Music Musical Instruments
by
Jennifer C. Post
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0135

Introduction

Musical instruments are devices used to produce musical sound. Instruments also express individual and community identities and reflect physical geographies. The role a musical instrument plays in a society can range widely: for example, it can be used for entertainment or have a central role in ritual; its use in ensemble can demonstrate social solidarity or possessing a specific instrument can enhance the status of an individual. Most instruments are carefully constructed in conjunction with the beliefs and values of the community where it is played. Their sounds result from instrument makers’ and performers’ careful selection of acoustically resonant and aesthetically pleasing materials, such as two carefully chosen stones clapped together to accompany the songs of urban singers in Uzbekistan or use by a luthier of hand-selected and aged rosewood, spruce, and ebony for a fine guitar in England. Organology, or the study of musical instruments, has focused particularly on classification, instrument design and construction, and performance practice. More recently, the study of instruments has grown due to greater interest in the disciplines of ethnomusicology and musicology in using musical instruments to better understand social lives, local and global economies, key political events, physical geographies, religious belief systems, and other aspects of human activities in which music plays a role. This list of resources on musical instruments contains materials that provide broad information on musical instruments, including historical overviews, dictionaries and encyclopedias, and studies and sources for information on issues such as classification, construction, and social use in a country, region, or historical period.

General Overviews

Comprehensive studies on musical instruments include sources with information on history, development, and social use as well as pictorial works. The works all consider musical instruments by broad geographic region. Different research periods and somewhat varied approaches to organology are represented in this collection of sources. Sachs 2006 (originally published in 1940), written before the middle of the 20th century, and Montagu 2007, written more recently, both focus on historical and geographic development of instruments. Baines 1966, Baines 1983, and Remnant 1989 are general introductions to European and American instruments. Campbell, et al. 2004 surveys the history, production, and use of Western instruments. Rault 2000 offers a unique approach in which the author organizes her global collection around themes related to nature, the body, ritual, and social use. Buchner 1972 and Buchner 1973 are valued primarily for the breadth of information provided in images.

  • Baines, Anthony, ed. Musical Instruments through the Ages. Rev. ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1966.

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    Edited by Anthony Baines for the Galpin Society, this volume for the generalist reader provides brief histories of instruments in chapters authored by Galpin Society members. Includes illustrations and a glossary of technical terms. The first edition was published in 1961.

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  • Baines, Anthony. European and American Musical Instruments. London: Chancellor, 1983.

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    A visual resource with more than eight hundred photographs of instruments from over eighty collections, focuses on instruments from the Renaissance to the modern era. Organized by instrument type, the introductory material for each chapter provides historical and technical information.

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  • Buchner, Alexander. Folk Music Instruments of the World. New York: Crown, 1972.

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    Photographs and text on musical instruments from different parts of the world. The greatest value is placed on the dozens of images of instruments, some showing playing position and performance style as well as instrument design. The written information, including instrument names, is uneven in detail and accuracy.

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  • Buchner, Alexander. Musical Instruments: An Illustrated History. New York: Crown, 1973.

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    Revised edition of Alexander Buchner, Musical Instruments through the Ages (London: Spring, 1956). A collection of more than three hundred images of musical instruments, largely from European historical and contemporary traditions. While the image collection has been widely praised, the text is often criticized for its inaccuracy.

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  • Campbell, Murray, Clive A. Greated, and Arnold Myers. Musical Instruments: History, Technology, and Performance of Instruments of Western Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    Surveys European and North American musical instruments, covering construction and acoustical characteristics as well as historical development and use. Organized by instrument families, chapters highlight acoustical elements and discuss manufacture, playing techniques, and performance practice of representative instruments. The volume also includes many illustrations and musical examples.

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  • Montagu, Jeremy. Origins and Development of Musical Instruments. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2007.

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    Presents a history of musical instruments, speculating on origins of instruments and instrument types. In a work organized by instrument type, the author focuses on instruments by classification, weaving examples from different time periods and from different parts of the world. Copiously illustrated.

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  • Rault, Lucie. Musical Instruments: Craftsmanship and Traditions from Prehistory to the Present. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.

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    This large format, extensively illustrated book traces the history and development of selected musical instruments as cultural objects. It features instruments from around the world in chapters that focus on music in nature, the body as instrument, religious and ritual uses of instruments, and the role of instruments in society. Translated from the French by Jane Brenton.

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  • Remnant, Mary. Musical Instruments: An Illustrated History: From Antiquity to the Present. Portland, OR: Amadeus, 1989.

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    European instruments presented in chapters organized by instrument type with brief descriptive, contextual, and historical information and more than two hundred illustrations. The concluding chapter is on the development of instrumentation. The volume is a revised edition of the 1978 publication, Musical Instruments of the West (New York: St. Martin’s).

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  • Sachs, Curt. The History of Musical Instruments. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2006.

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    Originally published by Norton in 1940. Organized chronologically into sections, the emphasis in the first part is on non-Western instruments and includes information on instruments in social and historical contexts as well as the instruments themselves. Western instruments from 1400 to the early to mid-20th century are covered in the last section. Historical and geographic development of instruments is emphasized throughout the volume.

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Reference Works

Encyclopedias and dictionaries offer alphabetically or topically arranged material that can be used as a resource for further in-depth research and study. These reference works on musical instruments frequently take a global approach. The most comprehensive is Grove Music Online, a continuously updated resource that provides online access to more than fifty thousand articles. Currently, a new edition of Sadie 1984 is under preparation. The new edition, edited by Laurence Libin, will appear in print in 2014. Articles from the project are already going online. Sachs 1964, Baines 1992, and Marcuse 1975 offer concise material on instruments in dictionary form, while Diagram Group 1997 is a handbook for the nonspecialist. Additional references to general encyclopedias on music of specific regions with articles referencing musical instruments are included in the section on Regional Studies.

  • Baines, Anthony, ed. The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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    A comprehensive guide to musical instruments from around the world. Alphabetically arranged entries on specific instruments, instrument families, and (non-Western) countries or regions provide historical, descriptive, acoustic, and performance information. Includes illustrations, musical examples, and a list of instrument makers referenced in the guide.

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  • Diagram Group. Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. New York: Sterling, 1997.

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    A guide to musical instruments around the world for the nonspecialist. Classified loosely using the Sachs-Hornbostel system, there are more than four thousand detailed line drawings. In addition, a series of drawings and diagrams illustrate geographic and historical connections among instruments and instrumental ensembles. Includes brief information on a selection of instrument makers and performers.

