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A musical instrument is broadly defined as any device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. Once humans moved from making sounds with their bodies for example, by clapping to using objects to create music from sounds, musical instruments were born. Primitive instruments were probably designed to emulate natural sounds, and their purpose was ritual rather than entertainment. The concept of melody and the artistic pursuit of musical composition were unknown to early players of musical instruments. A player sounding a flute to signal the start of a hunt does so without thought of the modern notion of “making music”.
Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from “found objects” such a shells and plant parts.As instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Virtually every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments]One plays a musical instrument by interacting with it in some way—for example, by plucking the strings on a string instrument. The sounds produced by musical instruments vary in timbre and pitch, the principle characteristics by which the human ear perceives musical sounds.
Researchers have discovered archaeological evidence of musical instruments in many parts of the world. Some finds are 67,000 years old, however their status as musical instruments is often in dispute. Consensus solidifies about artifacts dated back to around 37,000 years old and later. Only artifacts made from durable materials or using durable methods tend to survive. As such, the specimens found cannot be irrefutably placed as the earliest musical instruments. In July 1995, Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Turk discovered a bone carving in the northwest region of Slovenia. The carving, named the Divje Babe flute, features four holes that Canadian musicologist Bob Fink determined could have been used to play four notes of a diatonic scale. Researchers estimate the flute’s age at between 43,400 and 67,000 years, making it the oldest known musical instrument and the only
musical instrument associated with the Neanderthal culture.
However, some archaeologists and ethnomusicologists dispute the flute’s status as a musical instrument German archaeologists have found mammoth bone and bone flutes dating back to 30,000 to 37,000 years old in the Swabian Alps. The flutes were made in the Upper Paleolithic age, and are more commonly accepted as being the oldest known musical instruments. Archaeological evidence of musical instruments was discovered in excavations at the Royal Cemetery in the Sumerian city of Ur (see Lyres of Ur). These instruments include nine lyres, two harps, a silver double flute, sistra and cymbals, and comprise one of the first ensembles of instruments to be discovered. A set of reed-sounded silver pipes discovered in Ur was the likely predecessor of modern bagpipes.
The cylindrical pipes feature three side-holes that allowed players to produce whole tone scales. These excavations, carried out by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s, uncovered non-degradable fragments of instruments and the voids left by the degraded segments that, together, have been used to reconstruct them. The graves these instruments were buried in have been carbon dated to between 2600 and 2500 BCE, providing evidence that these instruments were used in Sumeria by this time. Archaeologists in the Jiahu site of central Henan province of China have found flutes made of bones that date back 7,000 to 9,000 years, representing some of the “earliest complete, playable, tightly-dated, multinote musical instruments” ever found. A cuneiform tablet from Nippur in Mesopotamia dated to 2000 BCE indicates the names of strings on the lyre and represents the earliest known example of music notation.
Scholars agree that there are no completely reliable methods of determining the exact chronology of musical instruments across cultures. Comparing and organizing instruments based on their complexity is misleading, since advancements in musical instruments have sometimes reduced complexity. For example, construction of early slit drums involved felling and hollowing out large trees; later slit drums were made by opening bamboo stalks, a much simpler task. Curt Sachs argued that is misleading to arrange the development of musical instruments by workmanship since all cultures advance at different levels and have access to different materials.
For example, contemporary anthropologists attempting to compare musical instruments made by two cultures that existed at the same time but who differed in organization, culture, and handicraft cannot determine which instruments are more “primitive”. Ordering instruments by geography is also partially unreliable, as one cannot determine when and how cultures contacted one another and shared knowledge. German musicologist Curt Sachs, one of the most prominent musicologists and musical ethnologists in modern times, proposed that a geographical chronology until approximately 1400 is preferable, however, due to its limited subjectivity. Beyond 1400, one can follow the overall development of musical instruments by time period. The science of marking the order of musical instrument development relies on archaeological artifacts, artistic depictions, and literary references. Since data in one research path can be inconclusive, all three paths provide a better historical picture.
During the period of time loosely referred to as the Middle Ages, China developed a tradition of integrating musical influence from other regions. The first record of this type of influence is in 384 AD, when China established a orchestra in its imperial court after a conquest in Turkestan. Influences from Middle East, Persia, India, Mongolia, and other countries followed. In fact, Chinese tradition attributes many musical instruments from this period to those regions and countries. Cymbals and gongs gained popularity, along with more advanced trumpets, clarinets, oboes, flutes, drums, and lutes. Some of the first bowed-zithers appeared in China in the 9th or 10th century, influenced by Mongolian culture. India experienced similar development to China in the Middle Ages; however, stringed instruments developed differently to accommodate different styles of music. While stringed instruments of China were designed to produce precise tones capable of matching the tones of chimes, stringed instruments of India were considerably more flexible.
