Musical Instruments

Terje Isungset on the ice horn

These Musical Instruments Are All Made of Ice

Chill out at Norway's Ice Music Festival this February

Drummers in Benin

Big Data Traces the World's Most Distinctive Musical Traditions

An analysis of 8,200 recordings from 137 nations shows nations in sub-Saharan Africa have the most unique rhythms and melodies

Mónico Márquez plays a Hohner button accordion with Venezuelan band Mestros del Joropo Oriental at the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

The Remarkable Rebirth of the Button Accordion

Musician Gilberto Reyes redesigned the instrument to meet the needs of Latino musicians

Virginia Tech, whose Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) was instrumental in bringing the festival to fruition, exhibited on Day 1 a cutting-edge robotic fabrication system.

These Collegiate Innovators Are at the Vanguard of Technology and Art

A massive three-day festival spotlights the achievements of the Atlantic Coast Conference

In the late Bronze Age, ca. 500-450 BCE, bells were made in sets that rang different notes according to size.

A Rare Collection of Bronze Age Chinese Bells Tells a Story of Ancient Innovation

These rarely played ancient bells are newly analyzed with their acoustics remastered and digitized for a new exhibition at the Sackler Gallery

A typical day for three musicians in the Medici Court. This portrait, of three unnamed musicians, was painted circa 1687.

Three Things to Know About Francesca Caccini, the Renaissance Musical Genius You’ve Never Heard Of

The first female opera composer, Caccini worked for the super-rich-and-powerful Medici family

Sidney Bechet, one of the early jazz greats, made his name on the clarinet, not the cornet or trumpet.

Listen to This First 1920s Recording By One of the Kings of Jazz

Sidney Bechet was one of the first big jazz soloists, and brought the soprano saxophone into the jazz fold

Illustration of the cat piano from 1657.

Music or Animal Abuse? A Brief History of the Cat Piano

In the early 1800s, the katzenklavier was hailed as a treatment for distracted people

Frescoes inside the Brömserhof, the building where Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum is housed.

This Medieval Knight’s Manor Houses Over 350 Mechanical Musical Instruments

From tiny music boxes to the bus-sized Orchestrion, Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet in Germany's Rhineland is the perfect musical detour

Interior of Historic RCA Studio B today.

Play Paul Simon's Piano or Croon Into Elvis' Mic at These Seven Historic Recording Studios

Take a tour through Americana music history

This Strad's wood is different from modern-day maple.

Mineral Baths May Have Given Stradivari Their Signature Sound

Turns out the famous violins really are different from modern instruments

Al Capone's criminal record in 1932. Despite a litany of charges, he ended up being nabbed for tax evasion.

This Letter Tells What Al Capone Was Up to in Alcatraz

Two words: prison band

Playing the Bagpipes Can Literally Kill You

Known as “Bagpipe Lung,” the reaction can wreak havoc on your respiratory system

Photographer Captures the Enduring Grandeur of the Steinway Piano Factory

Christopher Payne's new book strikes a chord

Most experiments using the Large Hadron Collider visualize their data, but now this information can be translated into music in real time.

Tune Into the Smashing Sounds of Large Hadron Collider Data in Real Time

Grooves made by groundbreaking physics

Louis Armstrong's historic trumpet was a "great playing" instrument, says Wynton Marsalis, after his performance last Fall at the Smithsonian.

To Really Appreciate Louis Armstrong's Trumpet, You Gotta Play it. Just Ask Wynton Marsalis

It’s not always the white-glove treatment; some artifacts live on through performance

Johnny Gandelsman (violin), Colin Jacobsen (violin), and Nicholas Cords (viola) performing with fellow Silk Road Ensemble musicians

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble Celebrates Our Differences Through Song

"Sing Me Home" is a multicultural feast for the ears

Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Electronic Music Pioneer Clara Rockmore

The theremin virtuosa would have been 105 years old today

This Machine Makes Music With Marbles

The absurd-looking device is a marble-powered, one-man band

A trumpet recovered from the USS Houston undergoes treatment at the Naval History and Heritage Command's Underwater Archaeology Branch laboratory on the Washington Navy Yard, Dec. 31, 2013.

A Trumpet Retrieved From a World War II Shipwreck Could Still Hold Its Owner’s DNA

Conservators are trying to identify the sailor who once played it

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