Music, the one form of entertainment that joins different cultures, backgrounds, and all ages. Everywhere people go there is music. We see it on television, on our radios, in our cars, at restaurants and even stores. There is no escaping the breathtaking sounds of music. What most people do not know is what instruments are being played in the music that we enjoy, and how each of the different sounds are made. There are several different popular instruments around. The most played instruments around are guitars, saxophones, and the piano.

The first, and probably the most popular instrument of our time is the guitar. There are different styles of guitars such as the acoustic guitar, and the electric guitar. “The acoustic guitar is a light portable instrument that lends itself well to many forms of music. It is ideal for accompanying singing or other instruments” (Musical Instruments of the World, 194). There are nine different parts to an acoustic guitar, which are, the machine head, pegs, nut, fingerboard, frets, sound hole, body, strings, and bridge. There are different body shapes of acoustic guitar such as the classical guitar, is flat both back and front, the jumbo, or dreadnought guitar, has a bulging back and deeper body than other guitars, and the f-hole arch-top guitar, bulges both back and front and has arched shoulders (Musical Instruments of the World, 194). On the guitar the strings are threaded through machine heads, which fit into the head of the guitar. The string tension is changed by cogs when the tuning pegs are adjusted. On the modern acoustic guitar the strings end in rings that are inserted in holes in the bridge and secured with pins ( “The electric guitar has been an innovating force behind modern rock groups. In the electric guitar vibrations of the strings are converted electronically into sound, and a variety of equipment has been developed for effects and amplification" (Musical Instruments of the World, 254). There are nine parts to the electric guitar, only some of which are similar to the acoustic guitar. The parts are, the neck, toggle switch, bas or rhythm pick-up, pick guard, controls, treble pick-up, body, sound hole, and the tailpiece ( When playing the electric guitar, vibrations from the strings are converted by the pick-ups into electric impulses. These pass through the preamplifier, with its tone and volume controls, and also the amplifier before being emitted as sound through the speakers (

Saxophones are classified with clarinets as members of the single-reed family, but they are actually a hybrid of the clarinet and the oboe. Like the clarinet the saxophone has a single reed attached to a beaked mouthpiece, but its conical tube and flared bell are more typical of the oboe family. Saxophones are regular members of dance bands, and occasionally they are used to play distinctive solos in orchestral works ( The soprano saxophone has a straight conical tube. It is used particularly in jazz bands as a melody instrument along with the clarinet and trumpet (Musical Instruments of the World, 43). The tenor, or melody, saxophone has a bent tube and upturned bell characteristic of all but the smallest two members of the saxophone family. It features prominently in the full-bodied sound of the big band (Musical Instruments of the World, 43).

The piano is the most popular of the keyboard instruments. It has a large pitch range, exceeded only by that of the organ, and is capable of great expressiveness. It remains important in the home where it is used both as a solo and accompanying instrument. The piano appears regularly on the concert platform in solo recitals and in performances of chamber music and concertos (Musical Instruments of the World, 240). ”The first piano was made around 1700 by an Italian, Bartolommeo Cristofori, who was experimenting to produce a keyboard instrument that was more responsive to the player’s touch that the harpsichord” (Musical Instruments of the World, 236). Gottfried Silbermann made the grand piano. Silbermann was responsible for a number of minor improvements, but essentially the action used in his pianos was the same as that developed earlier by Cristofori (Musical Instruments of the World, 236). There are eleven parts to the guitar, the tuning pins, iron frame, bridge, trichords, bichords, single strings, soft pedal, sustaining pedal, bass strings, bridge, and soundboard. In the upright piano the strings are fixed at one end to tuning pins and are stretched over a cast-iron frame capable of taking a strain of up to 17 tons ( Behind the frame is a soundboard, which reproduces the strings’ vibrations and so increases the volume (Musical Instruments of the World, 241). The electric piano is popular with rock bands. Its keys respond to touch pressure, a gentle touch gives a quiet note, a firm touch a loud noise. Drawbars produce harpsichord and honky-tonk effects (Musical Instruments of the World, 259). On the piano, each of the instrument’s bass notes has only one string, whereas middle notes have two finer strings, and top noted three still finer ones. All piano strings are made of steel, but bass strings are copper-wound to increase their resonance ( There are three pedals on the piano. One of which is the soft pedal. When it is not being used, the hammers strike the strings near the center. When the pedal is depressed, that hammers shift slightly to the right. This reduces contact with the strings and so produces a softer tone (Musical Instruments of the World, 240).

There are many different instruments both historical and modern that are popular today. The two, probably most popular string instruments are the piano and the guitar. The most popular wind instrument is the saxophone; it is widely used in jazz bands, and in modern rock. There are different types of each of these instruments. The electric and acoustic are the most popular guitars, the tenor and soprano are the most used saxophones, and the grand, upright, and electric are the most popular pianos used today.

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