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Questions tagged [instruments]

For questions about generalities about instruments or groups of instruments.

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37
votes
17answers
67k views

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop callouses?

This is a common problem and solving it will ultimately lead to a much higher success rate for beginning guitar students. So I wanted to share the information here on Music and Theory. Many of my ...
38
votes
6answers
43k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...
13
votes
1answer
26k views

What is a transposing instrument?

I've read this term many times. However, I'm not quite sure of what it exactly is. What is a transposing instrument? What would be an example of one?
23
votes
5answers
8k views

Why do standard modern pianos have 88 keys?

I know that the piano contains 7 octaves plus a 4th. I also know that it accommodates the full circle of fifths (from C and back to C). But since a fifth contains 7 semitones, it only "needs" 7X12 = ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Could B♭ instruments be built in C? Why are they in B♭ in the first place?

Why did the clarinet and trumpet get made to 'be' in B♭? Could they have been made to produce concert pitch C? This would make a composer's life so much easier when physically writing scores. ...
12
votes
5answers
11k views

Do weighted keys on a keyboard lead to more expressive playing?

I use an acoustic piano to learn/play classical music. I use a midi keyboard to record/produce own music. My piano has weighted keys while my midi keyboard has a very light touch. I find that I am ...
56
votes
11answers
22k views

Do advanced musicians still practice scales every day?

I'm wondering if you're ever "done" or do you just go practicing them forever?
46
votes
16answers
81k views

What instruments are inexpensive, portable and not too loud?

I'm a college student, and I'd really like to start playing an instrument. But I want to find something that is: Inexpensive Small and portable enough to fit in a backpack Quiet enough to practice in ...
23
votes
4answers
15k views

Why is music for strings more likely to be in keys with sharps?

One thing I've noticed is that music written for strings, such as violin concertos, are a lot more likely to written in a key like D or A major than something like F or Bb major. I recently saw a ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too high, and need correcting by pulling the 1st of 3rd valve. My first understanding was that the distance between tones in the lower register is larger than between ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are there transposing instruments that transpose by octave?

Some instruments (for example the guitar, the bass guitar, and the xylophone) have written music in a typical clef, however the note written and the note played are an octave lower or higher depending ...
20
votes
2answers
12k views

Is my Yamaha guitar counterfeit?

I bought a new Yamaha Guitar and When you look inside the guitar hole it looks like the model number is written by hand. Can you please tell me if this one is a fake one or not? The number written on ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Examples of acoustic instruments producing sounds very close to pure square, triangle or sawtooth waves

I've been able to find plenty of info about acoustic instruments that create sounds close to sine-waves, and I understand that sounds approximating square, triangle and sawtooth waves are produced by ...
8
votes
14answers
9k views

Acoustic piano vs digital piano: is there any solid evidence for one being better than the other?

As someone who'll have to buy a piano soon, I'm at the old question of acoustic vs digital. I've done a fair deal of research on the internet, as well as heard the opinion of a piano teacher, and ...
6
votes
3answers
210 views

Piano Maintenance

What should be done to maintain an upright piano? I am not asking about tuning it, but what can be done so it does not have to be tuned as often? I heard someone once say about a particular piano ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Alternative ways to classify Instruments

In Western music there are four classifications of instruments strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. This classification works on most instruments, but there are many different instruments around ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

How do I assess the value of a guitar when I'm preparing to sell it?

How do I go about researching the value of my instrument before I put it up for sale? I'd like to feel like I've done a proper amount of due diligence before I put it on the used market so I can both ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Learning Guitar and Ukulele side by side a good idea?

I'm trying to decide whether it's a good idea to learn playing the guitar while I am also learning the ukulele. I've been playing ukulele since about six months and I'm making really good progress. ...
40
votes
3answers
179k views

What is the difference between a xylophone, a glockenspiel, marimba, a xylorimba and a marimbaphone?

What is the difference between an xylophone and a marimba? And a glockenspiel and a xylophone, its just the material and size of glockenspiel?
9
votes
4answers
9k views

Why do F#6 and higher notes ring more than F6 and lower notes?

