*General Classification System for Musical Instruments

Classifying musical instruments is important for scholarly investigation and discourse. However, world music cultures have different ways of doing so. Early in the twentieth century, Curt Sachs and Erich M. von Hornbostel devised a comprehensive system for categorizing instruments globally. The Sachs/Hornbostel system is based on the natural acoustical properties of instruments and simply describes what is doing the vibrating. Further refinement developed by applying a numerical logic similar to the Dewey Decimal System that describes details of construction and other variances between instruments. The four broad categories are: chordophones, aerophones, membranophones, idioophones