History of Musical Instruments
Music comes from the Greek word meaning “Art of Music”. In ancient Greece, the muses were the Goddesses who inspired the arts such as music and poetry.
Music has been performed a very long time with instruments and vocals. It is not certain when musical instruments were invented, most historians point to early Flutes made from animal bones that are at least 37,000 years old. The oldest song is 4,000 years and written in ancient cuneiform .
Instruments were invented to make musical sounds. Anything that produces can be considered a musical instrument, that’s why they were created.
Take a look at some instruments that have cropped up over the centuries from all over the world
Man has been beating on drums from as far back as history records, approximately 6,000BC. They were considered at the time to be communication devices back then. Drums would later change its role and become important in tribal ceremonial gatherings where they celebrated and did ritual dancing.
Drums were used throughout numerous wars, for example, the Cival War. The fife and drummers marched proudly as their side fought for victory.
No matter where you are born or what music you listen to, drums or percussion is present, everywhere from religious and military ceremonies to popular music today.
Simple example of natural made drums were found in many archaeological digs, but the first example of drum manufacture was located in 5500 BC in Neolithic China. Their model of wooden shell that was covered by the stretched alligator skin became template for drums created across entire Asia, Middle East and Africa where drums were used for thousands of years.
First encounter of European with modern drum design came during the reign of ancient Greece and Rome, who dispersed drums that were traded from Africa across Central and Western Europe. Drums didn’t become present or prominent in Europe for centuries after, while Middle East, Asia and Japan became home of many drum designs, drums were rarely used in Europe. This changed greatly after European armies came back home after crusades bringing with them technology, knowledge and objects that enabled beginning of the European Renaissance. With the steady stream of trade arriving via Genoa and Venetian ports, Europe started its centuries long recovery after harsh dark and middle ages. This recovery also affected music, enabling drums to finally become accepted, and morphed into countless types that were used as main and secondary instruments in rhythm section of both folk and classical music.
Presence of drums in orchestras continued to evolve until 1909. Ludwig Co. managed to introduce true revolution-foot pedal for beating Bass drum. This enabled musicians to finally start using drum kits that we know and use today. Starting with the “roaring 20s” and the jazz movement of the 30s 20th century drum use received another revolution with the popularization of the rock music in 40s and 50s. By 1960,four piece drum kit became commonplace in every rock, jazz and blues band, with many drummers adding extra to their basic kit.
Drums are incredible musical instruments, tools for transferring information and part of many religious and regional ceremonies, and because of that they will forever remain an important part of our history and future.
A bell is considered one of the percussion instruments. Its sound is caused by the vibration of solid material.bells may be categorized as videophones. Bells have been associated with religious rituals over the years and are still used to call communities together for religious services.
Because bells are made from metal, their first appearance in modern history started in the first millennia BC. During that time, Chinese metalworkers started binding together pairs of tiles, creating an enclosed chamber with opened door that can amplify the sound that is bouncing inside.
Louis Spohr in the 1820s,introduced the conductor’s baton. This is the french word meaning stick, which is used by the conductor primarily to enlarge and enhance the manual and body movement associated with directing a group of musicians with varying musical instruments. Before they invented the baton they used a violin bow
A metronome is a device that produces an audible beat-a clicking or other sound-at regular intervals that the user can adjust in various speeds in beats per minute. Musicians use this device to practice playing to a regular pulse.
Musician Etienne Louie in 1696 made the first recorded attempt to apply the pendulum to a metronome, although the first working one did not come into play until 1814.
accordions are instruments that use reeds and air that creates its unique sound. The air is produced by a bellow, which is a device that produces a strong blast of air. The accordion is played by pressing and expanding the air bellows while the musician presses buttons and keys to force the air across reeds of different pitches and tones. It is also known as the squeezebox.
The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family of instruments.
There are three main styles of accordions:diatonic, chromatic and keyboard. Diatonic and chromatic accordions have a piano keyboard for keys. In a standard instrument, the player’s right-hand side of the instrument. The left-hand side has chord or bass notes, used to play rhythm.
