Questions tagged [instruments]

For questions about generalities about instruments or groups of instruments.

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5 votes
5 answers
2k views

Which instruments to physically familiarize with to become a better orchestrator?

Physically familiarizing with which two orchestral instruments would be a good compromise between having to buy all the instruments and gaining leverage in orchestral writing? My own opinion is ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Curved windway of a recorder - what is the use for it? [duplicate]

What is the use of curved windway of a recorder? After my first Yamaha YRS-23 I bought YRS-302B and I'm still puzzled about that difference. It feels like the blowing into 302 gives slightly more ...
1 vote
1 answer
940 views

How closely related in history, construction and use are these two instruments?

A friend shared these two videos with me. He called the double reed instrument a Suona and said that it is traditional both in the Middle East, and central Asia, China and Taiwan. I do not know what ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are bass clarinet and tenor sax notations played an octave lower? [duplicate]

I am totally blind, and I read music Braille. I also use a MIDI keyboard to make musical tracks using a sequencer. Recently, I had a piece, October by Eric Whitacre, transcribed into Braille music. ...
2 votes
0 answers
83 views

12 string guitar stringing

Most commonly, 12 string guitars have their bottom four pairs arranged so that when strumming down, the octave strings sound before the original E A D and G. Is there any particular reason for this? ...
7 votes
8 answers
56k views

What is causing this weird distortion coming from my amp?

Here is the sound I'm talking about. I get this sound, unless I strum ridiculously lightly, on different amp volume settings, with no gain, but is seems to become ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is up with the bell on the English horn?

What is the story behind the shape of the bell on the English horn (AKA the cor anglais)? But first, a quick look at the clarinet family for a comparison. The standard clarinet (in Bb or A) has a ...
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why does the English horn have a French name, and the French horn an English name?

Why do we call the English horn by its French name Cor Anglais and the French horn by its English name, why does this exist? What does the French Horn go by in France? Cor Français?
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

English Horn Etymology

Why is the English Horn called a horn when it is a woodwind instrument, basically a lower oboe? When compared to other horns, such as the French Horn and the Flugelhorn, it seems to be a misnomer.
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can I use a D bamboo flute to play a C key

I actually want to buy a D bamboos flute but I would like to know whether I can use it to play other keys as well
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can I play an English horn part with a viola?

I want to perform music in class for a Shakespeare play. Can I play an English horn part with a viola?
2 votes
2 answers
358 views

Composing melody for recorder

I have learned a bit about composing a melody using the piano. But then, when I try composing a melody for the recorder – it doesn't sound right. What things should I be aware of when composing a ...
4 votes
1 answer
527 views

What are the mechanics behind flute keys used to play chromatic notes?

I recently listened to recordings of the bansuri, a bamboo flute used in Indian (Hindu) music, and I thought about trying to make one myself from scratch. A tutorial I found on wikiHow makes the ...
0 votes
0 answers
71 views

Can anyone explain these unexpected overtones on my NUX electric piano?

I recently purchased a NUX NPK-10 electric piano, as a step up from a Yamaha keyboard. I love the instrument, and I'm enjoying playing it. However I have noticed a bizarre effect that I cannot explain....
1 vote
2 answers
80 views

Are there advanced high-quality violins like Strads with 4 fine tuners? Does any concerto virtuoso use 4 fine tuners? [duplicate]

Are there advanced high-quality violins with 4 fine tuners? (like Stradivarius.) Are there advanced violin concerto virtuosos players using violins with 4 fine tuners? Below are some related ...
1 vote
11 answers
1k views

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand) [closed]

Given that nowadays people can compose and play via a mobile phone or computer, what could or would some possible reasons for wanting to be able to play an instrument by hand be? Can't you just try ...
4 votes
1 answer
133 views

Diatonic harmonica: How to play the draw bend with the three semitones down (effectively)?

