instrument gallery logo

Welcome to our gallery of world musical instruments. Below you will find a number of instruments that have been part of Randy Raine-Reusch's collection. There are instruments that are in other collections as well. Almost all of these instruments have been in active use. We appreciate any and all comments, corrections and feedback that you may want to send us. We are reformatiing these pages, so excuse the changes.  Please click on the blue links to see the pages.

Spike Fiddles and Bowed Rebabs
Spike fiddles are found throughout Africa and Asia, characterized by a thin body or spike and a small resonator close to the tail, and played upright in the lap. Traditionally made with rattan strings they now usually have metal strings. Bowed rebabs, common throughout Europe and Asia, have much larger bodies with either hide or wood tops. They are characterized by cutaways for the bow much like on the violin.

There are three main categories of mouth flutes: oblique, transverse and endblown. Oblique flutes are common throughout west Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa. They are often a single hollow pipe with finger holes. They are played by placing the top end of the pipe to the lips are an oblique angle and blowing softly with a thin stream of air. Turkish versions have mouthpieces, yet follow the same principle. Transverse flutes are presently found throughout the world due to the orchestral 'silver' flute. Versions made from bamboo, or wood are common to many cultures. Three subsections of endblown flutes are fipple or duct flutes; panflutes; and 'free-air' flutes. Duct flutes are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and are characterized by a fipple that directs are to a sharp edge as in a recorder.  Pan flutes are a either an open or closed ended hollow pipe that is blown into from an open end, like blowing into a pop bottle. Endblown 'free-air' flutes are common throughout Asia, parts of Africa and South America,  the best-known example is the Japanese shakuhachi. Although now very rare and thought an oddity, nose flutes were a very important part of many cultures throughout the Pacific region and parts of Asia. Instruments included so far on this site are:

  • Dizi - China
  • Fujara - Slovakia
  • Maceno - Bolivia
  • Muhusenoi - Venezuela
  • Ney - Egyptian - Egypt
  • Ney -Persian - Iran
  • Ney - Turkish - Turkey
  • Ohe Hano Ihu - Hawaii
  • Pensol- Malaysia
  • Selingup - Sarawak
  • Selingut - Sarawak
  • Tongali - Sarawak
  • Lutes and Plucked Rebabs
    The lute family is usually divided into long-necked and short-necked lutes, but also included are boat lutes in this listing as well. For centuries the lute family and the rebab family have been crossfertilizing and now clear classification is sometimes difficult. Lutes traditionally had pear shaped bodies and hard wooden tops. Plucked rebabs often had similar shaped bodies but with a skin top. However there are presently so many crossovers between the two families it is often hard to distinguish them, and both can be fretted or unfretted. Boat lutes are a much different category and unrelated in that they are usually carved from single piece of wood with an open back. Often they are large enough to sit a small child in, hence the name. The following boat lutes, lutes and plucked rebabs are found on this site:

  • Biwa - Japan
  • Dutar - China
  • Charango - Peru, Bolivia
  • Dombra - Kazakhstan, Russia
  • Gambus - Malaysia
  • Gimbri - Morocco
  • Oud - Middle East
  • Pipa - China
  • Rabab - Afghanistan
  • Ruan - China
  • Sape - Sarawak
  • Percussion
    Percussion includes things that are struck, scraped, rubbed, shaken, twirled , whipped, etc. The limits to percussion are those of the human imagination. The following percussion instruments are found on this site:

  • Ahoco - Ivory Coast
  • Aslatua - Ghana
  • Balofon - West Africa
  • Changgo -Korea
  • Dan Da - Vietnam
  • Deerskin Drum - N. America
  • Djembe - W. Africa
  • Dumbek - Egypt
  • Ektara / Gopiyantra - India
  • Fanfxinggu - China
  • Kalimba - Africa
  • Kayamba - Kenya
  • Khomok - Bengal
  • Kiromboi - Malaysia
  • Kyi zi - Burma
  • Mbira - Zimbabwe
  • Tortoise Rattle - N. America
  • Udu - Nigeria

  • Free Reeds
    Free reeds are wind instruments with fibre or metal reeds usually placed flush with the sound pipe. Most free reed mouth organs can produce the same pitch with inhalation or exhalation, while the single pipe free reeds usually only sound with either inhalation or exhalation. Free reed instruments are found throughout East and Southeast Asia, tracing their origins to China. Chinese historical documents date the existence of free reed mouth organs in 1500 BC, with mythological sources dating them much earlier. These early instruments were made with gourd resonators, bamboo pipes and fibre reeds, like the modern day naw. However there are two metal wind chambers from the 4th century BC, which demonstrate an early use of other materials for wind chambers. These ancient wind chambers also show that the pipes were placed in two rows identical to the present day mbuat, and early sheng (called he or yu) also had pipes arranged in two rows. The circular arrangement of pipes found on the modern sheng and sho seem to have come later. Single free reed pipes have remained primarily a folk instrument until recently, and as a result there exists little documentation discussing their history or origins. However, there are numerous instruments found in China and the northern regions of Southeast Asia. Free reed instruments were virtually unknown in the West until Pierre Amiot introduced a sheng to European instrument makers in the 17th Century, which resulted in the invention of the harmonica, accordion, concertina and reed organ. The following free reed instruments are found on this site:
  • Ala - Vietnam
  • Bawu - China
  • Ding tac ta - Vietnam
  • Dja mblai - Laos, Vietnam
  • Fangsheng - China
  • Gaeng - Laos
  • Hulusi - China
  • Keluri - Sarawak
  • Khaen - Thailand
  • Lusheng - China
  • Mbuat - Vietnam
  • Naw - Thailand
  • Pi joom - Thailand
  • Sheng - China
  • Sheng: Keyed - China
  • Sho - Japan
  • Sumpoton - Sabah
  • Harps, Lyres, and Musical Bows
    Harps originated in Africa and come in three main styles:frame harps, arched harps and angeld harps. Lyres are also Afican in origin and come with either wooden or skin tops. Musical bows, sometimes referred to as bow harps, can be string bowed or plucked and can either use the mouth, a gourd or the ground as a resonator.

