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Songs featuring Idiophones from Smithsonian Folkways

Idiophones are defined as any instrument that creates sound by vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. They are one of the oldest types of musical instruments, bone instruments have been found as early as the Paleothic Era, from about 2.5 million years ago to 12,000 B.P., but today, they are still performed in the percussion section of an orchestra or in a wide variety of small music ensembles. Idiophones are typically made of glass, metal, ceramics, or wood, and they are utilized all over the world including Africa, Europe, and Asia. Listen to recordings of Idiophones, including cymbals, xylophones, and Jew’s harp from the Smithsonian Folkways Collection.