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  • Grove Music Online.

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    Entries for all aspects of music and musical instruments provide detailed information on specific musical instruments and on musical practices in which musical instruments play a role. Comprising several encyclopedic music sources that were once only available in print, the second edition of the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, originally published in 1984 (see Sadie 1984), is currently being uploaded and will further enhance this significant resource.

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  • Marcuse, Sibyl. Musical Instruments: A Comprehensive Dictionary. New York: Norton, 1975.

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    This dictionary draws from the work of Curt Sachs and many other sources to define, describe, and succinctly summarize histories of musical instruments from around the world. Includes variant spellings for instrument names and cross references. Originally published in 1964.

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  • Sachs, Curt. Real-Lexikon der Musikinstrumente: Zugleich Polyglossar für das Gesamte Instrumentengebiet. 2d ed. New York: Dover, 1964.

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    Originally published in 1913 (Berlin: Julius Bard), this slightly revised and enlarged edition of the German-language dictionary includes an English-language introduction and entries for musical instruments from around the world. Includes descriptive information on instruments and instrument-related topics, with cross-references to instrument names, illustrations of instruments, and notation demonstrating range and tuning.

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  • Sadie, Stanley. The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 3 vols. London: Macmillan, 1984.

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    A comprehensive three-volume resource with entries on more than twelve thousand musical instruments from around the world. Includes description and history and provides information on musical function, instrument construction, and performance practice. The dictionary is currently in revision and new entries are available online at Grove Music Online.

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Collections

This section includes a brief selection of printed and online sources for information on musical instruments in museums and other institutions and private collections. The online sources, including the Virtual Instrument Museum and the Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO) collection, offer access not only to descriptive information and images but audio and video links as well. Printed catalogues for collections include Gansemans 2009 for African instruments in the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Xiao, et al. 2001 for a selection of historical and contemporary instruments of China exhibited in the museum and gallery of the University of Hong Kong, Milnes 2011 for European stringed instruments in the Ashmolean Museum, Montagu 2001 for reed instruments from around the world in the author’s private collection, and Myers 1990–2011 for the multivolume series on the extensive global collection of Edinburgh University.

  • Gansemans, Jos. Collections of the RMCA: Musical Instruments. Tervuren, Belgium: Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2009.

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    With more than two hundred photographs, this publication on the collections at the Royal Museum for Central Africa features harps, drums, slit gong, lamellaphones, bells, whistles, and flutes that have been collected since the late 19th century.

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  • Milnes, John. Musical Instruments in the Ashmolean Museum: The Complete Collection. Berkhamsted, UK: Oxford Musical Instrument Publishing, 2011.

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    A new catalogue of the musical instrument collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with essays on specific instrument types by specialists to accompany the illustrations. Topics include viols, violins, liras, bows, guitars and citterns, and keyboards.

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  • Montagu, Jeremy. Reed Instruments: The Montague Collection: An Annotated Catalog. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2001.

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    The first volume in a planned series to highlight the author’s personal collection of musical instruments from around the world. Organized according to the Sachs-Hornbostel system, the collection includes instrument descriptions and material on historical development as well as information on acquisition of the instruments.

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  • Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO).

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    An open access database of information on musical instruments held in public collections. Includes more than seventy thousand images and hundreds of audio and video clips. The new project is the work of a group of European musical and ethnographic museums. More than fifty thousand records are available for searching through Europeana.

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  • Myers, Arnold, ed. Historic Musical Instruments in the Edinburgh University Collection: Catalogue of the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, 1990–2011.

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    A series of publications on the collection in Edinburgh organized by instrument type. Includes both European and non-European instruments, although the focus is on Western instruments.

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  • Virtual Instrument Museum: Learning Objects Studio.

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    Established in 2003, the Virtual Instrument Museum is a project of the Wesleyan University Music Department and the Learning Objects development team at that institution. Records include in-depth descriptive information photographs and, in some cases, audio and video clips. Approximately 120 instruments are included in the database representing all continents.

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  • Xiao, Mei, Bell Yung, and Anita Wong. The Musical Arts of Ancient China: 27.9.2001–8.1.2002. Hong Kong: University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong, 2001.

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    This exhibition catalogue of Chinese musical instruments documents an exhibit of 123 instruments at the University of Hong Kong. Instruments date from the Neolithic period to the 20th century. The catalogue is organized on the basis of the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system.

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Journals and Series

Just a few journals and series are focused exclusively on musical instruments, including the Galpin Society Journal. Only a few widely circulated journals and series offer geographically and historically diverse musical instrument studies, including the Galpin Society Journal and the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, but journals that focus on instruments or instrument families identified with scholarly and professional organizations are too numerous to list here. This list includes journals and series that contribute regularly to discourses on general musical instrument study.  This section includes a selection of serial publications that address instruments broadly in the context of music history and music studies generally, including Early Music and Studia instrumentorum musicae popularis; in connection with iconography, including Imago Musicae and Musique, Images, Instruments; and in relation to technology and music, including Organised Sound and Computer Music Journal.

Acoustics and Construction

Sources on acoustics and construction of musical instruments generally are aimed at the specialist or nonspecialist. This list offers technical works, such as Fletcher and Rossing 1998 as well as works for professionals, including stringed instrument makers, such as Rossing 2000. Works for the generalist include Rossing 2010 on percussion instruments and Hopkin 1996 on general instrument design. General studies on the acoustics of music that devote considerable space to musical instruments study include Backus 1977 and Benade 1992. An example of a recent work on acoustics and instrument construction by instrument type includes French 2009 for the guitar.

  • Backus, John. The Acoustical Foundations of Music. 2d ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

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    An updated and corrected version of a standard resource for musical acoustics study, originally published in 1969. Organologists will find this source especially valuable for its chapters on the acoustical properties and behaviors of musical instruments. The material is divided into chapters on strings, woodwinds, brass, piano, percussion, and the electronic production of sound.

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  • Benade, Arthur H. Horns, Strings, and Harmony. New York: Dover, 1992.

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    Originally published by Anchor Books in 1960, this introduction to both the physics and the aesthetics of musical sound includes information on acoustics and reception of European instruments. Also included are instructions for constructing a selection of instruments.

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  • Fletcher, Neville H., and Thomas D. Rossing. The Physics of Musical Instruments. 2d ed. New York: Springer, 1998.

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    This is a technical study on musical instruments and the physics of musical instruments. After an introduction to vibrating systems, chapters are organized around instrument families in Western music, including strings, winds, and percussion. Includes separate name and subject indexes.