This flexibility suited the slides and tremolos of Hindu music. Rhythm was of paramount importance in Indian music of the time, as evidenced by the frequent depiction of drums in reliefs dating to the Middle Ages. The emphasis on rhythm is an aspect native to Indian music. Historians divide the development of musical instruments in medieval India between pre-Islamic and Islamic periods due to the different influence each period provided. In pre-Islamic times, idiophones such hand bells, cymbals, and peculiar instruments resembling gongs came into wide use in Hindu music. The gong-like instrument was a bronze disk that was struck with a hammer instead of a mallet. Tubular drums, stick zithers named veena, short fiddles, double and triple flutes, coiled trumpets, and curved India horns emerged in this time period. Islamic influences brought new types of drums, perfectly circular or octagonal as opposed to the irregular pre-Islamic drums.
Persian influence brought oboes and sitars, although Persian sitars had three strings and Indian version had from four to seven.[ Southeast Asian musical innovations include those during a period of Indian influence that ended around 920 AD. Balinese and Javanese music made use of xylophones and metallophones, bronze versions of the former. The most prominent and important musical instrument of Southeast Asia was the gong. While the gong likely originated in the geographical area between Tibet and Burma, it was part of every category of human activity in Maritime Southeast Asia including Java. The areas of Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula experiences rapid growth and sharing of musical instruments once they were united by Islamic culture in the seventh century. Frame drums and cylindrical drums of various depths were immensely important in all genres of music.
Conical oboes were involved in the music that accompanied wedding and circumcision ceremonies. Persian miniatures provide information on the development of kettle drums in Mesopotamia that spread as far as Java.] Various lutes, zithers, dulcimers, and harps spread as far as Madagascar to the south and modern-day Sulawesi to the east. European music between 800 and 1100 became more sophisticated, more frequently requiring instruments capable of polyphony. The Persian geographer of the 9th century (Ibn Khordadbeh), mentioned in his lexicographical discussion of music instruments that in the Byzantine Empire typical instruments included the urghun (organ), shilyani (probably a type of harp or lyre), salandj (probably a bagpipe) and the Byzantine lyra (Greek: λύρα ~ lūrā). Lyra was a medieval pear-shaped bowed string instrument with three to five strings, held upright and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. The monochord served as a precise measure of the notes of a musical scale, allowing more accurate musical arrangements.
Mechanical hurdy-gurdies allowed single musicians to play more complicated arrangements than a fiddle would; both were prominent folk instruments in the Middle Ages. Southern Europeans played short and long lutes whose pegs extended to the sides, unlike the rear-facing pegs of Central and Northern European instruments. The ninth century revealed the first bagpipes, which spread throughout Europe and had many uses from folk instruments to military instruments. The construction of pneumatic organs evolved in Europe starting in fifth century Spain, spreading to England in about 700. The resulting instruments varied in size and use from portable organs worn around the neck to large pipe organs. Literary accounts of organs being played in English Benedictine abbeys toward the end of the tenth century are the first references to organs being connected to churches. Reed players of the Middle Ages were limited to oboes; no evidence of clarinets exists during this period.
During the Classical and Romantic periods of music, lasting from roughly 1750 to 1900, a great deal of musical instruments capable of producing new timbres and higher volume were developed and introduced into popular music. The design changes that broadened the quality of timbres allowed instruments to produce a wider variety of expression. Large orchestras rose in popularity and, in parallel, the composers determined to produce entire orchestral scores that made use of the expressive abilities of modern instruments. Since instruments were involved in collaborations of a much larger scale, their designs had to evolve to accommodate the demands of the orchestra. Some instruments also had to become louder to fill larger halls and be heard over sizable orchestras. Flutes and bowed instruments underwent all manner of modifications and design changes most of them unsuccessful in effort to increase their volume.
Other instruments underwent changes just to be capable of playing their parts in the scores: trumpets traditionally had a “defective” range they were incapable of producing certain notes with precision. New instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, and tuba became fixtures in orchestras. Instruments such as the clarinet also grew into entire “families” of instruments capable of different ranges: small clarinets, normal clarinets, bass clarinets, and so on.
Accompanying the changes to timbre and volume was a shift in the typical pitch used to tune instruments. Instruments meant to play together, as in an orchestra, must be tuned to the same standard lest they produce audibly different sounds while playing the same notes. Beginning in 1762, the average concert pitch began rising from a low of 377 vibrations to a high of 457 in 1880 Vienna. Different regions, countries, and even instrument manufacturers preferred different standards, making orchestral collaboration a challenge. Despite even the efforts of two organized international summits attended by noted composers like Hector Berlioz, no standard could be agreed upon.
