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Forgotten Sounds

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course will explore the history and development of Western musical instruments as seen through the musical instrument collection of the University of Edinburgh. We will consider the development of instruments in each family (keyboards, strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion) culminating in a better understanding of how music and musical instruments have changed over time.

Course Details

Content of Course

This course will be a mixture of guided tour, hands-on activities, demonstrations, and discussion using the instrument collections of Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh. The facilitator for each segment will discuss the history of different instrument families and demonstrate instruments when appropriate.


1. Keyboard instruments.

2. Woodwind instruments.

3. Brass instruments.


4. Bowed strings.

5. Plucked strings.

6. Percussion.

Teaching method(s)

Lecture, demonstration and discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify instrument families and understand how they developed;

  • Explain how each family type makes sound;

  • Understand the social and technical factors that impact the development of musical instruments;

  • Make connections between world history and music history.


Class Handouts

Class handouts will be provided as appropriate.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.