What is Instrument: Definition and 91 Discussions

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.
Musicians play some string instruments by plucking the strings with their fingers or a plectrum—and others by hitting the strings with a light wooden hammer or by rubbing the strings with a bow. In some keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord, the musician presses a key that plucks the string. Other musical instruments generate sound by striking the string, such as the piano.
With bowed instruments, the player pulls a rosined horsehair bow across the strings, causing them to vibrate. With a hurdy-gurdy, the musician cranks a wheel whose rosined edge touches the strings.
Bowed instruments include the string section instruments of the Classical music orchestra (violin, viola, cello and double bass) and a number of other instruments (e.g., viols and gambas used in early music from the Baroque music era and fiddles used in many types of folk music). All of the bowed string instruments can also be plucked with the fingers, a technique called "pizzicato". A wide variety of techniques are used to sound notes on the electric guitar, including plucking with the fingernails or a plectrum, strumming and even "tapping" on the fingerboard and using feedback from a loud, distorted guitar amplifier to produce a sustained sound. Some string instruments are mainly plucked, such as the harp and the electric bass. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, string instruments are called chordophones. Other examples include the sitar, rebab, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and bouzouki.
In most string instruments, the vibrations are transmitted to the body of the instrument, which often incorporates some sort of hollow or enclosed area. The body of the instrument also vibrates, along with the air inside it. The vibration of the body of the instrument and the enclosed hollow or chamber make the vibration of the string more audible to the performer and audience. The body of most string instruments is hollow. Some, however—such as electric guitar and other instruments that rely on electronic amplification—may have a solid wood body.

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  1. Bob Walance

    Music Equal temperament vs instrument harmonics in music

    Our brains are apparently musically happy when different individual notes are harmonically related to each other. In our music system, the fundamental frequencies of the different notes on a musical instrument such as the piano or the guitar are related to each other in such a way as to allow...
  2. Erwinux

    I Calculating the thermal coefficient between the insulated interior of a telescope instrument package and the cold ambient air outside

    I've built an insulated chamber to protect a sensitive instrument at freeze temperatures in the winter. The instrument is mounted on a telescope, so the heat inside the chamber will slowly dissipate in the ambient. A digital PID thermostat is used to keep the temperature at a safeguard level...
  3. M

    Non-hydrocarbon based instrument lubricants

    Are there any non-hydrocarbon based lubricants that can be used on instruments like micrometer threads? I know silicone grease exists, but it doesn't have the film strength to protect the metal. Are hydrocarbons the only game in town?
  4. A

    Musical instrument training software

    Similar to Flight and Power plant training simulation softwares, is it possible to design and develop musical instruments training software simulators? Examples : Guitar,Piano,Violin,Trumpet, Drums,Saxophone etc. If Not, What are the challenges for designing and developing Musical instruments...
  5. F

    How to select the required accuracy of an instrument?

    If I need to make a measurement to check compliance e.g. measuring component dimensions. How do I know what accuracy is required for the measuring instrument if the tolerance is not specified? For example, during an engine rebuild, the manufacturer specifies the valve stem diameter to be...
  6. F

    Instrument accuracy and comparison measurements

    Hello, All measurement instruments have a finite accuracy. For example, a thermometer may provide a temperature measurement that is +-2F from the "actual" and true temp value. For example, if the reported measurement is 70F, the actual temperature may be between 72F and 68F. That said, let's...
  7. S

    Instrument using two concave lenses

    Is there maybe instrument using two concave lenses? Tried to google it but found nothing. Thanks
  8. S

    What is zero error of a measuring instrument ?

