This first comprehensive history of musical instruments, this book ranges from prehistoric times to the 20th century. It traverses five continents and every stage of evolution, from primitive rattles and bull-roarers to the electric organ. Author Curt Sachs, one of the world's most distinguished musicologists, combines rich scholarship with personal insight in a remarkable fusion of music, anthropology, and the fine arts. Beginning with the earliest manifestations of rhythm, Sachs explores the association of sound with primitive rites of fertility, life, death, and rebirth. He traces the evolution of folk and ritual instruments to tools of entertainment and art, the rise of a professional class of singers and musicians, and the musical revolution that flowered during the Renaissance. Sachs chronicles the foundation of the modern orchestra during the baroque period and its subsequent development, concluding with the modern-day rise of electric and jazz instruments. A pleasure to read as well as a valuable resource, this classic work is enhanced with 24 plates and 167 illustrations.