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Musical Instruments

modern, wind and stringed

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. The origin of many musical instruments dates back to the earliest times. Not a few of these ancient in struments are the prototypes of some of our modern ones. :Monuments recently unearthed at Thebes and in the tipper valley of the Nile con tain representations of harps and flutes: and the relation of our modern instruments to the old Egyptian models is not difficult to perceive. In the case of other instruments the relationship is not so easy to trace. Owing to the considerable modifications which they underwent in the course of centuries and in passing from one nation to another. Even so recent an instrument as our grand pianoforte ern be traced through its many and vital ehanges to the dulcimer (q.v.) known to the Arabs and Persians. Hand in hand with the evolution of the art of went the inven tion and perfection of musical instruimbilts. Many of these were extensively used and admired in their day. but soon were superseded, so that to-day our museums are tilled with various in struments of all times and nations preserved only as curiosities. Thus the large family of lutes is now entirely obsolete: and yet at one tins these instruments enjoyed the same popu larity as the pianoforte does to-day, and no orchestra was complete without them. If we

except the stringed instruments. it may safely he asserted that no instrument found in the modern orchestra is the same as it was a century ago. All the instruments of the wood wind family have been vastly improved; the natural horns and trumpets have given way to the improved valve horns and trumpets: the serpents and ophicleidcs have been entirely su perseded by the trombones and tubas. it may be said that the modern orchestra comprises the best and most efficient instruments now known, and the test for admission into this select family is sonority and beauty of sound. instruments are generally divided into four large groups, according to the manner in which the sound is produced, viz.: (1) stringed instruments, (2) wind instruments, (3) instru ments of percussion, (4) keyed instruments.

This latter group embraces the organ and piano forte, the former hieing really a wind, the latter a stringed instrument. Both differ from the other instruments of those groups in the use of a keyboard.