The accordion was invented by Friedrich Bushman in 1822 in Berlin.he called it the Handaoline. In 1829,Cyrillic Damian of Vienna, created another version and called it the accordion because of the added buttons played by the left hand that sounded chords.
There are several double bass name instruments, some of which are:the bass, contraband, bass violin, upright bass, to name a few. The earliest known dates back to 1516. Dominic Dragonette was the first great virtuoso of this instrument and largely responsible for the double bass joining the orchestra. The double bass is the largest and lowest pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.
This instrument is classified as a Chordophone, which is a fretted string instrument with anywhere from 4 to 18 strings, usually having 6. The sound is projected acoustically through a hollow wooden or plastic body or through an electrical amplifier and speaker. It is typically played by plucking or strumming the strings with one hand with fingers or a pic, depending on what type of music being played, while the other hand presses strings along frets-raised strips that change the tone of a sound.
A 3,000 year old stone carving shows a Hittite bard playing a stringed Ghordophone, most likely a predecessor of the modern day guitar. The modern day guitar most likely originated from Spain.
This comes from the Latin and Greek words Dulce and Melos, which combined means “sweet song”. It is derived from the Zither family of stringed instruments that consists of many strings stretched across a thin flat body.a hammer dulcimer has many strings struck by handheld hammers. Being struck string instrument, it is considered to be among the ancestors of the piano.
The hammered dulcimer probably originated in the Middle East around 900 A.D. and is related to the much older psaltery. It spread from across North Africa and was brought into Europe by the Spanish Moors during the 12th century. It is the German Scheitholtz that is considered to be the forefather of the modern Dulcimer
This instrument is a predecessor of the piano, it is played by the use of a keyboard, which has levers that a musician presses to produce a sound.when the musician presses one or more keys, this triggers a mechanism, which plucks one or more strings with a small Quill.
The ancestor of this instrument, Circa 1300,was most likely a hand held plucked instrument called the Psaltery, which later had a keyboard added to it.
This instrument was most popular during the Renaissance and Baroque eras.it diminished with the creation of the piano in 1700
This instrument was invented around 1700,which is an acoustic instrument, meaning no amplifier or speakers, most likely invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori. You play this instrument by using your fingers and striking a keyboard, causing so like hammers within the body of the piano striking the various strings. Its predecessor was the Harpsichord.
The harmonium, which is the immediate predecessor of the electric organ, or reed organ, which was very popular in homes and churches in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In a fashion not totally unlike that of reed organ, or pipe organs, generated sounds by forcing air over a set of reeds by means of bellows, usually operated by constantly pumping a set of pedals.
The 1st successful electric organ was developed in 1928 in France by Edouard Coupleux and Armand Givelet. It used electric oscillators in place of the pipes of a conventional organ and was operated with keyboards and a pedal board’
This instrument uses the left hand to modify the sound while the right hand is used to play the keyboard. Hugh Le Caine, who designed 22 musical instruments, is known as the inventor of this instrument, he also invented the variable-speed multi-track tape recorder and touch-sensative keyboard.he was a composer and Physicist.
Synthesizers are used to imitate different instruments like organs, pianos or flutes, or to make different sounds made electronically.
Robert Moog designed his 1st synthesizer in collaboration with composers Walter Carlos and Herbert A Deutsch.Moog Synthesizers used analog circuits and signals to create a unique sound in the 1960’s
The flute, which dates back to Paleolithic times, more than 3500 years ago.it is the earliest instrument that archaeologist have found. The flute belongs to the woodwind family, but unlike other woodwinds that use reeds, the flute is needless and produces its sounds from the flow of air across an opening.many ancient cultures have some form of flute passed down through history.
The 1st flute was called the Ch-ie and emerged in China.early flutes were played in two different positions, vertically, like a recorder, or horizontally, in what was called the transverse position.
