Electrophone

''For the early UK telephone information system, see Electrophone (information system)


The fifth top-level group, electrophone category was added to the Hornbostel Sachs musical instrument classfication system by Sachs in 1940, to describe instruments involving electricity. Sachs broke down his 5th category into 3 subcategories: 51=electrically actuated acoustic instruments; 52=electrically amplified acoustic instruments; 53= instruments in which make sound primarily by way of electrically driven oscillators, such as theremins or synthesizers, which he called radioelectric instruments. Francis William Galpin provided such a group in his own classification system, which is closer to Mahillon than Sachs-Hornbostel. For example, in Galpin's 1937 book A Textbook of European Musical Instruments, he lists electrophones with three second-level divisions for sound generation ("by oscillation," "electro-magnetic," and "electro-static"), as well as third-level and fourth-level categories based on the control method. Sachs himself proposed subcategories 51, 52, and 53, on pages 447-467 of his 1940 book The History of Musical Instruments. However, the original 1914 version of the system did not acknowledge the existence of his 5th category.

Present-day ethnomusicologists, such as Margaret Kartomi (page 173), and Terry Ellingson (PhD dissertation, 1979, p. 544) suggest that, in keeping with the spirit of the original Hornbostel Sachs classification scheme, of categorization by what first produces the initial sound in the instrument, that only subcategory 53 should remain in the electrophones category. Thus it has been more recently proposed that, for example, the pipe organ (even if it uses electric key action to control solenoid valves) remain in the aerophones category, and that the electric guitar remain in the chordophones category, etc..

Thus, in present-day ethnomusicology, an electrophone is considered to be only musical instruments which produce sound primarily by electrical means. It is usually considered one of five main categories in the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification (though it is not actually present in the scheme published in 1914).

Any instrument which produces sound purely by electric means is an electrophone, but the term is no longer applied to instruments where electricity is only used to amplify a sound produced by conventional measures (so that the electric guitar, for example, would now be classified as a chordophone, not electrophone).

See also: Electronic musical instrument

 Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification  


Idiophone | Membranophone | Chordophone | Aerophone | Electrophone

List of musical instruments by Hornbostel-Sachs number
The name Electrophone was used for a telephone-distributed audio system which operated in the United Kingdom between 1895 and 1926, relaying live theatre and music hall shows and, on Sundays, live sermons from churches via special headsets connected to conventional phone lines.
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The theremin (originally pronounced [ˈteremin] but often anglicized as [ˈθɛɹəmɪn] [1]), or thereminvox
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Synthesizer is generally any kind of electronic musical instrument, or electronic device capable of producing or manipulating audio tones, such as musical notes, through audio signal processing.
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A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. In principle anything that, produces sound, and can somehow be controlled by a person playing it, can serve as a musical instrument.
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Sound is a disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a wave (through fluids as a compression wave, and through solids as both compression and shear waves).
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Electricity (from New Latin ēlectricus, "amberlike") is a general term for a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. This includes many well-known physical phenomena such as lightning, electromagnetic fields and electric currents,
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Hornbostel-Sachs (or Sachs-Hornbostel) is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914.
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At various times, and in various different cultures, various schemes of musical instrument classification have been used.

The most commonly used system in use in the west today divides instruments into string instruments, wind instruments and percussion instruments.
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A chordophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points. It is one of the four main divisions of instruments in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification.
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electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces its sounds using electronics. In contrast, the term electric instrument is used to mean instruments whose sound is produced mechanically, and only amplified or altered electronically - for example an electric
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Hornbostel-Sachs (or Sachs-Hornbostel) is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914.
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At various times, and in various different cultures, various schemes of musical instrument classification have been used.

The most commonly used system in use in the west today divides instruments into string instruments, wind instruments and percussion instruments.
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idiophone is any musical instrument which creates sound primarily by way of the instrument vibrating itself, without the use of strings or membranes. It is one of the four main divisions in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification.
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A membranophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by way of a vibrating stretched membrane. It is one of the four main divisions of instruments in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification.

Most membranophones are drums.
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A chordophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points. It is one of the four main divisions of instruments in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification.
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An aerophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by causing a body of air to vibrate, without the use of strings or membranes, and without the vibration of the instrument itself adding considerably to the sound.
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Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification  

Idiophone | Membranophone | Chordophone | Aerophone | Electrophone

List of musical instruments by Hornbostel-Sachs number
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