Musical Instruments

Types of Musical Instruments

Everyone loves music, it gives wonderful moments, calms, pleases, gives a sense of life. Different musical instruments have different properties and differ in their structure, material of manufacture, sound, playing technique. Attempts have been made repeatedly to create their classification. We decided to compile a small guide, where we posted types of musical instruments with pictures and names, so that every beginner can easily understand all the diversity of the musical world.

Classification of musical instruments

In general, musical instruments can be classified according to various criteria, but the most obvious of them is according to the sound source. Sound can be generated by strings, a vibrating tongue, vibration from a hard surface, or vibrating air in the body of the instrument.

On these grounds, string, wind, reed, and percussion instruments are distinguished, respectively. Besides the source of the sound, the way the instrument is played is an important criterion. Below we list the most common types of musical instruments.


Violin, guitar, cello, banjo – all these are stringed musical instruments. The sound in them appears due to the vibration of the stretched strings. There are bowed and plucked strings. In the former, the sound comes from the interaction of the bow and the string – the friction of the bow hair makes the string vibrate. Violins, cellos, violas work according to this principle.

Plucked instruments sound due to the fact that the musician himself, with his fingers, or with a pick, touches the string and makes it vibrate. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, domras work exactly according to this principle.

Note that sometimes some bowed instruments are played with plucking to achieve a slightly different timbre. Among these instruments are violins, double basses and cello.

Wind instruments

In wind instruments, sound is generated due to the vibrating air flow in the cavity of the musical instrument. It is likely that these musical instruments are among the most ancient, along with percussion. The pitch and character of the sound of the horns is influenced by how the musician blows air out of his mouth, as well as the position of his lips and facial muscles, called the ear cushion. In addition, the sound is regulated by the length of the air column using holes in the body, or additional pipes that increase this column. The further the air travels, the lower the sound will be.

Distinguish between woodwind and brass. However, this classification speaks, rather, not about the material from which the instrument is made, but about the historically established way of playing it. Woodwind instruments are instruments whose pitch is regulated by holes in the body. The musician closes the holes with his fingers or valves in a certain order, alternating them while playing.

Woodwinds can be metal flutes, flutes, and even a saxophone, which has never been made of wood at all. In addition, these include flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, as well as old shalmeys, recorders, duduks and zurnas.

Brass instruments include those instruments, the pitch of which is regulated by additional pipes, as well as by the musician’s ear cushion. Brass horns include French horns, trumpets, cornets, trombones and tubas.

Reed instrument

Everyone is familiar with the harmonica. Its enchanting sound arises from the fact that the musician, blowing air into the instrument, makes a small metal tongue vibrate, which produces the sound. Reed includes accordions, button accordions, accordions, kazoo.

In addition, reed wind instruments, such as the saxophone, bassoon or clarinet, in which the sound is generated due to the vibration of a small wooden plate – a cane, can be attributed to them.


Some of the most ancient musical instruments are drums, of course. The sound is formed from the impact of the musician on the instrument, or on its resonating part. Percussion instruments include all drums, tambourines, xylophones, timpani, triangles and shakers. In general, this is a very numerous group of instruments, which includes ethnic and orchestral percussion.


Percussion – percussion and noise musical instruments that are not included in the standard drum kit, or the main drums of the orchestra. Such instruments play an important role, creating a special mood and variety of rhythm of the part and the entire composition as a whole.

The sounds of bells, the noise of rattles, castanets and tambourines – without this it is impossible to imagine modern music. Ethnic percussion, which includes such ethnic percussion as tambourine, bongos, maracas, wooden spoons, castanets, have a huge impact on the self-determination of many peoples, creating their identity.

The Keyboards

Keyboard musical instruments include any instruments that have a piano or organ keyboard. Most often, in the modern interpretation, keyboards mean a grand piano, piano, organ, or synthesizer. In addition, this subgroup includes the harpsichord, accordion, melotron, clavichord, harmonium.


A relatively new subcategory of musical instruments, the sound of which is generated using electronic circuits. These include digital pianos, synthesizers, groove boxes, samplers, drum machines. Most of these instruments have either a piano keyboard or a keyboard consisting of dedicated, responsive pad buttons. However, some electric musical instruments may not have a keyboard at all, like, for example, modular synthesizers, receiving information about the note being played using special programs or devices.


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