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  • French, Mark. Engineering the Guitar: Theory and Practice. New York: Springer, 2009.

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    This is a comprehensive resource on designing and manufacturing guitars. Chapters provide historical, structural, and acoustical information, with discussion of dynamic behavior of the guitar’s components, manufacturing processes, and analytical models. Information is detailed but also accessible. Includes many illustrations, including photographs, diagrams, and drawings.

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  • Hopkin, Bart. Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Making. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp, 1996.

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    This handbook for musical instrument-making provides tools for understanding instrument construction and design as well as acoustical principles. Includes both traditional and innovative instruments. Appendixes offer information on tools and materials, frequency and tuning charts, amplification, woodwind air columns, tone holes, and keying mechanisms.

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  • Rossing, Thomas D., ed. Science of Percussion Instruments. Singapore: World Scientific, 2000.

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    For a general readership, this resource is organized around the major families of instruments with information on acoustics and instrument construction as well as limited historical data. Coverage includes Western and non-Western instruments. More detailed acoustical information is presented in “interludes.” Includes diagrams, graphs, drawings, and photographs. Includes separate name and subject indexes.

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  • Rossing, Thomas D., ed. The Science of String Instruments. New York: Springer, 2010.

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    A collection of articles on the design and construction of plucked, bowed, and hammered string instruments. Chapters include instrument families, specific instrument types, and selected regional discussions. Designed for use by instrument makers, musicians, students, and researchers.

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Collection and Care

The collection and care of musical instruments is a concern not only for museum professionals, but also for individual collectors and for fieldworkers in ethnomusicology and related disciplines. The two works listed in this section provide examples of significant works on these topics. Barclay 1997 offers articles on caring for historical instruments and Dournon 2000 includes material on collecting and organizing them.

  • Barclay, Robert, ed. The Care of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Museums and Galleries Commission, 1997.

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    A manual for instrument care in museums and personal collections resulting from a 1994 workshop at the Horniman Museum on caring for historic instruments. Specialist authors address ethics and use of instruments, instruments and the environment, instrument materials and structure, conservation treatment, and documentation of processes and procedures.

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  • Dournon, Geneviève. Handbook for the Collection of Traditional Music and Musical Instruments. 2d ed. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2000.

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    A basic guide on musical instrument collecting that provides essential organological information for recognizing, identifying, and classifying musical instruments. Also discussed are ethical considerations, planned methodology, and established protocols. Also available in a French edition: Guide pour la collecte des musiques et instruments traditionnels (Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1996).

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Classification and Classification Systems

Interest in the classification of musical instruments has been evident for thousands of years. The process has been addressed in different ways by peoples in various locations around the world. A system to divide instruments by the eight primary materials of which they are made in China is considered the oldest documented practice. Other systems are found in India, Indonesia, the Arab world, Europe, and other places. Two different European systems are often used and both have been widely adopted around the world. A system derived from Greek practice that divides instruments into winds, strings, and percussion is especially common. In the scholarly realm, Hornbostel and Sachs 1961, based on the work of Victor Charles Mahillon, who developed a system for organizing musical instruments by vibrating material, is the most frequently cited source. Discussions about classification are ongoing in European and American musical literature; many address refinement and development of the Sach-Hornbostel system, as in Musical Instrument Museums Online 2011. Other sources, such as DeVale and Fraenkel 1990 and the monograph Kartomi 1990, include discussions among ethnomusicologists on systematic organization of musical instruments.

  • DeVale, Sue Carole, and Eran Fraenkel. Issues in Organology. Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 8. Los Angeles: University of California, 1990.

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    A collection of articles summarizing work on classification in the field of organology and providing frameworks for future work. Topics include classification of electronic instruments, archaeology and iconography in musical instrument study, discussion of the Sachs-Hornbostel system, and taxonomies in European, North American, Latin American, and Asian traditions.

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  • Hornbostel, Erich M., and Curt Sachs. “Classification of Musical Instruments: Translated from the Original German by Anthony Baines and Klaus P. Wachsmann.” Galpin Society Journal 14 (1961): 3–29.

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    Generations of organologists have relied on this musical instrument taxonomy organized by the vibrating material used to produce sound. The broad categories identified include chordophone, aerophone, membranophone, and idiophone. The basic organizational principles and language to describe instruments continues to be used by European and American musicologists and ethnomusicologists.

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  • Kartomi, Margaret J. On Concepts and Classifications of Musical Instruments. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

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    The author presents case studies of classification systems in Europe, Asia, and Africa, both literary and orally transmitted, and provides a comparison of some of the systems and the concepts behind them. Includes bibliography and index.

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  • Musical Instrument Museums Online. “Revision of the Hornbostel-Sachs Classification of Musical Instruments by the MIMO Consortium.”  European Union, 2011.

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    A project of the European museum consortium to update the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system. The primary goal is to include the electrophone category in the scheme. In addition, new categories have been introduced by Jeremy Montagu and these are integrated into the document.

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Iconography and Music Archaeology

Music iconography and music archaeology together offer research opportunities for music historians exploring musical instrument practices in earlier centuries. While iconographic work in music focuses on interpretation of musical objects and visual representations of musical events as well as depictions of musical instruments from early and later periods, music archaeologists are particularly concerned with iconographic evidence in excavated artifacts, often hundreds and even thousands of years old.

Music Iconography

Historical work utilizing artistic sources reveals information on early instrument use, social practices in music, aesthetic values, and practical instrument design and construction. Iconographic work has been valuable in both Western and non-Western research on music and musical instruments. Among the key sources, Winternitz 1979 (originally published in 1967) focuses primarily on western European instruments and their symbolism in art. Brown and Lascelle 1972 offers a handbook for cataloging iconographic evidence in music. Heck and Erenstein 1999 addresses iconography in the performing arts generally and provides an overview of literature for music and musical instruments. Besseler, et al. 1961–1989 provides a richly illustrated multivolume source with iconographic evidence on musical instruments around the world. Wade 1998 provides information on instruments in India and Central and West Asia in general.

  • Besseler, Heinrich, Max Schneider, and Werner Bachmann, eds. Musikgeschichte in Bildern. 4 vols. Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1961–1989.

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    This multivolume series, first under the editorship of Besseler and Schneider and later under Bachmann, offers iconographic information on music and musical instruments in a variety of cultures, including Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, Etruria and Rome, India, Central Africa, and other locations in the Western and non-Western world. Copiously illustrated.

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  • Brown, Howard M., and Joan Lascelle. Musical Iconography: A Manual for Cataloguing Musical Subjects in Western Art before 1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

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    Handbook for cataloging art collections related to music that addresses musical instrument depictions throughout.

