The first musical instruments

Posted on September 5th, 2020 by Milos Sajin

Music is known as the universal language. No matter where it comes from, everyone is capable of perceiving the feelings it evokes. Knowing for sure when our ancestors first developed music is still a matter of debate. What we do know is that the history of musical instruments goes back to the beginning of human culture.

Can you imagine then what could have been the first musical instrument created by man?

Although there is no exact date for the creation of the first musical instrument, archaeological finds suggest that there was music from primitive times and that percussion and wind instruments were the first to appear.

The voice was probably the origin of the man’s musical expression through the songs together with the accompaniment of hands and feet following a rhythm, such as a horn to signal success in hunting, or a drum in a religious ceremony. We know that the oldest known drum dates back 30,000 years when man used the stretched skin of animals to create sound.

From archaeological sites in Europe, bamboo flutes, whistles, brawlers and tubes made of short bones have been found that produced sound when blown through them. 

The discovery in the cave of Hohle Fels, Germany, of a flute carved from vulture bones more than 35,000 years old, could be the oldest musical instrument created by man. It also demonstrates the presence in Europe of sociable and creative humans, who preceded the Neanderthals.

Some consensus among the scientific community suggests that the first flutes date from about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that it is impossible to determine the specific time of the invention of musical instruments, since many of the first musical instruments were made from animal skins, bones, wood, and other non-durable materials.

Over time, in each society new musical instruments were created and they were adapted to different areas of life. Here are some examples:

The Jewish shofar, a wind instrument made from a hollow animal horn, is still played on Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and must be heard by the congregation.


Since the ancient Chinese empire, the instruments were identified with the cardinal points, with the seasons and with natural phenomena. The use of the bamboo flute or dizi in traditional Chinese music became very popular.



In medieval Europe, trumpets, long associated with military operations, had a ceremonial role in the establishment of European kings and nobles and were in fact considered a sign of nobility.

The harp is known to have been used from early times in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India and was imported to China after the end of the 4th century AD.

In Greece, the standard plucked instrument was the lyre, known in its fully developed form as kithara (or sitara in India). Years later, the Arabs added a neck to the well-known kithara, and baptized the instrument as an alud (lute in Spain), which would later become a vihuela with the arrival of Romans and Arabs to Spanish lands. first musical compositions for guitar.



Drum ensembles reached extraordinary sophistication in Africa, and the small, hand-beaten drum is of great musical importance in West Asia and India. The native cultures of the Americas have always made extensive use of drums, as well as other beaten and shaken instruments.

Bowed instruments came to characterize Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. By the 16th century, the European violin was already distinguished in two ways: the viola (leg violin) and the violin (arm violin). The violin or violin was the smallest of the family, the tenor was simply called viola, while the bass became known as violoncello (diminutive of violone).

Of all the oldest instruments, the organ showed the most remarkable development from the High Middle Ages to the 17th century. Created in ancient Greece in the 3rd century b.C, this instrument evolved from small portable designs for smaller churches to increase in size and carry overlapping keyboards, placing them in boxes like the way we know today.



The clarinet or “small trumpet” emerged in the late 17th century and, like the oboe, gave rise to a family that extended to a double bass clarinet in the 19th century and later to a sub-bass. Clarinets have been in the orchestra since approximately 1780.

In 1845, the Belgian instrumentalist and luthier Antoine-Joseph Sax, built a family of valve instruments called saxhorns, using the cornet as the basis for his invention. Sax invented the saxophone, a single reed instrument like the clarinet but with a conical tube.

By all historical accounts, the Rickenbacker Frying Pan (named for its resemblance to a banjo with a frying pan) was the first electric guitar invented in America by the German immigrant Adolph Rickenbacher during the 1920s. The problem for guitarists in those years was the volume, since the acoustic guitar could not be heard well when used in large bands and orchestras with singers. Years later, the development of the concept of electricity and radio technology facilitated the creation of the instrument we know today.



In the 60s different styles of music were created, as many artists began to experiment with the use of synthesizers. One of the first to appear was BUCHLA in 1963, by composer Morton Subotnick. Elements of piano and percussion were combined with electronic sounds, thus abandoning the traditional music of always.

