Classification
of
Instruments
Classification of Instruments
In music, there are five different types of
instruments. Every instrument that is played falls
into one of these five categories. They are:
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Aerophones
Chordophones
Idiophones
Membranophones
Electrophones
Aerophone Instruments
• An aerophone produces its sound by the vibration of
• The two main families that are aerophones are
woodwind and brass instruments.
• Woodwinds use the air and reeds to vibrate.
• Brass use air and the player’s lips to vibrate.
• Some keyboard instruments also use air as
the source of vibration and can be considered
aerophones.
• Can you name any Aerophones?
Chordophone Instruments
• Chordophones are part of the string instrument family.
• They produce sound by the vibrating of
• To make the sounds: pluck, bow or strike the strings.
• This is done by a pick, bow or the musician’s hand.
• Can you name any Chordophones?
Electrophone Instruments
• This is the newest category of instruments. They have
only been around since the 20th century.
• Electrophones produce an electronic sound.
• The two main families of electrophones are electronic
instruments and amplified acoustical
instruments.
• What are some Electrophones that you have heard?
Membranophone Instruments
Membranophones produce sound
when a stretched
skin (membrane) vibrates.
• Different materials can be used to make
membranophones, some include wood, metal, or
ceramics.
• These instruments may have definite or indefinite
pitch. What does this mean?
• These belong to the percussion family. How
many different kinds of drums do you know?
Idiophone Instruments
• Idiophones produce a
sound by the vibration of
the actual instrument
itself.
• These instruments can be
struck, rubbed, shaken or
plucked.
• This category belongs to
the percussion family.
• How many can you
name?
Let’s Review
• Instruments can be classified into what
5 categories?
• Aerophones produce sound by the vibration of
what?
• Chordophones produce sound by the vibration of
what?
• Electrophones produce what kind of sounds?
• Membranophones produce sound by vibrating
what?
• Idiophones use the vibration of what?
• Can you give examples of each category?
Instrument Match
• Aerophone
• Chordophone
• Idiophone
• Membranophone
• Electrophone
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Flute
Conga
Mandolin
Synthesizer
Pipe Organ
Timpani
Guiro
Amplified Acoustic
Guitar
• Castinets
• Cello
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Classification of Instruments