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  • Heck, Thomas F., and R. L. Erenstein. Picturing Performance: The Iconography of the Performing Arts in Concept and Practice. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1999.

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    A series of essays on iconography in the performing arts, with general information on the use of pictorial documents to study and interpret performance. A section on musical iconography includes an in-depth literature review and information on pictorial depictions and interpretations of the history and development of musical instruments.

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  • Wade, Bonnie C. Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

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    Deals with the paintings in illustrated manuscripts and miniatures created during Mughal rule in India from 1526 to 1858. The author uses images to explore musical history during the period, including the development and use of musical instruments. Richly illustrated.

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  • Winternitz, Emanuel. Musical Instruments and Their Symbolism in Western Art: Studies in Musical Iconology. 2d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979.

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    A work that explores the visual arts as a source for musical histories. Chapters are organized by types of instruments, which are discussed in the context of their representation in sculpture, paintings, stained glass, and other artistic forms. The focus is on western European traditions, especially Italy. Originally published in 1967.

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Music Archaeology

The cross-disciplinary field of music archaeology draws from musicology, archaeology, organology, acoustics, ethnomusicology, and other disciplines to interpret the historical, social, and musical meanings in excavated artifacts, including musical instruments and other sound-producing devices as well as musical scenes in artwork and in early texts. Burgh 2006 and So 2000 both demonstrate the effectiveness of this research in providing greater understanding of music, musical instruments, and performance practices. Buckley 1998 provides a broad view of the field in a volume that contains conference papers on research from locations around the world. Braun 2002 and Burgh 2006 explore ancient Israel and Palestine and Dumbrill 2005 deals with instruments from Mesopotamia. Maas and Snyder 1989 focuses on instruments and performance in ancient Greece. Falkenhausen 1993, Furniss 2008, and So 2000 all consider instruments and depictions excavated in China.

  • Braun, Joachim. Music in Ancient Israel/Palestine: Archaeological, Written, and Comparative Sources. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

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    On music from the twelfth millennium BCE to the 4th century CE. Using archaeological evidence in musical instruments and artistic depictions of music and musicians, along with evidence drawn from biblical texts and other written sources, the author explores the music of the Holy Land region of the Middle East.

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  • Buckley, Ann, ed. Hearing the Past: Essays in Historical Ethnomusicology and the Archaeology of Sound. Essays prepared for a colloquium at Darwin College, Cambridge, December 1991. Liège, Belgium: Université de Liège, 1998.

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    Includes discussions of specific musical instruments in historical perspective in Europe and in South, Southeast, East, and West Asia especially.

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  • Burgh, Theodore W. Listening to Artifacts: Music Culture in Ancient Israel/Palestine. London: T & T Clark, 2006.

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    Examines music and musical instruments in ancient Israel and Palestine, especially the period from 1200 BCE to 586 BCE. The author uses artifacts, including musical instrument remains, ceramic vessels, and other iconographic evidence, along with sources from surrounding geographic regions to explore music in the lives of the people during the period.

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  • Dumbrill, Richard J. The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East. Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2005.

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    Originally published in 1998 as The Musicology and Organology of the Ancient Near East (London: R. J. Dumbrill), this volume uses textual and iconographic sources from 3500 BCE to 500 BCE, including cuneiform texts and Mesopotamian iconography, to explore the early musical history of the region. Line drawings of instruments by Yumiko Higano.

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  • Falkenhausen, Lothar von. Suspended Music Chime-Bells in the Culture of Bronze Age China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

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    Bronze chime bells of Bronze Age preimperial China during the Shang and Zhou dynasties (c. 1700 BCE–221 BCE), including ritual, political, and technical aspects of the music

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  • Furniss, Ingrid Maren. Music in Ancient China: An Archaeological and Art Historical Study of Strings, Winds, and Drums during the Eastern Zhou and Han Periods, 770 BCE–220 CE. Youngstown, NY: Cambria, 2008.

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    Examines string, wind, and percussion instruments of the Zhou and Han periods, including their use in ensembles and their ritual and social functions. Many illustrations.

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  • Maas, Martha, and Jane McIntosh Snyder. Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.

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    The authors evaluate iconographic and literary sources from 2700 BCE to 322 BCE, including two hundred images of vases and other objects and seven hundred texts, to explore primarily lyres and harps of ancient Greece. The book is organized by period and instrument type and provides detailed information on instrument construction and performance practice.

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  • So, Jenny F., ed. Music in the Age of Confucius. Washington, DC: Freer Galley of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2000.

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    Exhibition catalogue based on an ensemble of musical instruments from the mid-5th century BCE excavated in 1977 from a tomb in Hubei Province. Authors explore the characteristics of music of the period indicated by the instruments, inscriptions, and tuning, and they speculate on aspects of performance practice in Bronze Age China.

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Musical Instrument Studies

General studies on musical instruments and their families focus largely on European instruments, including woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion, as well as electronic instruments. This list includes selected sources addressing the history and construction of instruments by family. Included for brass are Baines 1993 and Herbert and Wallace 1997; for woodwinds, Baines 1991; for bowed strings, Bachmann 1969; for keyboards, Ripin 1989; and for percussion, Blades 1992 and Beck 2007. Detailed listings of resources, including specific instruments, are available in the Oxford Bibliographies articles on Brass Instruments, Keyboard Instruments, Woodwind Instruments, and String Instruments. Guides to non-Western instruments by type are uncommon, although see the sections Reference Works and Regional Studies for additional information on instruments and their families.

  • Bachmann, Werner. The Origins of Bowing and the Development of Bowed Instruments up to the Thirteenth Century. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.

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    A study of bowed instruments based on iconographic and literary evidence. The author traces histories using early examples from Central and West Asia in the first half of the book, then on early European development of bowed instruments in the second half. Originally published as Die Anfänge des Streichinstrumentenspiels (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtec VEB, 1966), translated by Norma Deane.

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  • Baines, Anthony. Woodwind Instruments and Their History. New York: Dover, 1991.

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    A reprint of the third edition of this publication (London: Faber and Faber, 1967). This classic work, dealing with primarily European wind instruments, provides historical and descriptive information on design and construction of instruments. Includes illustrations.

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  • Baines, Anthony. Brass Instruments: Their History and Development. New York: Dover, 1993.

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    Originally published in 1976 (London: Faber and Faber) and updated by the author in 1993, this study provides historical information on early brass winds as well as European trumpets, trombones, bugles, cornets, French horns, and tubas. Includes illustrations and musical examples.