The evolution of traditional musical instruments slowed beginning in the twentieth century. Instruments like the violin, flute, french horn, harp, and so on are largely the same as those manufactured throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Gradual iterations do emerge; for example, the “New Violin Family” began in 1964 to provide differently sized violins to expand the range of available sounds. The slowdown in development was practical response to the concurrent slowdown in orchestra and venue size. Despite this trend in traditional instruments, the development of new musical instruments exploded in the twentieth century.
The sheer variety of instruments developed overshadows any prior period. The proliferation of electricity in the twentieth century lead to the creation of an entirely new category of musical instruments: electronic instruments, or electrophones. The vast majority of electrophones produced in the first half of the twentieth century were what Sachs called “electromechanical instruments”. In other words, they have mechanical parts that produce sound vibrations, and those vibrations are picked up and amplified by electrical components. Examples of electromechanical instruments include organs and electric guitars. Sachs also defined a subcategory of “radioelectric instruments” such as the theremin, which produces music through the player’s hand movements around two antennas.
The latter half of the twentieth century saw the gradual evolution of synthesizers—instruments that artificially produce sound using analog or digital circuits and microchips. In the late 1960s, Bob Moog and other inventors began an era of development of commercial synthesizers. One of the first of these instruments was the Moog synthesizer. The modern proliferation of computers and microchips has spawned an entire industry around electronic musical instruments. Since electronic musical instruments may produce sound without human interaction, there is debate in the modern music community as to whether or not computer musicians may be considered instrumentalists.
There are many different methods of classifying musical instruments. Various methods examine aspects such as the physical properties of the instrument (material, color, shape, etc.), the use for the instrument, the means by which music is produced with the instrument, the range of the instrument, and the instrument’s place in an orchestra or other ensemble. Most methods are specific to a geographic area or cultural group and were developed to serve the unique classification requirements of the group. The problem with these specialized classification schemes is that they tend to break down once they are applied outside of their original area. For example, a system based on instrument use would fail if a culture invented a new use for the same instrument. Scholars recognize Hornbostel-Sachs as the only system that applies to any culture and, more important, provides only possible classification for each instrument.
An ancient system named the Natya Shastra, written by the sage Bharata Muni and dating from between 200 BC and 200 AD, divides instruments into four main classification groups: instruments where the sound is produced by vibrating strings; percussion instruments with skin heads; instruments where the sound is produced by vibrating columns of air; and “solid”, or non-skin, percussion instruments. This system was adapted to some degree in 12th-century Europe by Johannes de Muris, who used the terms tensibilia (stringed instruments), inflatibilia (wind instruments), and percussibilia (all percussion instruments).
 In 1880, Victor-Charles Mahillon adapted the Natya Shastra and assigned Greek labels to the four classifications: chordophones (stringed instruments), membranophones (skin-head percussion instruments), aerophones (wind instruments), and autophones (non-skin percussion instruments). ConstructionThe materials used in making musical instruments vary greatly by culture and application. Many of the materials have special significance owing to their source or rarity. Some cultures worked substances from the human body into their instruments. In ancient Mexico, for example, the material drums were made from might contain actual human body parts obtained from sacrificial offerings. In New Guinea, drum makers would mix human blood into the adhesive used to attach the membrane.
Mulberry trees are held in high regard in China owing to their mythological significance instrument makers would hence use them to make zithers.. Musical instrument construction is a specialized trade that requires years of training, practice, and sometimes an apprenticeship. Most makers of musical instruments specialize in one genre of instruments; for example, a luthier makes only stringed instruments. Some make only one type of instrument such as a piano. Whatever the instrument constructed, the instrument maker must consider materials, construction technique, and decoration, creating a balanced instrument that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Some builders are focused on a more artistic approach and develop experimental musical instruments, often meant for individual playing styles developed by the builder himself.
* Electric saxophone
* Denis d’or
* Dubreq Stylophone
* Drum machine
* Electronic organ
* Fingerboard synthesizer
* Hammond organ
* Kraakdoos (or Cracklebox)
* Laser harp
* Ondes Martenot
* Jammer keyboard
* MIDI keyboard
* Electronic organ
* Hammond Organ
* Pipe organ
* Baby grand piano
* Grand piano
* Upright piano
* Viola organista
* Raghu Narayan (Bangalore)
* Sea organ
* Shishi odoshi (Japan)
* Suikinkutsu (Japanese water zither)
* Wobble board (Australia)
* Mountain xylophone super bass(Davisalore,America)
Music effects the brain in many different ways. The study of musical instruments improves higher order thinking skills. “One of the things we have to be careful about is jumping to conclusions that we don’t have any data on at all. I find that listening to Mozart makes you ‘smarter. That is quite a bit of a leap.” The previous sentence was a famous quote by Francis H. Rauscher. Schools and parents should encourage students to study while listening to music and should provide music lesson to children at a young age. Through the years scientists have proven music enables the brain to work at a high thinking level. Many people think that in the years to come, people will use music to effectly stimulate the brain more frequetly than now.