Most people don’t typically stop and think about music and the instruments that it takes to create the sounds, much less the different types of instruments that are found around the world. Musical instruments date back thousands of years ago, and it’s believed that the oldest instrument that has ever been discovered dates back at least 67,000 years ago; however, it’s disputed as to whether it was an actual instrument for music or not. One that seems to be in little dispute was discovered in Slovenia in 1995 and is a flute from approximately 37,000 years ago that features four holes carved in the bone from the wing of a bird, and it’s been named the Divje Babe flute.
There is no one definitive answer on exactly how many instruments there are throughout the various countries across the globe. There are musical instruments that can be identified as woodwinds, brasses, percussions, strings, and drums; and generally must instruments fall into one of the categories. Some inventive composers have even crafted combinations of these categories to become a sort of “one man band”.
Some of the more common instruments are well known from the light and airy sounds of the flute and piccolo to the deep mournful sounds of the bass cello and the tuba. From all the instruments in the orchestra that includes the clarinets and harps, the drums and the trumpets and the bassoons, they all come together to make music that stirs the soul and lifts the spirits.
Millions of people across the globe have taken piano or guitar lesson in their youth, or played some instrument in the school band, but there are many more exotic instruments that are played in different areas of the planet that produce striking sounds of melodious notes that have never been heard outside that region.
For anyone who has ever been to the regions around India, the Sitar and Santoor produce beautiful stirring music that makes feel uplifted and lighthearted. Travel further to the west and the Turkish Oud provides sounds that make one think of oasis and dancers around a table full of wonderful foods; add a Greek Bouzouki to the mix and the table is surely overflowing.
Travel further south of the equator and the sounds of the Australian Didgeridoo (which is considered to be the oldest wind instrument in the world) pulls one right into the outback country filled with Koalas, Kangaroos, and the Aborigine people. Add the beat of the Bodhrán from Scotland and the wailing sounds of the Bagpipes and the band is off and running across fields of imagination not yet explored.
The Chipendani from the areas of Zimbabwe and South Africa produces rich full sounds that are almost unimaginable when produced from one thin string tied from tip to tip on a bow with a smaller string dividing the sections to allow pitches to be tuned up to an octave apart. Add to that the sounds of the Siku from South America and the exotic sounds abound from this panpipe instrument.
From around the world throughout the ages, music has been a part of the lives of humanity, and mankind has been rich in creating instruments to produce a variety of sounds that fill the imagination and bring music to family and friends.