Table of Contents
Orchestras .............................................8 with mallet
Instruments Around the World ............19 Introduction
Music has probably been important
since the first humans lived on Earth.
They made musical instruments from
everyday objects. Music might have
been discovered unintentionally
when musical tones were created by
accidentally hitting a tree trunk or a
rock. Or the wind might have created
music when it blew through a shell,
a reed, or a piece of bamboo.
Music is still important to us today.
We can make music with our voices Instruments
or with instruments. We can also dance Just as there are many types
to it or just listen to it. Music brings of music, there are also many
pleasure and joy to life. Gentle, quiet types of instruments. Each
music soothes us. Loud music excites us instrument has its own
and gives us energy. We can special personality. Each
create or find music to one creates its own kind
express all of of sound and mood.
our moods. The sounds can be
soft, loud, gentle,
Taiko drummer (Japan) Saxophone
The type of sound made
by a musical instrument
depends on its shape,
design, and size. The
sound also depends Orchestras
on the materials One place where many
from which the musical instruments are
instrument is found is an orchestra.
made and the way This is a group of
it is played. It is musicians who play
truly amazing how together on certain
many types of musical instruments.
musical instruments Most big cities, and
there are in the many smaller cities,
world. Each one can have an orchestra.
bring pleasure to Orchestras usually
both the player play what is called
Gong (metal) and the listener. classical music.
The biggest part of an orchestra is
the string section. This includes
a family of stringed instruments
that are played with a bow.
These instruments all create Another stringed instrument in an
a similar kind of sound, Violin orchestra is plucked instead
even though some are smaller of bowed. It is the harp.
with a higher sound and some It is a quieter
are bigger with a deeper sound. instrument than
The string section includes many other
violins, violas, cellos, and orchestra
double basses. The instruments.
string section of The harp
a large orchestra is usually
can contain played while
over 70 fewer other
are playing so
that it can be
the harp is played
solo, or alone.
Cello Double bass Harp
Another important part
of an orchestra is the
woodwind family. The Woodwind
woodwinds include flutes, instruments
oboes, clarinets, and are played by
bassoons. The woodwinds blowing air into
have other family members them. They have
that may be part of an many holes that make
orchestra, too. The flute has a different musical notes
smaller cousin, called a piccolo. when the holes are covered
The other woodwinds have or uncovered. Sometimes
bigger cousins called the the holes are covered by the
English horn, bass clarinet, player’s fingers. Sometimes
and double bassoon. the player holds down keys
Clarinet that cover the holes.
Percussion instruments are another
important part of an orchestra. These
instruments are all struck, or hit, in
one way or another. They are made of
skin, metal, or wood. Some percussion
instruments, such as a xylophone, create
musical notes. Others, such as castanets
and most drums, create sound with no
musical notes. Percussion adds bangs
and splashes to the sound of an
French horn orchestra.
Another section of the orchestra is
the brass section. This includes
trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas.
These are among the most powerful
instruments in an orchestra. Brass
instruments, like woodwinds, are played
by blowing into them. Trumpets, horns,
and tubas have valves that a player
pushes to change notes. Trombones have
a U-shaped metal tube and slide. The
player moves the slide to change notes. Kettledrum
Keyboard instruments include the piano Bands
and organ. These instruments have Bands are another kind of musical
closed cases that hide the inside of group that have their
the instrument. Pianos have strings own kinds of instruments.
that vibrate. Organs create sound by Marching bands use
the use of wind. These instruments brass, woodwind, and
all have many keys that can create percussion instruments,
many more notes but no strings. There are
than most other many other kinds of
instruments. bands as well. They often
include one or more
guitars, another stringed
guitar instrument. Guitars are
the foundation of
many bands in the
same way that the
violin family is the
foundation of an
played in bands
are often made
louder by the use
Baby grand piano of amplifiers.
A rock band can include electric guitars,
bass guitars, drums, and an electronic
keyboard, along with other instruments.
A jazz band can have many of the same
instruments as a rock band. It can also
have woodwinds and brass instruments.
Latin bands often have extra percussion 5-string banjo
such as the marimba, an instrument
related to a Bluegrass and
xylophone. country music
bands may have
autoharps. They may
also have various percussion
instruments such as spoons,
Marimba washboards, and bucket basses.
These bands also have fiddles, which
are violins played in a very different
style than they are in an orchestra.
Native American flute
thumb piano (Africa)
Instruments Around the World
Cultures around the world have
instruments that are very different from
force air down a
the ones described so far in this book.
tube. Look at these
But most instruments, no matter where
illustrations of blown
they are found, are played in one
of four ways— by blowing, scraping,
around the world.
plucking, or hammering. Some examples
of each type of instrument are shown
on the following pages. Scottish bagpipes (Scotland)
Plucked instruments have
strings that can be plucked
using fingers or a variety
of other objects. Here are
some plucked instruments
from around the world.
Scraped instruments include the violin
family. They often use a bow that creates
sound when scraped over strings. But Lute (Middle East, Europe)
many scraped instruments create music
in other ways. These are two unusual
scraped instruments. Sitar (India)
Hammered instruments include drums
and other percussion instruments.
They create music by hitting
In many ways, the human voice can
be considered a musical instrument.
It is perhaps the most flexible musical
instrument of all. It can create and sing
songs with words, tunes without words,
and a wide variety of rhythms and
Here are a
sounds. It doesn’t cost anything since no
few of them.
extra equipment is needed. If you are in
a place where you need to be quiet, you
Drum (Africa) can still hum or sing silently to yourself.
amplifier electronic equipment that makes
a musical instrument sound louder
bow a flexible rod with horsehairs
stretched from end to end for playing
instruments of the violin family (p. 9)
brass a group of metal instruments that
includes trumpets, trombones, horns,
and tubas (p. 13)
Music brings great keyboard a group of instruments that includes
joy to life. It helps the piano, organ, harpsichord, and
us to express
Also, the row or rows of keys
ourselves, and it fills on any of these instruments (p. 15)
our world with beauty.
percussion a group of instruments on which
Whether you sing, music is made by hammering or
dance, play an banging, such as the drum (p. 14)
instrument, or sit strings the violins, violas, cellos, and double
and listen to music, basses in an orchestra (p. 9)
be sure to make it woodwinds a group of instruments that includes
a part of your life. flutes, clarinets, oboes, and bassoons