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Instrument Families in Music

The instrument families are made up of four main families: woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion. The pictures below include some of the instruments in each musical family. The instruments have an audio file to listen to the instrument sound. Scroll down the page to see all of the instruments.

Woodwind Family - Woodwind instruments produce a sound by blowing into a mouthpiece. Some woodwind instruments use a reed to make the sounds play.

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Brass Family - Brass instruments are played by 'buzzing' the lips into the mouthpiece.

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Percussion Family - Percussion instruments are struck with sticks or mallets. Some percussion instruments are pitched, such as the xylophone, which can play different notes or sounds.

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String Family - You will find more String instruments than any other type in the orchestra. Most string instruments are played using a bow or by using the fingers to 'pluck' the strings.

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Keyboard Family - The acoustic (grand, upright) piano is also considered a percussion instrument. The other keyboard instruments below are electronic instruments.

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