An Overview of Musical Instruments

Music has always been a part of peoples lives. Throughout history music has served numerous functions far beyond entertainment. Because of this, musical instruments have also played an important role throughout the history of many cultures. They have been made out of a wide variety of materials depending on the culture and time period. Today musical instruments are made from materials such as metal, wood, and plastic. However, this list of materials can go on forever. Musical instruments continue to evolve. There are so many of them that it is impossible to create a complete list. Musical instruments have a rich history. There use and purpose has changed dramatically over the centuries. Below you will find a brief description of the common places that musical instruments can be found. 395303_10150810875924966_211539551_n

Musical Instruments and The People who Play Them

Beyond their composition and roles within culture, musical instrument help enhance peoples lives. They provide entertainment, emotional outlets and promote self confidence. People all over the world play musical instruments for their own reasons but benefit in more ways then they will ever know.  To learn more about the many benefits of musical instruments and their role in peoples lives check out my daily posts. Here you will find detailed explanations and discussions regarding a variety of topics related to musical instruments and the act of creating music.

Musical Instruments and The Orchestra

The development of group instrumental music began with the beginnings of the orchestra. The modern orchestra began to to evolve with the creation of opera at the end of the sixteenth century. As the opera became more popular the orchestra also grew in size and importance. These early orchestras used imperfect instruments and had no set instrumentation. The footprint for the modern orchestra was made possible in the seventeenth century. During this time Italian violin makers began creating violins like the ones we know today. The violin is the heart of the orchestra, thus laying the foundation for the modern orchestra. Since that time composers and conductors focused on creating the perfect orchestration. Todays orchestra consists of a variety of instruments. Composers continue to create music based on the instrumentation set forth in the seventeenth century. To see and hear the instruments of the orchestra you can visit my page dedicated to the four instruments families.

Musical Instruments and the Concert Band

The development of the concert band is not as clear as the orchestra. It is believed that the earliest ensembles consisting of only wind instruments were the brass ensembles of Venice in the late sixteenth century. At this time Venice was the center for a group of composers who composed for these brass ensembles. However their only similarity to the modern concert band is that they consisted of only wind instruments, omitting the strings. These groups were followed by other brass ensembles throughout Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, primarily as military and civic bands.

Since the earliest ensembles of Venice wind ensembles have continued to evolve. Many composers and conductors have focused on composing for wind ensembles and creating set instrumentation. A major contributor to the development of the concert band was the invention of valves and the improvements of pistons for brass instruments.  This invention provided a whole new role for trumpets and cornets allowing them to have the same role as violins in the orchestra.

Factors such as the National Peace Jubilee and British band libraries assisted with the growth of bands. The introduction of standard instrumentation led to the ability to compose music for all bands.

The concert band we know today has seen many changes since the earliest known ensembles and will continue to grow and evolve.

Musical Instruments and Jazz

The first known jazz ensembles date back to 1915. During this time the bands of New Orleans began to use the word Jass or Jazz in there band names or to describe their music. Today jazz ensemble come in a variety of instrumentations. These include big bands that feature woodwinds, brass, and a rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass guitar and drums) to small combo groups.

Musical Instruments and Popular Music

Musical instruments also play an important role in the music we listen to on a daily basis. They provide the accompaniment in all genres of music. Perhaps the most popular instruments are guitar, bass guitar, piano, and drums. But many others including woodwinds, brass, and strings are becoming more widely used in popular music.