Ethnomusicology-World Instruments

Lesson ideas

  • Ethnomusicology = the study of world music
  • Explain that they just finished reviewing 4 families of the orchestra, and that ethnomusicologists have categorized the world’s instruments into 4 families, which are similar, but not the same.
  • Display pictures of instruments from around the world. As they think through what some of the instruments have in common, guide them to put them into 4 categories based on what vibrates on each instrument.
  • Introduce the 4 ethnomusicology terms:
    • aerophones = air vibrates
    • chordophones = strings vibrate
    • membranophones = stretched skin vibrates
    • idiophones = solid material vibrates
    • electrophorus = electronics
  • When the students build their own instruments, tell them to inform you what category/ies their instruments fit into. (I don’t require them to memorize these terms.)

Posters, Visuals, Handout, Worksheet / Assessment

(See downloads at bottom of page.)


(See downloads at bottom of page.)

5 slides

  (or available for purchase here)

  • Printable Visuals, Ethnomusicology Categories Handout, Identify Ethnomusicology Categories Worksheet / Assessment
  • PowerPoint

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