Musical instrument classification

In organology, the study of musical instruments, many methods of classifying instruments exist. Most methods are specific to a particular cultural group and were developed to serve that culture's musical needs. Culture-based classification methods sometimes break down when applied outside that culture. For example, a classification based on instrument use may fail when applied to another culture that uses the same instrument differently.

Variety of recorders from Martin Agricola's 1529 Musica instrumentalis deudsch (English: German Instrumental Music)

In the study of Western music, the most common classification method divides instruments into the following groups:

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