What Are Some Examples of Idiophone Instruments?

An Idiophone instrument creates sound via vibrations through the body of the instrument itself, with the most well known examples of such instruments being the cymbals on a drum kit, the xylophone or a bell. Idiophones most commonly fall into the percussion family, although many are capable of producing notes as well.

Idiophone Instruments and Use in Music

Indiophones feature in almost all kinds of music, from rock, jazz, and pop, to classical and folk. There are eight basic types of idiophone:

  • Concussion
  • Stamping
  • Stamped
  • Shaken
  • Friction
  • Percussion
  • Plucked

One example of a plucked idiophone, also known as a lamellaphone, would be the Jew’s Harp and Kalimba. The material that an idiophone is made of can also have a major impact on sounds and tones. In general, an idiophone will be made from wood or metal, although stone is also often used in the construction of some instruments as well.

A xylophone for example, uses wood for the percussive blocks, whereas the vibraphone uses metal. Although both instruments are almost identical in terms of melodic capabilities, they both have sharply contrasting sounds. A xylphone produces a much softer tone, when struck. A vibrophone has a much sharper sound thanks to the use of metal. As a result, both instruments are used for different musical purposes.