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  • Beck, John, ed. Encyclopedia of Percussion. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    A compendium of information on percussion instruments that includes a glossary of instruments and terms, illustrations of selected percussion instruments, and articles covering history and performance practice of Western instruments. Includes essays on selected instruments outside the European and North American spheres and appendixes on symbols and terms as well as bibliographic information on methods.

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  • Blades, James. Percussion Instruments and Their History. Rev. ed. Westport, CT: Bold Strummer, 1992.

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    This broad overview of instruments in the percussion family was first published in 1970. The author organizes the volume largely by region and instrument type. After exploring the origins of percussion instruments of Asia and the Middle East, he addresses European instruments historically. Appendixes range from the Latin American orchestra to inventions and patents. Includes a glossary.

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  • Herbert, Trevor, and John Wallace. The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL9780521563437Save Citation »Export Citation »

    Collection of essays on brass instruments, providing an overview of brass instrument history, instrument structure and development in different time periods, and information on ensembles and performance practice. Coverage is primarily of European instruments from the medieval to the contemporary era, but selections from jazz, vernacular, and non-Western music are also included. Includes an extensive glossary.

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  • Ripin, Edwin M. Early Keyboard Instruments. London: Macmillan, 1989.

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    Detailed histories of early keyboard instruments with information on their history, construction, and repertory. Focus is on the clavichord, harpsichord, virginal, and spinet.

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Electronic Instruments

Electronic instruments have been well integrated into studies of music and musical instruments, and in-depth information on electronic instruments can be found in sources such as Montagu 2007, cited under General Overviews, and Campbell, et al. 2004, cited under General Overviews. Sources with a focus on instruments identified with electronic music include historical and descriptive information in Holmes 2008 and Manning 2004 as well as the more technical Miranda and Wanderley 2006.

  • Holmes, Thom. Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture. 3d ed. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    Offers a history of electronic music, including technology and inventions, concepts, composers, and techniques. This edition includes pedagogical materials for reviewing history and concepts.

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  • Manning, Peter. Electronic and Computer Music. 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195144840.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »

    A chronological history of the genre of electroacoustic music, with information on technological developments and applications in each period from the 1940s until the 21st century.

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  • Miranda, Eduardo R., and Marcelo M. Wanderley. New Digital Musical Instruments: Control and Interaction beyond the Keyboard. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2006.

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    On digital instruments using the computer as the device for sound generation. The authors discuss gestural acquisition and sensor technologies as well as biosignal interfaces and the use of artificial intelligence. An accompanying CD-ROM contains brief video clips that demonstrate examples of functioning sensors.

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Regional Studies

In addition to general overviews on musical instruments listed in the first section, typically with a broad geographic focus, musical instruments are frequently introduced by region. These studies are often historical for European studies, and they may be social or simply geographic for non-European studies. European instruments in collections frequently exhibit workmanship highly valued not only for its acoustic quality, but also for its aesthetic beauty. These resources, then, are often copiously illustrated. A great deal of the in-depth literature on musical instruments outside of Europe has been produced by researchers from the ethnomusicological community and these studies focus on music and musical instruments in social and cultural contexts.

Europe

The wealth of information on European musical instruments highlights historical periods attached to European classical music studies. In addition, some regional and country specific studies exist with detailed information on musical instruments in a variety of traditions, including classical, folk, or regional practices. Articles in Rice, et al. 2000 include information on museum collection and instruments in Europe generally, and specific references to instruments are found throughout the volume. Ling 1997 is a survey of European folk music and includes several chapters on aspects of musical instrument production and use. Emsheimer and Stockman 1967–1981 provided access to instrument information for a select group of European countries between 1967 and 1981. Anoyanakis 1991 is an in-depth study of the instruments of Greece.

  • Anoyanakis, Fivos. Greek Popular Musical Instruments. 2d ed. Athens, Greece: Melissa, 1991.

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    A comprehensive study of musical instrument of Greece addressing instrument distribution, construction, and performance practice as well as music in social life. Includes more than two hundred color plates. This is the second edition of a volume originally published in 1979.

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  • Emsheimer, Ernst, and Erich Stockmann. Handbuch der Europäischen Volksmusikinstrumente. 5 vols. Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1967–1981.

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    This series of handbooks on musical instruments includes volumes on Hungary (by Bálint Sárosi), Czechoslovakia (by Ludvik Kunz and Oskár Elschek), Slovakia (by Oskár Elschek), Switzerland (by Birigitte Bachmann-Geiser), and Slovenia (by Zmaka Kumer)

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  • Ling, Jan. A History of European Folk Music. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1997.

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    In this general introduction to folk music of different parts of Europe, the author devotes several chapters to musical instrument study, considering early history, social function, and performance practice of selected instruments. Translated from Swedish by Linda Schenk and Robert Schenk.

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  • Rice, Timothy, James Porter, and Chris Goertzen, eds. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 8, Europe. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    These individually authored essays on topics defining the diverse musical practices of Europe include articles on musical instrument collections in European museums and on European instrument types by region. In addition, many articles on the music cultures of Europe include information on musical instruments in use.

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Period Studies

Historical studies of European music include literature for both specialists and generalists. Period studies, especially for medieval and Renaissance music, have been popular since the 1960s. Works that offer essays on individual instruments and instrument types as well as performance practice and repertoire include McGee 2009 and Page 1997 on medieval music. Surveys of instruments and performance, with many illustrations, are found in Montagu 1979 on baroque and classical instruments, in Montagu 1976 on medieval and Renaissance period instruments, and in Montagu 1981 on romantic and modern period instruments. Munrow 1976 offers information on medieval and Renaissance instruments and a recording is included in Munrow 2007.

  • McGee, Timothy J., ed. Instruments and Their Music in the Middle Ages. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    A collection of essays on medieval musical instruments that addresses classification issues, performance practice, playing techniques, and repertoires. The book is divided into sections on classification and instrument lists, keyboard, plucked and bowed strings, winds, and instrumental repertory.

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  • Montagu, Jeremy. The World of Medieval & Renaissance Musical Instruments. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 1976.

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    Introductory text on medieval and Renaissance instruments organized by instrument type. Includes information on functions, ranges, and techniques with more than two hundred illustrations as well as tables and musical notation for ranges and tuning.

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  • Montagu, Jeremy. The World of Baroque & Classical Musical Instruments. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 1979.

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    Surveys musical styles and describes the construction and use of keyboard, percussion, brass, string, and wind instruments between 1600 and 1800, during the early baroque, high baroque, and classical eras.

