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Ch 5: Understanding Instruments

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons and quizzes to further your understanding of instruments. Learn about various instrument families and instrumental performance techniques.

Understanding Instruments - Chapter Summary

Learn about the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families through this informative chapter on understanding instruments. Through our brief video lessons, you'll learn about similarities and differences among orchestral instruments, as well as how the various instruments work. Also, learn about instrumental performance techniques for the following:

  • String instruments, such as the cello, double bass, harp, violin and viola
  • Keyboard instruments, such as the carillon, electric organ, piano and synthesizer
  • Wind instruments, such as the bassoon, clarinet, flute, piccolo and saxophone
  • Percussion instruments, such as the crash cymbals, handbells, slit drum, steelpan and xylophone

We engaged professional educators with experience in the music field to develop this chapter on understanding instruments. Each lesson has three parts: a video presentation, a written transcript and a self-assessment quiz. The video presentations typically last no more than 10 minutes, and you can jump to main points using our convenient video tags. If you absorb more information by reading, you can use the written transcripts as your main learning tool.

To gauge your understanding of instruments, take the short, multiple-choice quiz that accompanies each lesson. These quizzes can be completed as many times as you need to be sure you've gained all you can from this chapter.

5 Lessons in Chapter 5: Understanding Instruments
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion

1. Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion

There are so many instruments in the orchestra! What similarities and differences can one find between them? How do the instruments work? Find out about the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families in this lesson!

The String Family: Instruments, History & Facts

2. The String Family: Instruments, History & Facts

This lesson looks at the history, construction, and function of the string family instruments of the Western orchestra. The strings form the largest orchestral section and have been called the 'heart' of the modern orchestra.

The Piano: Instrument Definition, Characteristics and Usage

3. The Piano: Instrument Definition, Characteristics and Usage

The piano is central to so many of today's music genres, but did you know that it first became popular during music's Classical Period? In this lesson, we'll look at the history of the piano, find out how it works, and learn about the role it played in Classical-era music.

What are Percussion Instruments? - Types & History

4. What are Percussion Instruments? - Types & History

Did you know that percussion instruments include more than just drums? In this lesson, you will discover facts about various percussion instruments, their history, and the ways in which they are played. Then you can test your knowledge with a short quiz.

The Woodwind Family: Instrument List & Overview

5. The Woodwind Family: Instrument List & Overview

In this lesson, you will learn what types of common instruments belong to the woodwind family. You'll also understand the traits of woodwinds and how the instruments produce their unique sounds.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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