    Is this correct? "The systematic error in a measuring instrument due to non-uniform or wrongly marked graduation due to which a measurement may be less or greater than actual measurement is called zero error of the measuring instrument". Another one: The measuring instruments are combination...
  9. manareus

    Instrument name for water sampling and analysis

    Hello, thank you for your attention in my thread. I'm the head of Youth Science Club on one of the many High School in Indonesia, I got many members and I want to guide them for doing water sampling and analysis. In the history of my high school, no one is able to do water sampling and...
  10. Tone L

    Optical Measurements of the Sun's radiance and ray tracing

    Summary: This is a hobbyist project I am working on. I am building an instrument to measure radiance from the sun at 500 nm, using optically filtered photodetector with bandwidth ± 10 nm. This type of science can be called Sun Photometry, so let's get to it! Geometry for Optics: The sun has an...
  11. W

    I Which instruments are used to determine the composition of dark matter?

    Hello, I have a general understanding of how we are aware of the presence of dark matter in the universe and the fact that we still don't know exactly what is that dark matter is made of. I would like to know which instruments are used to try and find an answer. For instance, from what I...
  12. e101101

    Optics Problem: What optical instrument does this?

    Im thinking that this is a telescope, but I am having a lot of trouble answering this question. If the plane waves arrive at different angles, wouldn't the image be distorted?Would the lenses possibly be spherical because of this?
  13. G

    B The Hubble WFC3 instrument has stopped working

    Not much known yet, NASA is assembling a team to look into it. The Wide Field Camera 3 is the camera used for most off the "pretty pictures". https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/wide-field-camera-3-anomaly-on-hubble-space-telescope
  14. Mark44

    Ready to Master the Charango? Get Yours Today!

    Today I finally received the charango I ordered back in October. The eBay seller is in Bolivia, so it takes about 3 weeks to get from South America to where I live, not to mention that it has to go through customs. A charango is a small stringed instrument in the guitar family, about the size of...
  15. BillTre

    Music Pre-Roman Musical Instrument Found Near Rome

    Twelve years ago a stray artifact was unearthed near Rome. It is now claimed to be a musical instrument, possible similar to either a lute or a lyre. Here is a NY Times article on it (with recordings from some reconstructions) as well as some other ancient instruments.
  16. A

    Error of an instrument

    Homework Statement For my lab report I am asked to calculate the error of a couple of measurements which I did with a lux meter. I know that the lux meter has tolerance(or accuracy?) 5%. The instrument is digital and it's last digit is 0.1. The maximum reading is 47.5 lux. Homework Equations ...
  17. D

    Instrument to measure the frequency of sound

    I need an instrument to measure the frequency of the sound of a vibrating violin string for a high school research essay. I tried using a Labquest and a vernier microphone to measure but it was way too imprecise. I need the instrument to very accurate in measuring Hz as the nature of my essay...
  18. J

    PMMC measuring Instrument reading

    Homework Statement Homework Equations For question 14 PMMC measures average value MI measures RMS value The Attempt at a Solution I think PMMC should give 0 V But book answer is B i.e 1 V (where am I wrong?) and MI should give 1.414 V. For this book answer matches my answer.
  19. I

    Instrument and springs attached to it

    Hi! I am trying to solve a textbook problem without any success. Fortunately, I found someone that solved it but there is one step that I don't get. Here is a figure showing the problem : https://ibb.co/koatCa First, we have (I get this part since I found a similar use of it in the book)...
  20. R

    Pursue a career in nuclear fusion or instrument control?

    So, I have a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communications (outside of US) and I wanted to pursue work in nuclear fusion so I had applied for an MS in nuclear engineering in the US. I have gotten admission in the University of Florida. Anyway, I was sharing this information elsewhere on...
  21. MartinTheStudent

    I Do I use instrument error or arithmetic mean error?

