Types of Musical Instruments and Their Vibrating Parts

musical instruments and their vibrating parts

Resonators are key components in musical instruments, vibrating to produce sound.

Resonators shapes are key factors in producing sound at specific frequency bands. Musicians choose their instruments to resonate at certain frequencies while dampening out those at others as much as possible.


Drums, which fall under the percussion category, produce sound by vibrating a stretched membrane (called membranophones ) attached to a shell, often called kettledrums, tubular drums, rattle drums, friction drums or mirlitons.

There is an enormous variety of drums on the market today, each boasting different characteristics. These differences come from using various materials in making drum shells; their diameters and depths; as well as the style and type of metal hardware installed onto them.

The shape of a drum shell also has an enormous impact on its sound qualities. A wooden drum produces warmer, more percussive tones than its plastic counterpart; additionally, deeper drums will produce more bass tones while shallower ones might work better for high-pitched notes.

Another factor affecting a drum’s sound is the type of skin used on its head. Most drum heads use polyethylene terephthalate skins made from thin plastic film that’s rolled out and cut into circles for perfect tuning.

Tension on drumheads plays an integral part in how an instrument sounds. Each head can be tuned to different tension levels; their difference determines its overall tone. If all top and bottom heads have equal tension levels, the drum sounds mellow while louder tones may occur from tighter-than-expected heads.

Drums have always been an essential element of music history and cultures around the world. Drums often form part of larger ensembles that also include cymbals. Additionally, drummers can utilize electronic kits with trigger pads in place of traditional drums and cymbals.


The flute is a type of musical instrument with an open-hole mechanism. It contains a mouthpiece and numerous keys which open and close various holes on its underside, such as cork-lined felt pads attached via spring tension to each key shaped like small tubes that opens or closes various holes on its underside.

Flutists perform by blowing air across the embouchure hole on top of their flute, causing air to vibrate within its tube at pressures that range between several tens of kPa and atmospheric levels.

When the player releases their left ring finger, they produce a note in the third octave – known as upper E – which results in an air oscillation waveform far more complex than that produced when their right ring finger plays the same octave note.

A flute contains tone holes formed through pulling and rolling or cutting and soldering processes. These tone holes may take on different shapes; most commonly round and rectangular holes.

Tone holes can serve as register holes, making it possible to play successive semitones without shifting key position. This technique may prove particularly helpful when playing notes such as C4 and D5, though its effects will tend to disproportionately affect even harmonics over odd harmonics.

Flute instruments with split E mechanism make playing the upper E of the third octave easier, making this instrument particularly helpful to beginners. Unfortunately, due to all their tone holes and intricate fingering, beginners may find these flutes confusing; furthermore they may require guidance from a music teacher in order to play successfully.


A violin is a string instrument, typically played by drawing a bow across its strings or plucking them with fingers. It is widely used in folk and jazz music styles alike.

A violin’s body consists of a hollow wooden tube that vibrates when air is drawn through it, creating an intricate mixture of sounds from different parts of its instrument. As such, its sound can vary widely.

Violins feature several vibrating parts that form its structure, including front and back plates, sides, and air in its interior. Each of these vibrating components has been specifically crafted so as to transmit vibrations from its bridge into resonant air waves around it, producing an overall resonant tone.

One such component is the flexible belly or top plate, known as the top plate, which allows it to vibrate up and down easily. It is connected to the stiffer back plate by means of a sound post which prevents collapsing under tension in strings as well as coupling vibrations of both plates together.

Bridge is another essential element, featuring multiple feet that enable different notes to be played on various strings. The treble foot, located beneath E string and closest to soundpost, can be more challenging to move up and down than bass foot.

Most violins feature four strings tuned G, D, A and E from lowest to highest; however there are some instruments with five or more strings, typically used in jazz and folk music, that can be distinguished from standard violins by having extra strings.


Saxophones are single-reed wind instruments ranging from soprano to bass range, each characterized by its conical metal tube with finger keys attached to leather pads. Antoine-Joseph Sax patented his first saxophone in Paris in 1846.

The saxophone is a conical bore instrument, meaning its tube gradually widens at its base to produce warmer and more melodic tones than cylindrical bore instruments like clarinet.

Saxophones are known for their distinctive vibrating reeds that produce different notes when vibrated in various ways. Traditionally made from cork, reeds for modern saxophones can now also be molded from wood or plastic for increased versatility.

Saxophones feature both reeds and mouthpieces with round or square evacuated chambers similar to clarinets. Their lower end has an upturned lower end while their upper ends contain detachable crooks equipped with flared tips designed to produce sound in a bell-like fashion.

The saxophone’s acoustic properties are far greater than those of its cousin the clarinet, producing sound at very low notes and producing sound from very deep notes. One of the most versatile wind instruments, it has been utilized in virtually all genres of music over its storied history.

Saxophones often feature a bell with an arch, giving the instrument its signature sound while making it easier to play. Although straight saxophones have been produced as novelty items, these instruments never became widely available or mass produced.

Modern saxophone production uses a shaping station tailored specifically for each type of saxophone, where metal tubes are modified using shaping techniques specific to that instrument type. After being modified, the tube is bent to give it its desired curve by either manually inserting into an appropriate die or by employing high-pressure water bending methods.


When the reed vibrates against lips it produces sound which resonates back through the resonating tube and is heard again as sound from its source. Reed, mouthpiece and body of clarinet work in concert to form this tone which differs depending on how long of an air column each cycle vibrating reed vibrates against.

Clarinets are composed of an instrument’s bell and various resonating tubes designed to produce specific tones; their lengths differ depending on its style and size.

To play clarinet notes, one must manipulate its keys and tone holes to alter the frequency of resonating column of air. You do this using your right hand; holding it by its upper joint (where the register key resides) while using your fingers on its lower joint for control of pitch changes.

Key systems vary greatly across cultures and countries, from hand-forged keys to modern instruments with die-cast keys that are stamped from molten alloy and then trimmed to trim the keys after stamping. Early clarinets used hand-forged keys while newer clarinets employ die cast keys stamped from molten alloy and then trimmed for trimmability.

These keys are then soldered together to form an interlocked group and polished.

Clarinet players often resort to using different fingering techniques in order to produce high notes that can be challenging and untuneable, leading them to employ various fingering patterns for these difficult high notes.

Skilled musicians can also access the third and fifth harmonics, producing notes an octave higher and four or flat diminished fifths above middle C respectively. Although difficult to attain, experienced players may be capable of producing these harmonics.