Grinnell College Music Instrument Collection is a collection of standard instruments used in music making today throughout the cosmopolitan world; earlier historic forms of many of these same instruments; and a generous sampling of instruments used in musical traditions around the non-Western world. The collection features music instruments from different African countries 28 from the West, 20 from East, seven from North, six from Central Africa and one from South Africa.
Each instrument has a page dedicated to it that includes a brief essay about its contexts of usage, design, musician-instrument interface, and history, and most of these pages include image and audio or video illustrations. Visitors can also learn about the standard ensemble combinations of instruments found in the Western tradition as well as many non-Western traditions.
The collection has navigational options which were built into the site to allow visitors to find information about specific instruments and to freely explore connections between instruments from around the world. Through its searchable database, Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection is intended to provide its users with visual, sonic, and written information about a broad sampling of acoustic musical instruments of both Western and non-Western origins. Its primary audience is envisioned as students in undergraduate general education music courses (Western music history/appreciation classes, introductory ethnomusicology/’world music’ courses).