Term applied to instruments that produce sounds from the material of the instrument itself without the assistance of reeds, strings, or other externally applied resonator. An idiophone produces sounds by one of the following methods:
1. Concussion Idiophone
striking together two objects capable of vibration
Claves, Cymbals, etc
2. Friction Idiophone
rubbing the vibrating object
Glass Armonica, Musical Saw, etc.
3. Percussion Idiophone
striking the vibrating object with a mallet, hammer, stick or other non-vibrating object
Wood Block, Bell, Gong, etc.
4. Plucked Idiophone
plucking a flexible tounge
Jew's Harp, Thumb Piano, Music Box, etc.
5. Scraped Idiophone
scraping the vibrating object with a stick or other non-vibrating object
Ratchet, Güiro, Washboard, etc.
6. Shaken Idiophone
shaking the vibrating object
Maracas, Pellet Bells, etc.
7. Stamped Idiophone
striking an object on a surface to vibrate the surface Stamping pit, stamping board, etc.
8. Stamping Idiophone
striking an object on the ground or hard surface to vibrate the object
Marching Machine, etc.
See also percussion instruments
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Noun (music) a percussion instrument, such as a cymbal or xylophone, made of naturally sonorous material
An idiophone is any musical instrument which creates sound primarily by way of the instrument's vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. It is the first of the four main divisions in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification (see List of idiophones by Hornbostel-Sachs number). In the early classification of Victor-Charles Mahillon, this group of instruments was called autophones.
Most percussion instruments which are not drums are idiophones. Hornbostel-Sachs divides idiophones into four main sub-categories. The first division is the struck idiophones (sometimes called concussion idiophones). This includes most of the non-drum percussion instruments familiar in the West. They include all idiophones which are made to vibrate by being hit, either directly with a stick or hand (like the wood block, singing bowl, steel tongue drum, triangle or marimba), or indirectly, by way of a scraping or shaking motion (like maracas or flexatone). Various types of bells fall into both categories.
The other three sub-divisions are rarer. They are plucked idiophones, such as the jaw harp, amplified cactus, kouxian, dan moi, music box or mbira (lamellophone / thumb piano); blown idiophones, of which there are a very small number of examples, the Aeolsklavier being one; and friction idiophones, such as the singing bowl, glass harmonica, glass harp, turntable, verrophone, daxophone, styrophone, musical saw, or nail violin (a number of pieces of metal or wood rubbed with a bow).
Other classifications use six main sub-categories: Concussion idiophones are instruments that produce sound by being struck against one another. Percussion idiophones produce sound by being struck with a non-vibrating foreign object. Examples of non-vibrating objects are mallets, hammers, and sticks. Rattle idiophones are shaken. Scraper idiophones are instruments that are scraped with a stick or other foreign objects to give off a sound. Plucked idiophones produce sound by plucking a flexible tongue from within the instrument itself. Lastly, friction idiophones are rubbed to increase vibration and sound intensity.
Idiophones are made out of materials that give off unique sounds. The majority of idiophones are made out of glass, metal, ceramics, and wood. Idiophones are considered part of the percussion section in an orchestra.
A number of idiophones that are normally struck, such as vibraphone bars and cymbals, can also be bowed.