Instruments – Tutorial part 2

Here is a concise tutorial, consisting of seven parts and therefore divided over seven individual posts, about the instruments, composing, orchestrating, and recording/production process of music. It is intended for beginner composers, orchestrators, sound-engineers, home-studio owners. And it is not intended merely for making electronic music. It is intended as a good place to start with music and to learn a few tricks that will save time and help them along the learning music composition.

Overview individual posts of this tutorial

  1. Introduction making Music
  2. Instruments
  3. Musical Synthesis
  4. Learning about Instruments
  5. Home Studio
  6. Mixing and Editing
  7. Really useful Links

Music harmony and music rhythm are carried through to the audience by musical instruments. A musical instrument can be anything from 2 stick being banged together to a piano or a voice. For the purpose of making music, a musical instrument can be anything that makes a sound. However, the most well-known and universally accepted instruments are divided into the following categories:

  1. Accordions
  2. Bass Guitars
  3. Brass (Trumpets, Trombones, Tubas)
  4. Drum Kits
  5. Electric Guitars
  6. French Horns
  7. Harmonica
  8. Piano/Keyboards (Grand Piano, Honkey Tonk, Electric Piano, Organs, Harpsichords, Clavinets)
  9. Pitched Percussion (Timpani [kettle drums], Xylophone, Vibraphone)
  10. Saxophones (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone)
  11. Strings (Violins, Violas, Cellos, Double Basses)
  12. Synthesizers (Pads, Leads, FX, Soundscapes)
  13. Unpitched Percussion (Bongos, Congas, Triangle, Snares, Bass Drum, Cymbals, Tambourines, Shakers)
  14. Vocals
  15. Woodwinds (Piccolos, Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, Bassoons)

Each musical instrument has to fulfill some role in the ‘musical soup’.

Roles of Musical Instruments

Each musical instrument will play a certain role in your creations. There may be multiple instruments playing the same role, however sometimes, they might clash. There are several roles that need to be filled:

  1. Controller of rhythmic drive (usually filled by the drum kit or the rhythm guitar).
  2. Provider of harmonic foundation (usually filled by the bass guitar, or any bass instrument).
  3. Provider of harmony (Filled by any tuned instrument(s) – often more than 1 instrument).
  4. Provider of melody (Filled by any tuned instrument; often vocals).

Enough theory; let’s move on to the practical aspect of making music. Let us explore how these elements can be joined together to make ‘soup’.

Ross Unger,

‹ Introduction making Music

Musical Synthesis ›

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