I learned Overworld Theme 2 from Super Mario Bros. 3 a few years ago, which features the nice bright high notes of A6, G6, and F6: I noticed on my 80 year old upright piano that the A and G rang out ...
44
votes
3answers
6k views

Why do instruments have a key?

There are many instruments that have keys other than C. For example: The Eb Alto Saxophone The Bb Clarinet The Horn in F Why do these instruments have a key in the first place? Here's a more ...
20
votes
5answers
9k views

Will my wind instrument be damaged if I leave it assembled?

Almost every teacher, expert, and book has informed me that I should disassemble my (clarinet / recorder / saxophone) each time after I practice. However, it is difficult for me to see how this would ...
18
votes
13answers
2k views

instruments you can make at home

Some of the children I teach have expressed an interest in music and learning to play. I am thinking about how I can help them do a sort of arts-and-crafts music day, where we could make some ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

What are some qualities to consider when purchasing a cello?

My wife is a Suzuki-method violinist but wants to dabble with some cello pieces. I'm a rock guitarist--so I have absolutely no clue what to look for in a cello. It's clearly not a Les Paul so any ...
16
votes
17answers
3k views

Instruments that challenge your ear [closed]

About a year ago I was curious about how the trumpet works, how could it play the chromatic scale over many octaves with only these three valves!? So I made some research to understand how it works, ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. (blade perpendicular strokes) (Tom Ridenour's Tools + DVD) ...
18
votes
3answers
8k views

What's the difference between the “smooth” strings and the “rough” strings?

On my acoustic, the first 4 strings are "rough" - that is they are covered in a type of metal corkscrew. The last 2 strings though are completely smooth, and don't have a corkscrew finish. Why are ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Acoustic pianos with weighted keys

I'm currently trying to build up my finger strength, and have found that the exercises I do are more effective if I am practising on a piano with a heavier touch, as the keys require more force to ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Do instruments get out of tune when you place them near a radiator?

Do instruments get out of tune when you place them near a radiator when the radiator is hot? If so, why? Also, is there anything else that happens when you place an instrument near a hot radiator?
6
votes
5answers
385 views

Is it better to tune an instrument by procedure, or while playing?

I'm an amateur Guitar player. When I want to tune my Guitar, I follow this formula: Use a diapason to tune the A note on the third string, second fret Tune the second string by help of the B on the ...
2
votes
3answers
576 views

“Easiest to sound ok” small non-reed woodwinds to learn

Of all the small woodwinds from any culture, which ones are known for having the SHORTEST learning curve (for a veteran of any common woodwind) to achieve clean, controlled tones from 90% of playable ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

Can I split guitar string gauges?

I want to know if I can split guitar string gauges, ie. using 12s on the bottom and 10s on the top, both for standard and drop tunings.
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Does the type of wood on a solid body electric guitar affect its tone or sound?

I know that on an acoustic guitar the sound is produced by the strings vibrating the top or soundboard and that the type wood used on the soundboard and body of an acoustic guitar will be the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Curved v. straight windway

Besides physical structure, what is the difference between a curved and a straight windway in a recorder? I understand that a curved windway increases air resistance, but how does the sound quality ...
6
votes
3answers
153 views

Can a physics simulator be used to generate sounds for music?

Does anyone use, or know of, a simulator for creating sounds based on simulating the vibrations of real objects? I saw an art display called Tipping Point that created a sound-scape based on ...
5
votes
2answers
538 views

Accessible Instruments While Away From Home

I am a musician spending a few months away my home. I fear that I may lose a good chunk of skill if I am unable to practice my instrument during this time. It is completely unfeasible for me to buy ...
5
votes
3answers
782 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?
3
votes
3answers
144 views

Is it possible to combine a guitar with a theremin cello in the same neck?

For reference, a theremin cello is similar to the classic thermin of 50s sci-fi sound effects fame, but packaged with a neck and played like a cello with the left hand selecting pitch along the neck, ...
3
votes
3answers
710 views

When to start Vibrato (on any instrument)

As a bassist, I spent a lot of time with music teachers who told me I took too long to start vibrating. The example they gave (Jeff Bradetich, UNT) was of opera singers who begin vibrating immediately....