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There are a number of ways to classify musical instruments. In the West, they are divided into three categories of string, wind and percussion instruments. The classification used in the Folk Instrument Exhibition Room at the Min-On Music Museum follows the system that is now in general use, in which instruments are classified according to the source of their vibration, and also uses shape and other factors to produce more specialized groupings. This results in four categories.

The “Chordophone” is an instrument in which the source of vibration is stretched strings to produce sound. On display in the exhibition room is the rich wisdom and creativity of each instrument from countries representing a diverse array of ethnic, linguistic and religious traditions.