Musical instrument

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A musical instrument is a (typically) man-made device for the creation and propagation of sound waves that are deemed to be pleasant in some way. People use musical instruments to play music alone, or in groups, for their own pleasure or for audiences.

Musical instruments are many and varied. The ones used in classical music are divided into four broad categories - the woodwinds, strings, brass and percussion. Folk music has its own broad range of instruments, including such well known ones as the banjo. Modern popular music often includes amplified ("electric") instruments such as the electric guitar, bass and keyboards, and even the use of record playing turntables as instruments in themselves.

The earliest musical instruments were likely to have been natural objects that resonated in some way when struck or beaten.

There is still a category of instruments which are essentially objects designed for other purposes but used this way, sometimes with humorous intent - these include the washboard, the pocket comb with tissue paper, and the spoons.

The following is a list, which may never be complete, of musical instruments. It is divided into "acoustic" and "electric" sections.

Acoustic Instruments





Electric Instruments

Note that in addition to these, many of the acoustic instruments above can be fitted with various forms of pickups, essentially making them electric instruments, as their sound is then very different from what a microphone would record.

See also