Giuiseppi Donti developed this modern 10-hole ocarina in 1853. It is considered a musical wind instrument that is a type of vessel flute, which came from ancient wind instruments.there are different variations of this instrument, but a typical ocarina is an enclosed space with 4 to 12 finger holes and a mouthpiece that projects from the instruments body.they are usually made out of clay or ceramic, but are also made out of products such as meta, glass, wood,plastic or bone
The oboe was invented by the french in the 17th century by Jean Hotteterri and Michel Danican Philidor.the oboe, called a haulbois prior to 1770(meaning “loud or High Wood ” in French.)This instrument was used in early military bands before the clarinet took its place. It was considered the melody instrument and is a double-reeded wood instrument. The oboe evolved from the Shawm, a double reed instrument most likely originated from the Eastern Mediterranean region
The 1st true single reed instrument was the Chalumeau, which is the clarinets’ predecessor. Johann Christoph Denner, is credited as the inventor of the clarinet.
In the 1940s the clarinet entered the big band jazz era.eventually, the mellow sound of the saxophone replaced the clarinet in some melodies, but even today, many jazz bands feature a clarinet.
This instrument was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax in 1841. This instrument belongs to the woodwind family and is commonly called the sax. It is usually made of brass and has a single reed mouthpiece which closely resembles the clarinet.
Musicians play this instrument using a system of key levers, which the instrument has holes. When the player presses a key, a pad either covers or lifts off a hole, thus lowering or raising the sound or pitch.
The modern orchestral brass double french horn was invented from early hunting horns. Horns were first used as musical instruments during the 16th century operas. Fritz Kruspe is credited most often as the inventor in 1900 of the modern double french horn.
This instrument is a brass instrument recognized only in the late 14th or early 15th century, they were used as a signal device in battle or hunting, dating back as early as 1500BC,using animal horns or conch shells in Ancient Egypt, Greece and the Near East.
Charles Flagged first attempted to create a valve mechanism in the form of a trumpet in 1788,however the first practical one was invented by Heinrich Stoelzel and Friedrich Bluhmel in 1818,known as a box tubular valve.
The modern valve trumpet has evolved more than any other instrument still in use.
This instrument had concertos exclusively written by Mozart’s father,Leopoed and hayden’s brother Michael in the 2nd half of the 18th century.
Most trumpets have valves of the piston type, while some have the rotary type. The bell of the trumpet projects the sound. There are usually 3 valves that the player presses or releases to play different notes. As the musician blows into the trumpet’s mouthpiece, the valves direct the air through small pieces of extra tubing to produce the different notes. As you play the instrument, moisture from your breath condenses inside the trumpet.’
The word trombone derives from the Italian “Tromba”, meaning trumpet and the Italian suffix -one,meaning “large”, which means large trumpet. It first appeared in the 15th century.
This instrument belongs to the brass family, which the sound is produced by the vibration of the players lips causing the air column inside the trombone to vibrate, Trombones use a telescoping slide mechanism that varies the length of the instrument to change the pitch.like the trumpet, it has a cylindrical bore flared to a bore.
Today’s trombone comes in five ranges, soprano,alto,tenor,bass and contraband. Special order instruments, such as the piccolo and the soprano trombone, are known, though their use is generally used in trombone bands.
The trombone was generally called the sackbut from the 15th to the 17th century
The tuba, a deep-pitched brass wind instrument with valves and wide conical bore. The word tuba originally was the name of a straight-built Roman trumpet and was the medieval Latin word for trumpet. Valved bass brass instruments for bands are mentioned as early as 1829,but little is known about them.
The modern tuba, to the joint patent of the valve, was invented by Freidrich Bluhmel and Heinrich Stolzel in 1818,as I mentioned under the topic trumpet.
The sound is produced by moving air past the lips, causing them to vibrate into a large cupped mouthpiece, similar to all brass instruments.
It all began with a peculiar -looking Medieval instrument made of wood and leather that was redesigned numerous times, first gaining keys, a straightened wood or metal body in two sections and even more keys, an upright configuration of graceful, wound tubing and valves, a circular design resembling a snake once more, and eventually culminating in the 4-valve BB Flat that we all know and love today.