    Hi. Let's say I have data which I have measured. For example I measured a length of an object and the measurment was repeated 5 times. An instrument which I used to measure has an error, value of which I know. My options are to either to just go with the instrument error (probably not, right?)...
  22. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Instrument Engineer Jim Hardy - Comments

    TheAdmin submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Instrument Engineer Jim Hardy Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  23. Mzzed

    I Instrument Line Function of a Spectrometer

    I realize that in a spectrometer the spectral line being viewed will be the result of the actual spectral line plus an instrument line function as well (as seen in the linked image). What I don't understand is how this is produced? Someone tried explaining this to me once before but their...
  24. King_Silver

    Height of Instrument (Leveling method)

    I recently did a level survey however am a little stumped over a calculation. I am trying to calculate the Reduced Level using the "Height of Instrument" method. I know how to do the calculations etc. so I am not asking for this to be done for me. It is more of a general question about this sort...
  25. K

    Instrument Design to Deliver Energy to 50mm Circle

    I didn't know where to put this, I figured I'd start here since this area sees traffic that other areas might not see. Someone can move it if there's a better section for it. I'm thinking of an instrument design that has a light path as follows: UV-Vis light source, monochromator or filter that...
  26. anferoar6

    What is the name of this Laboratory Instrument?

    What is the name of this Laboratory Instrument?
  27. N

    Instrument Error or Standard Deviation

    I had a question about how to properly perform error analysis on a series of distance measurements. I need to find the relative error in the distance. I was wondering, should I use the instrument uncertainty divided by the measurement (in this case, it would be 0.005m / (mean measurement)). Or...
  28. ulfurh

    Help with electromagnetic musical instrument design

    Hello everyone, For the past 4 years I have been working on a new type of musical instrument that fuses together elements from electronic music into the acoustic realm. The instrument consists of 26 strings inside a wooden enclosure that are actuated (or "bowed") by the use of electromagnets...
  29. C

    Gas chromatography question -- instrument not turning back on....

    My gas chromatography instrument ran out of air while cooling down and now it won't turn on, nor the computer it is hooked up to? Can this be fixed?
  30. D

    How do I tell what harmonic an instrument is producing?

    Homework Statement An instrument is producing a tone, such as a D4. If I know the frequency of the tone, the length of the instrument but nothing else, how can I find the harmonic at which the tone is produced? The instrument is an open tube. Homework Equations v=wavelength*frequency[/B]...
  31. Loran Pittman

    The Earth Harp is it a possible acoustic instrument?

    I found this forum while searching for information on William Close Earth Harp. There is a closed thread here on the subject though it seems some are still in doubt one could tease sound from a long string device. While William created his Earth Harp in 1999, Ellen Fullman created her long...
  32. I

    History Discovering a Hang Musical Instrument: Ancient Sounds, Modern Times

    So I just discovered this awesome musical instrument today and thought I'd share it the forum. What do you think? I really like the sounds of this instrument, makes me think about ancient civilisations, not sure why... Almost like Aztec's or something.
  33. G

    Spaceship launching instrument package

    Homework Statement A spaceship is sent to investigate a planet of mass M and radius R. While hanging motionless in space at distance 5R from the center of the planet, the ship fires an instrument package with speed v0 (at angle ##\theta## with the line passing through the spaceship and the...
  34. D

    Electric Instrument & Conductor in Electric Field

    I was shuffling through the previous years question papers & I got this question ! '' A sensitive instrument is influenced by the strong electric field. Write a possible way to prevent this effect. Why is the electric field normal to the surface? '' I am not sure what the answer it. But this...
  35. physicsquestion

    Tension of a string attached to an instrument inside rocket

    Homework Statement Suppose the rocket is coming in for a vertical landing at the surface of the earth. The captain adjusts the engine thrust so that rocket slows down at the rate of 2.40m/s2 . A 6.00-kg instrument is hanging by a vertical wire inside a space ship. I don't know if there are any...
  36. Ganesh Ujwal

    Has Orion's touch-screen instrument panel been influenced by Dragon's v2 panel?

