Instrument tuition (also: organology ) is a department of musicology which is by natural and social scientific methods of research, the documentation of the teaching of musical instruments. As academically decorated expertise referred to, inter alia, the collection of descriptions of instruments, their playing styles, their development over time as well as all attempts at classification.

Instrument tuition includes all historical and modern (ie recent ) musical instruments, both those of the European-influenced art music tradition, folk and popular music as well as all modern and old sound-producing instruments of non-European music traditions. The latter is also referred to as ethno - organology ..

The focus and the research methods are varied. The doctrine of the use of the instruments in compositions and arrangements ( instrumentation ) is called on Instrumentation or Instrumentation customer. In overlap with the musical acoustics of the building and the resulting tonal characteristics are investigated in the technical instrument customer. Organologists are predominantly active in musical instrument museums, music colleges and universities. Many manufacturers of musical instruments do research.


The history of the study of instruments is nearly as old as the instruments themselves early as the 2nd millennium BC, the Chinese classified the instruments on the material used. (Stone, bamboo, silk, etc. ). In the European Middle Ages, there was a classification according to the type of music genres ( with / without vocals, dance, etc.). In modern times, the tone was already divided according to the type, but systematically inconsistent. ( Wind instruments, string instruments, stringed instruments, ... ) see also instrument families.

The Hornbostel -Sachs system used throughout the world today comes from the Viennese Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs Berlin who worked on the " collection of old musical instruments at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Berlin ." They even called it an attempt to bring the world's existing musical instruments in a system. It was published in 1914 in the Journal of Ethnology. It is based fundamentally on the system of Victor -Charles Mahillon, curator of the Brussels Konservationsmuseums, from the year 1888 1948 it was by Hans -Heinz Draeger added to the group of electric Phone. The main groups of Hornbostel -Sachs system based primarily on the type of tone, the tone generator ( oscillator ) in the group of chordophones but on the shape of the sound and the arrangement of the strings.

1 ) Idiophone

2 ) Membranophones

3 ) chordophones

4 ) AeroPhone

5 Electric Phone

Especially for the ethnomusicology are the approaches for a natural system of musical instruments by Herbert Heyde of great importance. Since the digitization and virtual musical instruments are part of the research.