An idiophone is any musical instrument that creates sound primarily by the vibration of the instrument itself, without the use of air flow (as with aerophones), strings (chordophones), membranes (membranophones) or electricity (electrophones). It is the first of the four main divisions in the original Hornbostel–Sachs system of musical instrument classification (see List of idiophones by Hornbostel–Sachs number). The early classification of Victor-Charles Mahillon called this group of instruments autophones. The most common are struck idiophones, or concussion idiophones, which are made to vibrate by being struck, either directly with a stick or hand (like the wood block, singing bowl, steel tongue drum, triangle or marimba) or indirectly, with scraping or shaking motions (like maracas or flexatone). Various types of bells fall into both categories. A common plucked idiophone is the Jew's harp.
The word is from Ancient Greek, a combination of idio- ("own, personal" or "distinct")and -phone ("voice, sound").
Most percussion instruments that are not drums are idiophones. Hornbostel–Sachs divides idiophones into four main sub-categories. The first division is the struck idiophones (also known sometimes as concussion idiophones). This includes most of the non-drum percussion instruments familiar in the West. They include all idiophones made to vibrate by being struck, either directly with a stick or hand (like the wood block, singing bowl, steel tongue drum, triangle or marimba) or indirectly, by way of a scraping or shaking motion (like maracas or flexatone). Various types of bells fall into both categories.
The other three subdivisions are rarer. They are plucked idiophones, such as the Jew's harp, amplified cactus, kouxian, dan moi, music box and mbira (lamellophone or thumb piano); blown idiophones , of which there are a very small number of examples, the Aeolsklavier being one; and friction idiophones , such as the singing bowl, glass harmonica, glass harp, turntable, verrophone, daxophone, styrophone, musical saw, and nail violin (a number of pieces of metal or wood rubbed with a bow).
Other classifications use six main sub-categories.
Most ideophones are made of glass, metal, ceramics, and wood. They are are considered part of the percussion section in an orchestra.
A number of idiophones that are normally struck, such as vibraphone bars and cymbals, can also be bowed.
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or struck against another similar instrument. Excluding zoomusicological instruments and the human voice, the percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments.
String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.
In the study of musical instruments, organology, there are many different methods of classifying musical instruments. Most methods are specific to a particular cultural group and were developed to serve the requirements of that culture and its musical needs. Such classification schemes often break down when applied outside of their original context. For example, a classification based on instrument use may fail when applied to culture which has a different use, or even multiple uses, for the same instrument.
Hornbostel–Sachs or Sachs–Hornbostel is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914. An English translation was published in the Galpin Society Journal in 1961. It is the most widely used system for classifying musical instruments by ethnomusicologists and organologists. The system was updated in 2011 as part of the work of the Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO) Project.
A lamellophone is a member of the family of musical instruments that makes its sound by a thin vibrating plate called a lamella or tongue, which is fixed at one end and has the other end free. When the musician depresses the free end of a plate with a finger or fingernail, and then allows the finger to slip off, the released plate vibrates. An instrument may have a single tongue or a series of multiple tongues.
A rattle is a type of percussion instrument which produces a sound when shaken. Rattles are described in the Hornbostel–Sachs system as Shaken Idiophones or Rattles (112.1).
A crystallophone is a musical instrument that produces sound from glass.
Struck idiophones is one of the categories of idiophones that are found in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification.
Friction idiophones is designation 13 in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification. These idiophones produce sound by being rubbed either against each other or by means of a non-sounding object. Instruments of this type are not very common; possibly the best known examples are the musical saw and the nail violin.
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who plays a musical instrument is known as an instrumentalist. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for rituals, such as a horn to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications and technologies.
There are several overlapping schemes for the classification of percussion instruments.
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