This chapter reviews the ways in which musical instruments create their characteristic sounds, focusing on those factors which are common to instruments from a particular family. The Hornbostel-Sachs classification scheme — extended to include the electrophone class — is explained and related to the more common musical classification into families of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Standing wave patterns in the air columns of different types of wind instrument are described, and the methods of sound generation in flutes, single and double reed woodwinds, and brass instruments are reviewed. The standing wave patterns created on the vibrating strings of bowed and plucked stringed instruments are described. Membranophones and idiophones are identified with the percussion family, and the differences between pitched and unpitched percussion instruments are explained. Finally, the class of electrophones is reviewed, distinguishing between electroacoustic, electromechanical, and electronic instruments.
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