  • Chipendani - South Africa
  • Ekidongo - Uganda
  • Kora - West Africa

    I have separated reeds and free reeds as they have quite different origins. Reeds are divided into single reeds, e.g. the clarinet family, and double reeds e.g. the oboe family. Single reeds seem to trace their origins to the Egyptian midjweh, and double reeds to the Middle Eastern or North African shenai family. Some double reeds are in fact multiple reeds having many layers like the Indian shenai. Double reeds are found with two body styles: conical, e.g. the oboe or shenai, and tubular, e.g. Chinese guanzi or Armenian duduk. The following reeds are found on this site:

  • Arghul - Egypt
  • Bin - India
  • Duduk - Armenia
  • Guanzi - China
  • Midjweh - Egypt
  • Piri - Korea
  • Shenai - India

    Ocarinas or Vessel Flutes
    Vessel flutes are commonly called ocarinas are found in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, Central and South America. Their greatest numbers and most diverse styles are definitely found in the former Mayan and Aztec regions of Mexico, Central and South America.  These come in open hole and fipple varieties, some playing only one note and others with complete scales. Ocarinas were found in Ancient China as well, often in the shape of eggs or gourds suggesting that these might be their origins. Africa vessel flutes are usually made from either gourds or dried fruit. The following vessel flutes are found on this site:

  • Cedar Whistle - N. America
  • Mayan Bird Whistle - C. America
  • Samba Nose Whistle - Brazil
  • Xun - China

  • Horns
    Horns are found around the world used for in a variety of situations from sacred ceremonies, to military and celebratory music. They often were used as signals or for communication at a distance due to their volume. Most horns were originally made from either animal horns (hence the name), hollowed out plants or trees, or seashells. The following horns are found on this site:
  • Didjeridu - Australia
  • Dung Chen - Tibet
  • Dung - Tibet
  • Shofar - Israel

    Jaw Harps or Jews Harps
    Jaw harps or jew’s harp are found in many cultures around the world, and were a popular 'personal' instrument, in that they could be carried in a pocket easily and played whenever the player has an inkling for music. Most jaw harps are very quiet instruments played alone or in duets, however some European metal jaw harps are made very loud to be played in ensembles with other instruments. Although many sources claim that the term Jews harp has no racial connotations, in certain regions it did carry racial connotations,  so this site will use the term jaw harp. Included are mostly bamboo or palm leaf instruments not found elsewhere on the web, and some very rare instruments collected throughout Asia. There are two main categories to these jaw harps, those that are activated by plucking the tongue or lamella, and those that are tension harps activated by pulling a string. In many cases both of these types can be found in the same region, or within close proximity to each other. The following jaw harps are found on this site:

  • Ankuoc - Kampuchea
  • Ata - Thailand
  • Bungkau - Sabah
  • Dan Moi - Vietnam
  • Genggong - Bali
  • Gerudeng - Sarawak
  • Giwong- Philippines
  • Jinggong - Sarawak
  • Rangguin - Malaysia
  • Kongtha - Bhutan
  • Kouqin - China
  • Kubing - Mindinao
  • Morsing / Morchang - India
  • Mukkuri - Japan
  • Ruding - Sarawak
  • Ruding - Sarawak
  • Subing - Palawan
  • Zithers, Psalteries, Dulcimers
    Zithers are string instruments without a neck, where the strings run the full length of the soundboard. There are a number of sub-categories including: plucked, bowed and fretted. Zithers have multiple origins and it is sometimes difficult to trace them clearly. The Asian bowed zither family seem related to the long (plucked) zither family. The origins of the prominent Asian long zither family, e.g. the koto or the zheng, may be found in the rustic Oceanic tube zither family. The tube zithers in Madagascar are related to those in Borneo. The African mat and trough zithers may have developed to become the Persian zithers. The northern European fretted zither family, from which the Appalachian mountain dulcimer derives, may have come from the psaltery family (plucked) which finds its roots in Persia, or from the Asian zither family via Siberia. The hammer dulcimer family from which the piano developed, comes from the Persian santur. Instruments found on this site are:

  • Ajeang - Korea
  • Bro - Vietnam
  • Chake - Thailand
  • Citera - Hungary
  • Dan Bau - Vietnam
  • Dan Tranh - Vietnam
  • Goong - Vietnam
  • Ichigenkin - Japan
  • Inanga - Burundi
  • Kayageum - Korea
  • Kecapi - Indonesia
  • Koto - Japan
  • Lutong - Malaysia
  • Mvet - Cameroon
  • Nigenkin- Japan
  • Pin Pia - Thailand
  • Qin - China
  • Yomkwo - Nigeria
  • Yingkou key changeable zheng - China
  • Zheng or guzheng - China