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  • Montagu, Jeremy. The World of Romantic & Modern Musical Instruments. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 1981.

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    The third book in a series surveying musical instrument history, in this case covering the 19th and 20th centuries. Organized by instrument type with separate chapters on bands and on electronic instruments, the text is descriptive and is supplemented with illustrations of instruments in European and American collections.

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  • Munrow, David. Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. London: Oxford University Press, 1976.

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    A survey of instruments organized by period. Each section offers information on techniques and repertoires of the principal instruments. Percussion instruments for both periods are covered in a single chapter. Includes detailed references and an index with more than five hundred names for instruments.

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  • Munrow, David. Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. CD. EMI/Virgin Classics, 2007.

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    David Munrow with the Early Music Consort of London provides examples of instruments discussed in Munrow 1976. Recorded in 1973 and 1974, the disc was originally released on LP in 1976.

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  • Page, Christopher. Music and Instruments of the Middle Ages: Studies on Texts and Performance. Aldershot, UK: Variorum, 1997.

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    A compendium of articles by Page on medieval musical instruments published between 1973 and 1993 in journals such as the Galpin Society Journal and Early Music (cited under Journals and Series). Topics include iconography, performance practice, and instrument making as well as historical studies of individual instruments revealed largely through the study of medieval manuscripts.

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North America

Information on North American musical instruments is available in literature on its diverse population and performance practices. Northeastern First Nations communities and their instruments are documented in Diamond, et al. 1994. Evidence of music in the multicultural American landscape is provided in the Koskoff 2001 volume in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and an example of histories of music in vernacular traditions can be found in Libin 1985.

  • Diamond, Beverley, Franziska von Rosen, and M. Sam Cronk. Visions of Sound: Musical Instruments of First Nations Communities in Northeastern America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

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    Examines musical instruments of Native American peoples in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. The focus is on their use in cultural, spiritual, and other life events in specific communities among the Iroquois, Wabanati, Innuat, and Anishnabek peoples.

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  • Koskoff, Ellen, ed. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 3, The United States and Canada. New York: Garland, 2001.

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    While no article is devoted specifically to musical instruments in this encyclopedic work, many articles include information on musical instruments and performance, and numerous references to instruments are found throughout the volume. The comprehensive index to the volume organizes instruments by type.

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  • Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985.

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    Documents the musical, social, technological, and economic background of musical instruments in American life largely in the 19th century. The text focuses on instrument-making and American innovations, use of instruments imported from Europe, development of music industries in the late 19th century, and the adaptation of instruments for local use in ensembles.

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Latin America and the Caribbean

There are surprisingly few general studies on musical instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean. For a brief introduction to musical instruments in the region, see Olsen 1998. Most recently, ethnomusicologists have focused on musical instruments of indigenous peoples in several regions, most notably the Amazon in Hill and Chaumeil 2011 and the Andes in Olsen 2002.

  • Hill, Jonathan D., and Jean-Pierre Chaumeil, eds. Burst of Breath: Indigenous Ritual Wind Instruments in Lowland South America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011.

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    A collection of essays providing in-depth information on the ritual function and social significance of indigenous Amazonian musics and musical instruments.

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  • Olsen, Dale A. “The Distribution, Symbolism, and Use of Musical Instruments.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 2, South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Edited by Dale A. Olsen and Daniel E. Sheehy, 28–42. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    Addressing the diversity of instruments in South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the author discusses classification, distribution, symbolic interpretations, and the influence of electronic production and reception using examples from selected traditions. This article is reprinted in Dale A. Olsen and Daniel E. Sheehy, eds., The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music (New York: Routledge, 2008).

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  • Olsen, Dale A. Music of El Dorado: The Ethnomusicology of Ancient South American Cultures. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002.

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    Explores the musical instruments (especially flutes) in the northern and central Andes of Colombia and Peru, providing interpretive information on musical practices based on archaeological and other historical data. Includes a glossary, maps, music, and photographs.

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Africa

Resources for information on musical instruments used in different parts of Africa have developed most especially from exhibitions of instruments. In some cases, the exhibitions have influenced compilations of in-depth essays to accompany photographs of instruments on display as evidenced in several entries in this section, such as Brincard 1989, a catalogue that highlights musical instruments and art, DjeDje and Brown 1999, which addresses music and social function, and Dagan 1993, which offers essays examining drums in sub-Saharan Africa. For information on instruments in Africa by geographic region, see also Stone, et al. 1998.

  • Brincard, Marie-Thérèse, ed. Sounding Forms: African Musical Instruments. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1989.

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    Catalogue for an exhibition on musical instruments as art objects with more than 200 photographs and ten essays by music and art historians. Essays focus on instrument decoration, in general, applied to specific regions or instruments. Authors include Marie-Thérèse Brincard, J. H. Kwabena Nketia, Sue Carole DeVale, Robert Farris Thompson, and others.

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  • Dagan, Esther A., ed. Drums: The Heartbeat of Africa. Montreal: Galerie Amrad African Art, 1993.

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    Scholarly articles examine drums in selected regional practices in sub-Saharan Africa. The volume is copiously illustrated with photographs and drawings and the focus is on types and functions of drums, makers and construction, drum and drummers, drums in Western museum collections, and the role of the drum in contemporary social life.

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  • DjeDje, Jacqueline Cogdell, and Ernest Brown, ed. Turn Up the Volume!: A Celebration of African Music. Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1999.

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    Essays and a catalogue to accompany three California exhibits on African music during the 1990s. The essays by eighteen scholars address musical instruments in African and African diasporic life, and they include contributions on specific musical instruments and types, musical regions, and social functions of music and instruments.

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  • Stone, Ruth M., Timothy Rice, and James Porter. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 1, Africa. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    While this encyclopedic work contains no article devoted to musical instruments, many articles devoted to a specific region or country include a section on musical instruments, and there are numerous references to instruments throughout the volume. The comprehensive index to the volume organizes instruments by type.

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Asia

Asia and its diverse regions offer evidence of relationships across wide expanses of land that have been traveled by traders over many generations. The vast continent is typically subdivided geographically and thus few studies tackle musical instruments for the entire continent. Jenkins and Rovsing Olsen 1976 and Rovsing Olsen and Jenkins 1994, as well as Clark 2005, offer thematic catalogues to temporary exhibits that focus largely on Asian subjects. Jenkins and Rovsing Olsen 1976 provides photographs and object information for instruments connected to the world of Islam, while Clark 2005 is a catalogue for a Silk Road exhibition.

