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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 Zampoña. 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.

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