Around the World in 80 Musical Instruments

Around the World in 80 Musical Instruments

Nancy Dickmann


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How on Earth do you play a bass that's 3.5 metres tall?

How can you play a theremin without touching it?

Can you turn a cave's stalactites into an organ? (spoiler alert: yes, you can!)

This beautifully-illustrated book is a visual celebration of the huge variety of instruments played across the world, from those you know to those you almost certainly don't. Grouped into percussion instruments, wind, and string, as well as the weird and wonderful that defy categorization, readers will discover how they are all related to each other in 'families', and enjoy exploring the musical family tree as a fold-out poster.

Around the World in 80 Musical Instruments covers traditional instruments from various cultures, such as the gamelan and mbira, as well as the creations of modern artists and musicians, such as the Wintergatan Marble Machine and the eerie-sounding yaybahar. Readers will even discover a band that plays exclusively on instruments fashioned from fresh vegetables, and makes the offcuts into soup to serve to the audience!


  • PercussionCajon, Maraca, Mbira, Monkey stick, Stalactite organ, Piano, Steelpan, Gong, Standing bell, Skrabalai, Castanets, Treshchotka, Cantaro, Taiko, Talking drum, Shekere, Daf, Jaw harp, Cimbalom, Ferrinho, Guiro, Gamelan, Xylophone
  • String: Violin, Cello, Erhu, Imzad, Jouhikko, K'ni, Earth harp, Celtic harp, Begena, Koto, Appalachian dulcimer, Ukulele, Guitarron, Charango, Guitarron chileno, Mouth-bow, Balalaika, Bouzouki, Oud, Sitar, Tanbur, Kora, Hurdy-gurdy
  •  Wind: Dizi, Nose flute, Siku, Ateneben, Ocarina, Calliope, Algaita, Balaban, Nadaswaram, Trumpet, Serpent, Alphorn, Digeridoo, Putatara, Vuvuzela, Saxophone, Mijwiz, Alboka, Kazoo, Sheng, Hulusi, Bagpipes, Accordion
  • Weird and Wonderful: Wheelharp, Yaybahar, Vegetables, Melody road, Marble machine, Adapted instruments, Glass armonica, Hydraulaphone, Sea organ, Theremin, Moog synthesiser, Zeusaphone




Nancy Dickmann:

Nancy Dickmann grew up in the USA, but she has now lived in England long enough to think that cold and rain are normal. She is an experienced children's non-fiction writer, a Mastermind champion, and a classically trained pianist who now teaches piano to children and dabbles in cello, guitar and ukulele. Nancy is based in Oxfordshire.