surround the body for marching, it is traditionally known as a hélicon.

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