For the diatonic harmonica, in the 3rd draw position B, how to play the draw bend with the three semitones down (marked in blue rectangle) B, Bb, A? I could play a semitones down, most easily in the ...
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Wind instruments and sharp keys

As far as I know, most of the wind instruments are transposing, and many of them are either in B, in E-flat or in F - these keys make them more suitable for playing in "flat" keys. My question is why ...
1 vote
1 answer
71 views

What is a "bass xylophone"?

In the instrumentation of the opera Turandot there is something called bass xylophone, but I couldn't find many things about it. What is it? And, since it doesn't seem to be a common instrument, how ...
9 votes
5 answers
4k views

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect [closed]

There's a ethereal shimmering cascading effect in the background of Blondie's song "Heart of Glass" at around 0:35 minutes in (in E major) and also moments ...
5 votes
3 answers
5k views

Instrument Register tone and quality chart

I have been looking for some time now, for a chart of all the different register tone qualities of all the instruments played in an orchestra. If you have a hard time understanding what I mean by that,...
7 votes
2 answers
512 views

Does voice doubling an instrument's melody while improvising have a name?

According to wikipedia, scat singing is: In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all.[2][3] In scat singing, the singer ...
10 votes
7 answers
34k views

Do vintage guitars really sound better with age? Or is this perception affected by selection bias?

Guitars are often said to sound better with age. How much of it is due to worse-sounding guitars being discarded before they reach vintage age?
4 votes
3 answers
167 views

How young could a child start learning an instrument?

I play the guitar and have always tried to include my son in the fun when I play. He's 9 months old and seems to always like listening to it so far. Recently he has become very curious about the ...
1 vote
2 answers
139 views

Learning cello fingerings without owning one

Okay this is going to be a weird question but bear with me, I promise I'm not crazy. Let's say I really wanted to learn cello. Now due to the fact I am not currently able to rent/buy a cello, this ...
5 votes
2 answers
327 views

Bach's keyboard concertos on fortepiano?

It is known that J.S.Bach was acquainted with the fortepiano at least twice in his life, in 1726 when he played one of Silbermann's experimental models (and mildly criticized it), and toward the end ...
10 votes
3 answers
789 views

How did the harmonium and violin become an integral part of Hindustani and Carnatic music respectively?

The Harmonium hails from Germany and it is not an Indian instrument. Also, it is an equal tempered instrument. But the harmonium is a very common accompanying instrument in Hindustani Classical (...
6 votes
2 answers
7k views

Difference between 6 holed and 7 holed Indian bamboo flute?

I'm planning to buy an Indian bamboo flute. I found out today that there are Indian bamboo flutes with a different number of holes. There is one with 6 fingering holes called Bansuri and one with 7 ...
5 votes
1 answer
301 views

Not-quite-beginner beginner alto sax, how to select an instrument?

TL;DR: I need some guidelines for choosing a decent instrument for an amateur, at home, that isn't a complete piece of crap. I'm 44. 30 years ago, I was first chair alto saxophone in a marching bad. ...
1 vote
0 answers
76 views

What is the name of this brass (most likely) instrument? [closed]

I'm not sure if this is considered an appropriate post, I hope it is but if not, my apologies. I've heard this distinct instrument a couple times. I'm not sure what it is but am really fond of it, and ...
5 votes
1 answer
260 views

What's the earliest known example of music written for an electronic instrument?

The other day I stumbled upon Joseph Schillinger's First Airphonic Suite, a 1929 orchestral suite that includes a part for theremin. Since this was written 10 years after the invention of the theremin,...
-4 votes
1 answer
156 views

Can mayonnaise actually be a good instrument? [closed]

Everyone knows what one iconic scene from SpongeBob, where Patrick asks Squidward a question: Is mayonnaise an instrument? To which he responds: No, Patrick, mayonnaise is not an instrument. I've ...
23 votes
4 answers
7k views

How can horns, most of which have only three buttons, play all their notes?