It’s clear that humans and music have a deep and long connection that goes back through the centuries. Music is here to stay, and as people continue to play and invent, new and wonderful instruments continue to emerge.


If you are interested in music and learning an instrument, browse our menu and see what sort of sound interests you. Visit our teachers pages and get to know them too! You may be the next inventor of a new age of music!


Wikipedia, BBC Mundo, LiveScience, EuropaPress, Britannica, Lacarne Magazine

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Introduction to Banjo

Posted on May 12th, 2020 by shineuser

The banjo, a musical instrument of 4, 5, 6 or even 10 strings, is made up of a wooden ring about 35cm in diameter and covered by a patch that can be made of plastic (in its modern style) or leather (in its traditional version) ). Its sound is one of the most unmistakable and characteristic that exists.

The banjo was developed in the United States during the 19th century. Reminiscent of various instruments from Africa, the banjo developed into what we recognise today in the plantations of the American south and across the Caribbean, and even become an emblematic symbol of slavery. Although it was the African-American musicians who explored and played all its rhythmic possibilities, the banjo was created in a blended culture and it quickly became a characteristic instrument of American music.

During the 1800s and the booming plantation era of the Antebellum South, the instrument slowly filtered through the population. It became a widely used instrument in rural America. Grotesque representations of African culture sprang up during what has been labeled the “minstrel” era, where skits and songs performed by white musicians in “black face” popularised banjo playing.  So much so that there was even a “banjo craze” during the 1860s. Many of the white performers creating the minstrels shows were Irish and in turn this is how the banjo also became a characteristic instrument of Irish music. After some time, the banjo lost its “raunchy” associations with the minstrel shows, and the style of playing changed somewhat too.

The banjo has a fascinating history in America, you can read more about it on Wikipedia or online.

In many parts of Africa there are very similar instruments, from their construction to their sound.

The original, or first, version of the banjo has an opening at the rear (openback). In the 20th century, the design of the instrument was renewed with a wooden resonator that serves as a closure. The latter was called the bluegrass banjo, with greater volume and resonance than its first version.

A beautiful traditional banjo musician is Doc Watson playing “The Cuckoo bird”:

Currently, both types are still in force and choosing one or the other depends on the musical style being performed. Also today we can find a great variety of different instruments that were created from the original banjo, varying the length of the neck, the number of strings, and combining it with other instruments.

In 1890 the banjo became the leading musical instrument in traditional American music. In both country music and jazz, the banjo is the characteristic instrument. Even the Charleston and the Foxtrot use this instrument in some special variants.

The modern banjo has a variety of shapes in four or five string versions (also a six-string version, tuned and played just like a guitar!). The banjo is usually played with a quick strum, however it is also possible to find many styles.

If you are interested in how the modern banjo is played and sounds, don’t miss this video of The Dead South doing “In Hell I’ll be in good company”:

Its tuning is with friction pins or gears. Its strings are currently usually metallic creating those typical twanging notes, while those who prefer more melodious or traditional sounds choose nylon or leather strings.

Bill Keith, a five-string banjo player, made one of the greatest contributions to the stylistic development of the instrument. By varying other styles, he created what would later become known as the melodic or Keith style.

Here is a video of Bill Keith playing “Caravan”:

If you are interested in learning to play the banjo you can take classes with excellent teachers.
You can contact us to coordinate a first free trial class!

And if you have some tools at home, you can be encouraged to create your own banjo and experience its sound for yourself.

Here we leave you a link that guides you step by step to do it:


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New Instrument Rental Website Launched

Posted on August 1st, 2018 by shineuser

The aim with the new website was to streamline the process of renting instruments. We focused on improving user experience which included better product listing, better overall design, smoother e-commerce process and a lot more content. We also looked at how we could be better at providing pre-sale and post-sale support to our clients.

For those of you who don’t know about our rental services we offer instrument rental services to event companies, wedding organisers, parents renting instruments for school children, professionals playing in concerts and individuals that are in Barcelona for holidays. From Digital Pianos, Acoustic Guitars to Speakers you name it we have it.

Although this was a major upgrade our work continues. There are several areas that we want to improve further and are currently working toward that so stay tuned.

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