    Has Orion's touch-screen instrument panel been influenced by Dragon's v2 panel? (or vice-versa) I recently read about Orion's touch-screen instrument panels designs, and remember seeing this first on the Dragon v2 unveiling (with a 4 panel design instead of 3). Was this design influenced in...
  37. Dembadon

    Music If you could learn to play any musical instrument

    I hope to learn to play the piano someday. I love how it can fit into almost any genre of music, and I'm always moved by its fullness of sound and the variety of moods it can create all by itself. Lacking any constraints (money, time, etc.), what musical instrument would you learn to play and why?
  38. M

    Wave reflection in Closed End Wind Instrument

    Hi, I am a little confused with the phase change that occurs in closed end wind instruments. According to http://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/flutes.v.clarinets.html, the phase does not change when the sound wave reflects off the closed end of the instrument. I thought that the phase changes by 180...
  39. Drakkith

    Medical Medical Instrument Cleaning

    From this article: Can anyone tell me why handwashing an instrument before putting it in the cleaning machine is a no-no?
  40. L

    Instrument Calibration Intervals: Self-Calibration Accepted?

    Just out of curiosity why is the calibration interval 1yr for lab instruments like DMM, scope etc. Why not 2 years. Also, you use a higher accuracy bench DMM to calibrate a hand held DMM. Instead of getting calibration done by an outside agency, Why not calibrate the handheld DMM...
  41. davidbenari

    Forming a standing sound wave in a wind instrument

    So I've had this question bugging me ever since I saw sound at physics class: How is it possible to match the resonance frequency of a column of air in an organ pipe and form a standing sound wave by simply blowing air into the column? The main reason I see this problematic is because I...
  42. R

    What is this strange instrument made of brown and grey metal strips?

    Hi, physicsforums! I have a dilemma: there seems to be several strange instruments in our class that nobody is able to identify. The description is as follows: One strip is a brown metal (copper?) and the other is a grey metal (invar? iron?). (I'm making guesses at the metals due to the...
  43. U

    Lines resolved by the instrument

    Homework Statement A spectroscopic instrument can resolve two nearby wavelengths λ and λ+Δλ if λ/Δλ is smaller than 8000. This is used to study the spectral lines of the Balmer series of hydrogen. Approximately how many lines will be resolved by the instrument. The Attempt at a Solution...
  44. B

    How to find the proportion of people who play an instrument

    I have data outlining the number of people who play a musical instrument and data outlining the total number of people in each city play an instrument....population 255......1 009 924 179......3 500 048 556...... 957 293 etc. how do I write the proportion of people who play an...
  45. I

    Instrument project and report

    So I have to make an instrument and write a report but I'm stuck on the report. It says to -Uses all the wave unit vocabulary correctly(things like frequency,amplitude,wavelength,type of waves etc.), at grade level, and specific to your instrument. eg. standing wave, damping and -Includes...
  46. R

    Can an instrument ever have an accuracy better than its repeatably?

    I have a dosing pump spec. sheet from Milton Roy (a fairly reputable manufacturer) which says: Steady State Accuracy: +/- 1% Repeatably: +/- 3% Is this possible? Can an instrument be more accurate than it is repeatable? Intuitively, this didn't make sense to me. The spec. sheet...
  47. R

    Accuracy of a flow measuring instrument

    I have an instrument whose spec. sheet mentions Accuracy as 2% of FSD. The scale runs from 0 to 1000 Litres per hour. Does this mean if I check the instrument versus a gold standard calibrating instrument at a flow of 500 Litres per hour (which is our typical flow) the absolute error can be...
  48. E

    Designing an instrument with strain gauges

    I am busy studying engineering and I have a subject that requires us to design and build a working instrument using strain gauges. We have a workshop at our disposal and all necessary materials and electronics. At this moment my group and I are stuck with coming up with an idea for an...
  49. C

    How to combine instrument uncertainty with deviation

    Here's my problem: I have been using a digimatic indicator tool to measure the thickness of a somewhat uneven film. The digimatic indicator has a digital screen that shows up to 1 um, but according to specifications the accuracy is only 3 um. To account for the uneveness I have taken 10...
  50. K

    Detect Underground Water: Capacitance Instrument

    is there a instrument used to detect under ground water using capacitance principle