ARC’s Musical Instrument Catalog is an online version of our database defining more than 3,776 instruments common to popular music performance worldwide. We are slowly adding instruments as we edit the data, and in early 2015 added 209 “B”s to the 142 from the “A” list…
Image on the left is a rabeca — a folk violin found in Portuguese speaking Cabo Verde and Brazil, most common in the state of Percambuco, where it is closely associated with the Cavalo Marinho dance rhythm.
|A conch shell used as a horn-trumpet in Madagascar.
|Madagascar horn trumpet
|Sudanese lyre particular of Berta people living in the most southern part of the Blue Nile Province. Membranophone. Ref. Artur Simon. “Sudan.” In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed March 14, 2011).
|lyre cordophone Sudan North-East Africa
|Southeastern Nigerian xylophone of the Ibo people that follows no established musical scale but designed to mimic speech and offer common phrases and proverbs.
|Nigeria West Africa
|instrument west African Nigeria xylophone percussion ibo
|A traditional folk oboe from the Languedoc region of France.
|instrument oboe aerophone France Europe
|Small high pitched friction (talking) drum, of the Akan people of Ghana.
|Ghana West Africa
|instrument ghana drum percussion Africa akan
|Cuban scraper used in Yoruba derived lucumí ritual.
|instrument percussion Cuba Caribbean scraper
|Portable hand held instrument offering a full organ-like sound, having a pleated bellows that is extended and compressed to force or suck air through reeded holes sounded by a limited range of keys or buttons. Each button or key controlling two reeds, one sounded on the air intake and one on expulsion, with some instruments having keys that operate three separate reeds, creating a chord. Accordions are either diatonic or chromatic. Diatonic instruments have neither sharps or flats and are manufactured in designated keys or key combinations. Of German/Austrian origin in the 1820s, (co-claims of invention by Friedrich Buschmann in Berlin in 1822 and Cyrill Demian in Vienna in 1823), the original diatonic models, called ‘blow accordions’, were soon joined by chromatic versions appearing in mid-1850. It’s portability and heartiness made it the ideal traveling companion, a sailor’s and settler’s friend. An 1829 variation was the concertina, invented by Englishman Charles Wheatstone. Various names include the squeezebox, the Finnish haitari and hanuri, the Soviet Cheremiss karmon or muzekan, and ??? The melodian often describes any button keyed accordion of the British Isles . In Scotland and Ireland the term more properly describes a 10 keyed button accordion. Irish music uses the chromatic accordion. Finnish player Maria Kalaniemi plays “free base,” using the left hand a lot, unheard of in most folk music, supposidly a part of ‘classical’ technique.German & Cechz immigration to Mexico and the American Southwest in the 19c introduced the accordion into a wide range of Mexican, Chicano, and Tejano music. The centerpiece for conjunto ensembles, most ‘triples’ or four row diatonic button accordions used in this region are tuned in 5ths, as are those used in zydeco music from Louisiana. In most conjunto music the base or left hand buttons are usually ignored. Other fairly simple dance use in America centers around the polka, a popular form invented by Slovak immigrants, primarily in the Mid-West. In Colombia it is the primary instrument in cumbia and vallenato music. Here it’s variously known as “el moruno”, “guacamayo” and “espejito” (“machine screw”). Italian name = fisarmonica. Ger = zieharmonica.In costal West Africa more commonly a womens instrument, but I.K. Dairo is known for his playing. Popular in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan wedding ensemble music, replacing traditional instruments, since the1960s. In Madagasgar the diatonic accordion is called the gorodao. In Euskadi, along the French/Spanish border of the Basque region, the diatobic accordion is called a trikitixa, also naming the style of music.
|acheré; cheré; Atche
|A rhythmic Cuban folk percussion instrument (shaker). Usually consists of a spheric receptacle filled with seeds and attached to a handle. Resembles a maraca but is larger and not played in pairs. The sphere is often constructed of the dried fruit of the calabash tree with a wooden handle attached. Usually played standing, holding the instrument by its handle, its sphere, or by both. The instrument is shaken rhythmically as a complimentary conductor and to enhance timber. Lucumi (Santeria ) batá ensembles use atcheré to call their dieties to ritual ceremonies, each diety having a special colored and decorated rattle. Played in ensembles with arará, batá, bembé, conga, dundún, gangá, kinfuiti, palo, radá, rumba, and the tambourine. Has become a gereralized Afro-Cuban term for any rattle used for rituals.
|idiophone percussion folk cheré Cuba caribbean island Spanish Latin instrument rattle afro-Cuban New York America Caribbean Yoruba Lucumi
|Frame drum from Mozambique.
|Mozambique Africa island
|Double headed, short wide cylindrically shaped drum from Madagascar.
|instrument drum Madagascar