I’m a big fan of the “horn” family but have trouble understanding how horns are able to play the same scales and modes that a piano is able to play, being that horns only have a few buttons. In some ...
1 vote
0 answers
107 views

Did percussion instruments communicate spoken words in click languages?

There are a number of click languages in Africa where 'clicks' function as part of their language. It seems like it would be possible to communicate some words with percussion instruments (maybe a ...
1 vote
3 answers
102 views

Can I start playing on this clarinet?

Me: no money at all and no experience with wind instruments. Goal: learn how to play clarinet and to read music. Found this "French-styled clarinet from URSS" for 40 dollars. Is it ...
3 votes
4 answers
435 views

Keyboard where each key has pitch bend? [closed]

Are there any keyboards where each key has touch sensitivity allowing for microtones and pitch bend with the fingers on individual keys? I think that would be a pretty cool instrument, but I only ...
-5 votes
1 answer
89 views

Fusion of western musical instruments [closed]

Western musical instruments Western musical instruments images Trumpet and Saxophone Harpeji Western musical instruments video Is it possible to design and construct western musical instruments as a ...
5 votes
1 answer
440 views

Why are band instruments built in flat keys?

Instruments in a military bands (and similar) are usually built in the keys of B-flat or E-flat. (Whether these instruments are treated as transposing instruments or not is irrelevant. The key that ...
3 votes
0 answers
53 views

A Question about Avid Sibelius 2021 and Kontakt (.nki) instruments

Since Sibelius is just using a version of Kontakt in the background to play its own sounds, can I build Sibelius Soundsets that are based on nothing but the .nki files in my authorized Kontakt ...
5 votes
1 answer
453 views

What do you call this type of guitar?

Does anybody mind mentioning to me what this type of guitar is called? A pedal lap steel guitar maybe? ...
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Physical volume of instruments

I am aware that this might be a slightly unusual question, but just today I was wondering about the physical volume (meaning the capacity, NOT the loudness) of some musical instruments. In particular,...
17 votes
3 answers
39k views

What is the definition of a pad?

I've played in many bands and I do a lot of music production and the term "pad" is thrown around. My definition of a pad is something that is used to fill in the space of a piece usually with chords. ...
2 votes
3 answers
208 views

Why do snare players only have one drum?

In marching drum lines, like Blue Devils, it's common that there are some tenor drum players with 4-6 drums, but the snare players only have 1 drum. To me, that seems like a waste. Sure, more drums/...
3 votes
6 answers
528 views

Can I produce music with code and without instruments? [closed]

I'm so curious about music, and I also tried to learn to play some instruments, but due to some personal reasons I can't continue with it. Now I'm a software developer, which is my passion, but my ...
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the correct name for this instrument?

I guess it's some type of trombone, but I can't find its correct name anywhere. P.S. If you're wondering, here's where I got this shot from:
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Not confident enough to play guitar loudly because neighbours will hear it

I am playing guitar (mostly Acoustic Guitar) for like 2 years now so i wouldn't say that i completely suck. i can play numerous songs and strum chords fairly and easily. Although every day is a new ...
0 votes
1 answer
98 views

Pocket instruments? [closed]

I’ve heard of the guitarlele, but they are about 1/4 the size of a normal guitar. I’m looking for some kind of guitar or other real instrument that would fit in a large pocket (no larger than 10 ...
0 votes
2 answers
150 views

What are the key factors for any composer to select instrument for a song? [closed]

There are lots of instruments in all over the world every instrument have its different sound that could attach differently to the person`s emotion wondering how Music Composer think for selecting ...
16 votes
7 answers
2k views

What kind of effect does practicing on difficult-to-play instruments have?

To clarify the title, I'm not asking if it helps your mandolin skills to play violin (or vice versa, whichever you feel is "more difficult"). Let's say you are a guitarist: Does it help or hurt to ...
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it common for a 5 string bass to have a high B?

My school jazz band's bass player has a 5 string bass but it is tuned like a guitar with a broken 'E' string, but an octave lower. This means that the highest string is a 'B'. Is this common? I know ...

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