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Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia [Paperback]

The Diagram Group
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 30 1997 Little Book Series
"One of the nicest things.is that you don't have to be a musician to love it. It's a browser's delight."--The New York Times

It's the best-looking musical encyclopedia ever! Using a completely visual approach, this ultimate reference has over 4,000 drawings showcasing the evolution of instruments--and music--from primitive whistles to electric guitars (complete with fuzz box and pedal). Exquisite illustrations accompany each entry, with painstaking detail and attention to structure, function, and decoration. Most extraordinary is the range of instruments included: orchestral, popular, classical, ancient, and folk. Classed by family groups, they are cross-referenced with material on geographical distribution and historical periods. Plus scores, diagrams of correct playing techniques, major figures, and other fascinating information provided by over forty researchers, writers, and illustrators, in cooperation with 200 scholars from 20 countries!

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Excellent Illustrated Guide ! Sept. 15 1998
This book is the very best guide to the instruments of the world I have ever seen. I bought it back in the 80's when it was first published, and I still use it today when I need to see what a Kalimba from the Sudan might look like (or other such unusual specific). The Diagram Group is the fantastic assemblage of artists that illustrated and produced this most handsome volume. Each page is a masterpiece of design and "infographics" and, although printed in two-color only, shines with a level of detail and expertise you will not find elsewhere.
I can't say enough about how good this book is. If you have any reason to enjoy the vast number of musical instruments mankind has created, and if you want to know the hows, whys and wheres about musical instruments, then get this book! I think it's so good that I'm ordering a new one to replace my dog-eared copy.
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I have found several instances of bad scholarship in this book concerning instruments of which I have some knowledge (The section on harpsichords, for example, is total trash). I am therefore unwilling to trust it in areas where my knowledge of a specific instrument group is limited. Usually in books of this sort you can forget the words and look at the pictures; not so here - they're a combination of bad line drawings and blotchy derivations of photographs used to skimp on printing costs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and strong on native instruments... Jan. 17 2001
By J. Huie
Encyclopedia showing every musical instrument you can think of, from its primitive origins to modern orchestral versions. No photos, but good detailed drawings that show multiple variations of native instruments. Minimal but clear discussion on construction, method of playing, sound production etc. Attractive layout, thorough and apparently scholarly. Originally British, published in 1976.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complete and Exhaustive for the modern Samplist April 14 2001
I am a digital samplist, and therefore need to be able to get an idea of what any instrument in the world may look like so I can associate an image with sounds in my libraries. This book has really helped me get a handle on world instruments. I recommend it highly for those needing such documentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative Nov. 22 2002
By Keri
I saw this book in my local library and liked it so much I had to go out and buy a copy for myself.
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