Idiophone

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Idiophone'

Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Idiophone'


An idiophone is any musical instrument which creates sound primarily by way of the instrument's vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. It is the first of the four main divisions in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification (see List of idiophones by Hornbostel-Sachs number). Idiophones are probably the oldest type of musical instrument (not counting the human voice). In the early classification of Victor-Charles Mahillon, this group of instruments was called autophones.

Most percussion instruments which are not drums are idiophones. Hornbostel-Sachs divides idiophones into four main sub-categories. The first division is the struck idiophones (sometimes called concussion idiophones). This includes most of the non-drum percussion instruments familiar in the West. They include all idiophones which are made to vibrate by being hit, either directly with a stick or hand (like the wood block, singing bowl, triangle or marimba), or indirectly, by way of a scraping or shaking motion (like maracas or flexatone). Various types of bells fall into both categories.

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