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If you could hear them, maybe you'd guess what they are without even looking. We've made it tougher. Instead, look at the pictures and read the clues to see if you can identify these devices that you beat, shake, squeeze, scrape, blow, or hum into to produce a noise that's often (but not always) deemed "musical." Give up? The answers are on the facing page.

1 Mozart so loved the low tones of this woodwind that he wrote a concerto for it. He wrote it for his friend Anton Stadler, who played the 'basset horn,' still a type of this instrument.

2 Invented in medieval Europe and popular in the music of Handel and Bach, this instrument's fame faded in the 1800s. Today, its soft sounds are back - in squeaky renditions of 'Hot Cross Buns.'

3 An English physicist invented this cousin to the accordion in 1829. Its compact design uses buttons instead of a keyboard.

4 They've announced yuletide tunes since the 1800s. Early ones were made by pouring hot metal around a ball of molasses and sand with the jinglet imbedded inside.

5 Its inventor, who named it after himself, was reviled and threatened by fellow instrumentmakers in 1840s Paris. It wasn't until jazz musicians adopted it in the 1920s that it really took off.

6 Demand for plant material to make camouflage mats created a postwar crisis for musicians: They needed the plants to make noise! A player of this instrument might have cried 'Oh, no!' sounding a lot like the name of it.

7 In Europe, stringed instruments were at first only made to be plucked. The idea of a horsehair bow may have been brought from Asia via Arab traders.

8 The earliest image of one is on the wall of a Mesopotamian tomb from 2700 BC. But the 'key' development came in 1788, when Charles Clogget of London invented the valve.

9 Ancient civilizations rejoiced by shaking this noisemaker. In the 1800s, it jingle-jangled its way into orchestras and, in 1965, into the lyrics of a Bob Dylan hit.

10 Without these, some instruments just can't be beat. Most of them are made of durable hickory, for obvious reasons.

11 Alabama Vest of Macon, Ga., came up with it in the 1840s. Its ancestors include the African horn mirliton, which used a cow horn and a vibrating membrane of ... spider-egg cases!


(1) Clarinet. Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major was written to be played on a basset clarinet. (2) Recorder. In Bach's time (the first half of the 1700s), recorders commonly came in many sizes, some quite large. Today's mostly modest-size versions are often found in elementary school music classes. (3) Concertina. (4) Jingle bells or sleigh bells. (5) Saxophone. Adolphe Sax, a Belgian, invented the instrument in 1841. A 'jazz' mouthpiece was developed later to make the instrument louder. (6) Oboe. Woodwinds (except flutes) require reeds made from the Arundo plant (Giant reed or Persian reed), native to the Mediterranean. France's reed fields were cut to make large mats for aerial camouflage in World War II. (7) Violin. (8) Trumpet. (9) Tambourine. (10) Drumsticks. Maple and European hornbeam are also used, but American hickory stands up the best. (11) The kazoo. A wax paper, metal, or plastic membrane vibrates to make the noise. The kazoo wasn't mass-produced until 1914.

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