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date: 20 February 2020

Instruments, classification oflocked

  • Klaus Wachsmann,
  • Margaret J. Kartomi,
  • Erich M. von Hornbostel
  •  and Curt Sachs


Klaus Wachsmann, revised by Margaret J. Kartomi

‘Musical instrument’ is a self-explanatory term for an observer in his own society; it is less easy to apply on a worldwide scale because the notion of music itself in such a wide context escapes definition. Hornbostel (1933, p.129) advised that ‘for purposes of research everything must count as a musical instrument with which sound can be produced intentionally’, and wrote of sound-producing instruments, or, for short, sound instruments. The German word ‘Instrumentenkunde’ and its English equivalent ‘organology’ avoid the issue by taking the reference to sound or music for granted. Hood (1971, p.124) distinguished between organology and organography, intending the distinction to separate description plain and simple from the body of knowledge that bears on problems of taxonomy and on the principles that at one time or another have served as bases for systems of classification. Both have in common a concern for structural detail....

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Die Musikforschung
C. Sachs: The History of Musical Instruments (New York, 1940)
Acta musicologica
International Musicological Society: Congress Report [1930-]
Galpin Society Journal
Journal of the International Folk Music Council
Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council