  • Clark, Mitchell. Sounds of the Silk Road: Musical Instruments of Asia. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2005.

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    Catalogue for a 2005 exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, that introduces instruments from East, Southeast, South, Central, and West Asia with brief historical and descriptive information and dozens of photographs of instrument from the MFA collection as well as reproductions of historical photos, paintings, and carvings.

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  • Jenkins, Jean L., and Poul Rovsing Olsen. Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam. London: World of Islam Festival, 1976.

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    Exhibition catalogue for the World of Islam Festival, London, that covers geographic regions of Islamic influence from Europe to the Arab world to Southeast Asia. Organized by type, includes photographs of instruments and instruments in performance.

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  • Rovsing Olsen, Poul, and Jean L. Jenkins. Music in the World of Islam. CD. London: Topic, 1994.

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    This set of three compact discs includes Strings, Flutes & Trumpets; Reeds & Bagpipes, Drums & Rhythms; and Human Voice & Lutes. Each offers performances on musical instruments recorded in the field between 1960 and 1975. The collection complements the exhibition catalogue of Jenkins and Rovsing Olsen 1976.

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East Asia

Musical instruments are documented in detail in Malm 2000 for Japan, widely respected since its original publication in 1959, and in Lee and Shen 1999 for China. Brief introductions to musical instruments by country are offered in de Ferranti 2000 for Japan, Howard 1995 for Korea, and Thrasher 2000 for China, all written by authors who have also penned significant in-depth studies on music and performance in East Asia. Articles in Provine, et al. 2002 include aspects of musical instrument study in Japan, Korea, and China.

  • de Ferranti, Hugh. Japanese Musical Instruments. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A brief survey of instruments in historical and contemporary use in Japan. Includes information on sound production and social function of selected instruments. Part of the Images of Asia series.

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  • Howard, Keith. Korean Musical Instruments. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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    This book provides a brief look at music and musical instruments of Korea. Includes historical information on musical traditions and an overview of strings, winds, and percussion instruments in history and in current use. Part of the Images of Asia series.

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  • Lee, Yuan-Yuan, and Sin-yan Shen. Chinese Musical Instruments. Chicago: Chinese Music Society of North America, 1999.

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    An introduction to Chinese instruments, their acoustics, and history, with detailed information on acoustics, performance roles and practice, and repertoire of selected instruments organized by families, including bells and bell chimes, reeded winds, plucked and struck zithers, lutes, and fiddles.

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  • Malm, William P. Traditional Japanese Music and Musical Instruments. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2000.

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    An examination of religious, court, and theater traditions in Japan with chapters on specific instruments, including biwa, shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen. Also introduces folk and popular music and the music of ethnic groups in Japan. Revised edition of William P. Malm, Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (Tokyo: C. E. Tuttle, 1959). Illustrations, figures, musical examples, and CD included.

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  • Provine, Robert C., Yosihiko Tokumaru, and J. Lawrence Witzleben, eds. 2000. Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 7, East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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    In addition to references to musical instruments in essays throughout the volume, the resource includes four articles on musical instruments by Zheng providing a brief overview of East Asian instruments, by Killick on Korean instruments, and by Kiyoshi on archaeology of Japanese instruments. Separate essays on specific Chinese instruments are included.

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  • Thrasher, Alan R. Chinese Musical Instruments. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A short guide to the history and development of Han musical instruments in China. Provides information on instrument construction, regional styles, and ensembles. Part of the Images of Asia series.

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South Asia

South Asian literature on music is dominated by practices identified with India. While a rich collection of literature exists on the music and musical instruments of India in the 19th and 20th centuries, in fact, Pakistan and Bangladesh share lengthy histories with India as members of that country until 1947 and 1971, respectively. The publications in this section offer information on South Asian diversity and on musical practices shared across national boundaries. Reis 2000 offers information on early South Asian classification systems, Deva 1978 remains a significant in-depth study on the history of instruments of India, while Reck 2000 and Miner 2000 offer regional introductions to instruments primarily of Hindustani and Karnatak India, respectively. Kadel 2007 provides a catalogue of more than 350 instruments of Nepal, and Pande 1999 introduces instruments of the Punjab in images and descriptive information as well as providing an audio disc.

  • Deva, Bigamudre C. Musical Instruments of India: Their History and Development. Kolkata: Firma KLM, 1978.

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    A comprehensive look at musical instruments in India drawn from both classical and nonclassical traditions. The author focuses on historical transmission of traditions and musical practice and includes a classification system devised from Indian and European sources.

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  • Kadel, Ram Prasad. Musical Instruments of Nepal. Kathmandu: Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum, 2007.

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    Catalog for a collection of instruments at the Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum, Kathmandu, with more than 350 instruments organized by type. Includes identification of ethnic group, playing style, and social use. Two appendixes with a glossary and links to plants and animals used in instrument production. CD with video clips.

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  • Miner, Allyn. “Musical Instruments: Northern Area.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 5, South Asia, the Indian Subcontinent. Edited by Alison Arnold, 331–349. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    Provides a brief overview of musical instruments in the Hindustani classical tradition, folk music, and in the film music and popular music industries. Selected instruments are featured for Hindustani music while instruments are introduced generally for folk, film, and popular music.

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  • Pande, Alka. Folk Music & Musical Instruments of Punjab: From Mustard Fields to Disco Lights. Ahmedabad, India: Mapin, 1999.

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    A popular survey of music and of more than seventy musical instruments of the Punjab, with a discussion of music in contemporary life. Includes photographs, maps, glossary, and an accompanying CD.

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  • Reck, David. “Musical Instruments: Southern Area.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 5, South Asia, the Indian Subcontinent. Edited by Alison Arnold, 350–369. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    Addresses musical instruments for Karnatak music, in temple and dance contexts, folk practice, and in the popular and film music industries. Individual paragraphs on Karnatak concert instruments and on music for temple and dance accompaniment include descriptive and historical information. Folk, popular, and film music instruments are briefly described.

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  • Reis, Flora. “Classification of Musical Instruments.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 5, South Asia, the Indian Subcontinent. Edited by Alison Arnold, 319–330. New York: Garland, 2000.

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    The text deals with the early classification systems in India focusing on instruments of the Indus Valley culture, early lithophones in eastern India, and classification in the Natyasastra and in Tamil literature and Buddhist texts.

