When I went to primary school in Australia in the 1980's, I was told by my Canadian music teacher that this instrument was a gXXXXXXXXXXX.

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Now when I look online - I'm told this device is a 'tone block'. When I look up gXXXXXXXXXXX - I find it is a different device entirely.

My question is: Are the names of musical instruments globally standardised?

  • 2
    I would call it guiro tone block (because it has this features that can make the scratch sound) to distinguish with tone block which is smooth. But I might be wrong. – Bebs Jan 14 '19 at 10:55
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    Anyway, I don't understand what you mean by "standardised"... and why don't you want to reveal the word used by your teacher? – Bebs Jan 14 '19 at 10:56
  • By standardised... do you mean a same word regardless of the language or the country? Because Indonesian people refer "violin" as "biola", or German people refer "piano" as "klavier". – Andrew T. Jan 16 '19 at 9:54
  • That said, reverse searching your image revealed "mano percussion 07 3/4 inch long double ended guiro tone block", which concurs with Bebs' interpretation for scratch sound like other guiro tone blocks – Andrew T. Jan 16 '19 at 9:58

No, they are not standardized. Most instruments exist for so long, that the natural language names of them were very established before anyone thought on internationalization. Only some newer instrument names, e.g. Theremin and Synthesizer are used more globally, since the name in the language of the inventor was taken over.

Other names, like Euphonium, simply translating to sounding well, were differently assigned in different times. Others, like horn are applied to vast ranges of instruments, (practically everything, which can be blown into) so that additional details are required.

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