INSTRUMENT DESCRIPTIONS

 

Wow, are there a lot of weird and wonderful musical instrument out there. We've compiled a great list along with short descriptions. Check it out...

Below you will find a large number of musical instrument descriptions; while making use of these descriptions, please be aware that there are usually many variations and spellings of most of these instruments. We have attempted to cross-referenced many of these, but still, any suggestions or corrections are welcomed!

 

Note: We do not stock all of the instruments below, many, but not all. The purpose of the list is informational!

N - S

Nai - Panpipes of Romania; concave row of 20 pipes, of different lengths and diameters, glued together in order of size with lower ends resting on a slightly curved stick; lower ends stopped with cork, then filled with beeswax to determine tuning.

 

Ney - (or Nay)Egyptian bamboo flute.

 

Northumbrian Smallpipes - An English bellows blown bagpipe with small cylindrical closed-end chanter, and 3 or 4 drones. Other variations include Northumbrian half long bagpipes. Probably developed from the French musette.

 

Ocarina - Extremely popular vessel flute usually made of terracotta; all-in-one large, elongated egg-shape with flattened tube in its side and finger holes. Also circular shaped. Often seen in animal shapes.

 

Octave Mandolin - Longer in scale than a standard mandolin, and tuned one octave lower.

 

Omele - See Bata.

 

Oud - Short necked, bowl back plucked lute of the Arab world, the direct ancestor of the European lute; principal instrument of the Arab world. Double courses and fretless. Also Egyptian lute. Also see Ud.

 

Ovcharska Svirka - Bulgarian shepherd's pipe, smaller version of the kaval.

 

Pahu - Tahitian bass drum; double-headed membranophone; Western origin; can be of hollowed out coconut trunks, covered by either sharkskin or calfskin.

 

Pahu Tupa'l Rima - Tahitian single membrane drum, not unlike a tall conga.

 

Pandeiro - Either frame drum or tambourine of Portugal, Brazil and Galicia (Spain).

 

Panpipe - See ZampoƱa. Also Panflute

 

Paraguayan Harp - 36 strings; built by the Guarani tribe of Indians from carefully selected local wood that must then be stored for at least 2 generations.

 

Pate - (Cook Islands, the Pacific) slit log drums.

 

Piffaro - Italian shawm.

 

Pinquillo - Very small wooden flute with mouthpiece.

 

Pipa - 4,stringed guitar-like plucked instrument; pear-shaped box.

 

Piob Mhor - Great Highland Bagpipe of Scotland. Mouth blown, with a conical chanter and 3 drones.

 

Psaltry - Box zither; raised wooden board or box with sound holes, with strings stretched parallel to the soundboard and attached at either side by wooden pegs or metal pins; usually plucked.

 

Qanoun - Arabic dulcimer.

 

Quanoon - Egyptian dulcimer.

 

Quena - See Kena.

 

Quenacho - Large Quena.

 

Quitaiplas - Venezualan homemade instrument made from bamboo; when hit against each other and against the floor produce the unique Qui,ti,pla sound.

 

Rebaba - Depends whether 'rabab',lute or 'rababa',lyre (rebab; term for lutes, both bowed and plucked, and lyres) (rababa:bowl lyre with 5 or 6 strings, similar to the tanbura).

 

Rebolo - Brazilian Drum.

 

Recorder - End blown flute. Voices: Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass.

 

Repinique - Brazilian samba drum.

 

Repique de Mao - Brazilian drum.

 

Reque - Medium-sized tambourine.

 

Requinto - Small guitar used in Spain, Colombia, Equador and Mexico.

 

Resonator Guitar - See Dobro

 

Rigg - (Riqq) See Rik.

 

Rik - Small drum with jingles as in tambourine.

 

Rojok - 'Vladimirskii Rojok': russian trumpet carved from a single piece of wood, usually apple wood.

 

Ronador - Harmonic panpipe native to Equador

 

Ronroco - Big-brother of the charango.

 

Sanduri - Greek term for the zither; also applied to the cymbalon.

 

Santoor - Simple, stringed instrument, belonging to the category of zithers; struck with two hammers; see Hammered Dulcimer.

 

Santour - Same as santoor, santur, sanduri.

 

Sarangi - Foremost bowed instrument in North Indian classical music; of one piece of wood with a goat skin sound table; no frets.

 

Saz - Family of long-necked lutes played throughout Turkey; eg., baglama, cura, divan.

 

Scottish Smallpipes - A bellows blown bagpipe from the Scottish lowlands, related to the musette and the Northumbrian smallpipes. Now usually has a keyless conical chanter, and 3 drones.

 

Shaksha - Percussion instrument.

 

Shakuhachi - Japanese bamboo flute with 4 finger holes and a thumb hole; great flexibility of tone and pitch through half holing and head movements.

 

Shamisen - Japanese 3,string lute, like a long-necked, fretless banjo with parchment stretched across the front; plucked with a heavy ivory plectrum.

 

Shawm - Double reed wood instrument; the oboe is a modern example.

 

Shekere - African calabash embroidered with beads to give shaker sound. Also found in Cuba.

 

Shofar - Wind instrument made from an animals horn, end blown without a mouthpiece. Traditional ceremonial instrument of Judaism.

 

Sitar - Indian Classical stringed instrument (also has Persian links?), modern type has 7 plucked strings and other sympathetic strings (not plucked); fretted with a gourd base; plectrum (misrab) can be used.

 

Surbahar - Cousin of the sitar but longer.

 

Surdo - Brazilian bass drum for Samba.

 

Symphonie - Simple early version of Hurdy-Gurdy with rectangular box body, 3 strings and usually 10 keys.