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Southeast Asia

The selections in this section represent the variety of resources available on musical instruments in Southeast Asian countries. Among the resources, Maceda 1998 on instruments of the Philippines and Lee 2006 on Malaysian instruments are the most comprehensive. Other sources, including Kartomi 1985 for Indonesia, Sam 2002 for Cambodia, and Taylor 1989 for Southeast Asia generally, are more general, providing less in-depth information, yet they are valuable resources. Miller and Williams 1998, while it does not deal with musical instruments specifically, provides many sections on instruments of Southeast Asia.

  • Kartomi, Margaret J. Musical Instruments of Indonesia: An Introductory Handbook. Melbourne: Indonesian Arts Society, 1985.

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    A catalogue for an exhibition that featured gamelan Digul (a gamelan made by a prisoner in the Dutch East Indies Digul prison camp) provides an opportunity for the author to also introduce the musical instruments of Indonesia. Highlighted are instruments from different provinces that are used for different types of performances.

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  • Lee, Elaine. Ethnic Musical Instruments of Malaysia. Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia: Win, 2006.

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    An introduction to instruments of three predominant Malaysian cultures: Malay, Chinese, and Indian, plus additional information on instruments of the indigenous Orang Asli and in the states of Sarawak and Sabah. The author provides historical, descriptive, and contextual information for each instrument. A glossary is included.

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  • Maceda, José. Gongs & Bamboo: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1998.

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    On indigenous Philippine instruments used in religious and secular contexts from northern Luzon to regions in the southern Philippines. Nearly five hundred photographs show details of instruments and instrument-making as well as performance practice.

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  • Miller, Terry E., and Sean Williams, eds. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 4, Southeast Asia. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    While no article is devoted specifically to musical instruments in this encyclopedic work, many articles devoted to a specific region or country include a section on musical instruments, and there are numerous references to instruments throughout the volume. The comprehensive index to the volume organizes instruments by type.

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  • Sam, Sam-Ang. Musical Instruments of Cambodia. Senri Ethnological Reports, 29. Osaka, Japan: National Museum of Ethnology, 2002.

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    Ethnographic report on Cambodian musical instruments with chapters on instruments by broad classification. Includes information on musical traditions and musical ensembles and a discussion of organology.

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  • Taylor, Eric. Musical Instruments of South-East Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

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    A small volume that focuses on the instruments of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Includes information on musical function and on history, beliefs, and social customs. Part of the Images of Asia series.

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West Asia

Music in West Asia draws from traditions identified with the Arab world as well as Persian music in Iran and Turkish practices. An area with a rich history, some of the most well-known Asian and European instruments have been traced to these regions. One of the key scholars on music and musical instruments in Asia was Laurence Picken, and Picken 1975 provides an in-depth study on musical practices in Turkey as well as evidence of intersections among musical traditions across the Eurasian world. Hassan 2001 is an  in-depth work of Iraqi music and other musics of the Arab world.

  • Hassan, Sheherazade Qassim. “Musical Instruments in the Arab World.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 6, The Middle East. Edited by Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus, and Dwight Reynolds, 401–423. New York: Garland, 2001.

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    A brief article on terminology and classification, the role of musical instruments in the Arab world, selected traditional instruments in contemporary practice, and the use of Western instruments in performance. In addition, many articles in the volume include sections on musical instruments.

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  • Picken, Laurence E. R. Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.

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    On musical instruments and sound objects used in a variety of contexts outside of classical musical contexts. The resource is organized according to the Sachs-Hornbostel classification system and presents systematic information on instruments. In a postscript, the author discusses classification and the diffusion of instruments and musical ideas across Eurasia.

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Australia and the Pacific Islands

Musical instruments and sound-producing objects in Australia and the Pacific Islands are well documented in scholarly studies, collection catalogues, and general studies. They include Atherton 1990 for instruments of Australia, McLean 1994 for Papua New Guinea, Moyle 1990 for Polynesia, and Moyle 1989, Atherton 2010, and Fischer 1986 for all of Oceania.

  • Atherton, Michael. Australian Made, Australian Played: Handcrafted Musical Instruments from Didjeridu to Synthesiser. Kensington, Australia: New South Wales University Press, 1990.

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    Examines instrument-making in Australia historically and in contemporary practice. Contains a wide range of instrument types and is copiously illustrated. Includes a glossary.

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  • Atherton, Michael. Musical Instruments and Sound-Producing Objects of Oceania: The Collections of the Australian Museum. New York: Peter Lang, 2010.

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    A catalogue of musical instruments and sound-producing objects from different regions of Oceania. Includes information on classification, provenance, and cultural significance of objects in the museum collection. Divided into subregions, the catalogue provides names, measurements, materials, and illustrations of many objects.

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  • Fischer, Hans. Sound-Producing Instruments in Oceania: Construction and Playing Technique—Distribution and Function. Rev. ed. Boroko, Papua New Guinea: Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, 1986.

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    This significant resource for research on Oceania was translated from the German original by Philip W. Holzknecht and edited by Don Niles. First published in 1958, the English editions provided opportunities for corrections and adjustments to instrument names and other information. Includes 487 reproductions of line drawings from various sources.

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  • Love, Jacob Wainwright, Neville H. Fletcher, and Don Niles, et al. “Musical Instruments.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 9, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Edited by Adrienne Kaeppler and Jacob Wainwright Love, 371–403. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    Scholars representing countries and regions throughout Australia and the Pacific Islands offer brief material on musical instruments, generally organized by instrument type and location. The volume offers additional references to the historical and contemporary use of musical instruments in regional and thematic essays.

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  • McLean, Mervyn. Diffusion of Musical Instruments and Their Relation to Language Migrations in New Guinea. Kulele: Occasional Papers on Pacific Music and Dance 1. Boroko, Papua New Guinea: National Research Institute, 1994.

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    Treats the occurrence of musical instruments throughout the island of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea as well as the Indonesian territories) with information on distribution and social use of instruments by type. The author discusses musical transmission and provides evidence for the movement of instruments in relation to human migration.

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  • Moyle, Richard M. The Sounds of Oceania: An Illustrated Catalogue of the Sound-Producing Instruments of Oceania in the Auckland Institute and Museum. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Institute and Museum, 1989.

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    This museum catalogue is organized by geographic area, subdivided into western Polynesia, eastern Polynesia, and Melanesia. Includes instrument descriptions and photographs for selected instruments and information on provenance where available.

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  • Moyle, Richard. Polynesian Sound-Producing Instruments. Princes Risborough, UK: Shire Ethnography, 1990.

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    Introduces instruments of eastern and western Polynesia. Chapters on percussion, wind, and stringed instruments offer historical and structural information and discuss instruments and their social use.

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