Musical Instruments of India

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12655

One man's music may be another man's cacophony. Different generations may disdain the other's music, which is often true of cultures. Step into India for some exotic instruments and sounds!


Musical Arts, World Cultures

Fine Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • How would you arrange the musical instruments pictured above if you owned a music store and were stocking the shelves?
  • By color, shape, cost, construction, or something else?

Like most other things in the world, musical instruments can be classified or grouped, according to shared characteristics.

Musical instruments can be grouped according to different qualities, like the materials used to make them, how the instruments produce sound, or other traits.

You are probably already familiar with many common Western musical instruments, like the guitar, the piano, the trumpet, the violin, and others used to make some of the most well-known popular classical music. These instruments and how they are classified have a specific history.

As you watch the video below about the families of musical instruments in the Western tradition and how they are classified, write down answers to the following questions.

  • What are the families of musical instruments?
  • What are three or four of the instruments included in each family?
  • What is the rationale for grouping each family that way?

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Collect your information and ideas, then reflect on the following questions and record your thoughts in a journal entry.

  • Why might it be useful to classify instruments into families?
  • What might be some other ways to classify them other than the one applied in the video you watched?
  • What instruments do you know that were not mentioned in the video? With which families would you group them?

The classification of musical instruments is useful for composers, who may select and group instruments for a particular piece or passage of music. Musicologists, or scholars who study the production and use of music worldwide, classify instruments to study their features better.

In the Got It? section, expand your understanding of classification by examining the musical instruments of India!

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