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Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears…

-Shakespeare, The Tempest is a project to gather and promulgate resources in the the field of musical instruments as objects of study (organology). A business model is currently under development. Please note our Disclaimers about sites outside the domain, disclosures of affiliate business relationships, and our Privacy Statement regarding information you may provide to us.

The Organologist (sm) is conceived and maintained by Dwight Newton (aka the Organologist). My professional background includes work in both media libraries and public libraries, and administrative support for a state government arts agency and, currently, a university school of music. I have worked in the private sector, academia, and county and state governments. I am responsible for creating the first web sites for an Alabama county library system, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and a handful of private interest sites. I am a member of the American Musical Instrument Society and the Kentucky Peer Advisory Network, a roster of arts management consultants sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council and administered by Arts Kentucky. I have a Master of Arts degree in Musicology from the University of Kentucky (1981).

I have been a musical instrument maker and researcher since around 1968. I am committed to the arts and culture as central to the purpose of human life. I believe in the potential of technology to further the imagination and to bring people together. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on my work here. You may also read my complete résumé if you're interested.


It is the goal of to provide trustworthy information for the benefit of our users. Our qualifications, business relationships, possible conflicts of interest, and so on, are provided up front for anyone to evaluate. Our function is to serve and to educate. We ask that users who benefit from our service consider making a donation through direct giving, or by patronizing the businesses with whom we have affiliate relationships. Think of our service as a music lesson. It is appropriate to compensate experts for their assistance.

Editorial Policies and Service Mission

Our goal is to provide assistance to people seeking information about musical instruments so that they may find their own answers. We accomplish this by providing the most useful and interesting original content possible, by evaluating and organizing pointers to external resources, and by being a friendly neighbor upon whom seekers may call for help when all esle fails.

History is a spinoff of its parent website, was begun in 2000 as a playground and online resume for Dwight Newton (the Organologist) and contains material of both personal and business interest. As Oriscus Musical Instrument Information has become astoundingly popular, Dwight decided to move that content to this new site with improved infrastructure, better standards compliance, and more capacity. Thus was was born at the beginning of 2006.

What's an organologist?

Organology is the study of musical instruments (not just organs). It can include the study of instrument history, instruments used in different cultures, technical aspects of how instruments are constructed and produce sound, and musical instrument classification. Because musical instruments are also cultural objects that are made, bought, and sold, organology can also include specialized areas of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, economics and manufacturing. The Organologist at tries to cast as broad a net as possible so any question is welcome.

The Organologist is here to provide broad information about musical instruments of all kinds, all places, and all eras. Start with the Web Resources links for general categories of internet resources. If your question is more specific, try searching the Q&A database of over 1500 questions asked by users from all over the world.

Our goal is to educate and inform. We are most successful when we have helped you find your own answers. If you have tried everywhere else and you just can't find an answer to your question, we will be happy to correspond with you personally. The Organologist is a qualified musicologist with years of experience as a librarian, a network of expert resources and easy access to a good university music library. (Ths University of Kentucky has the largest book endowment of any public university library in America.) If we can't answer your question, we will do our best to give you with something useful (or at least entertaining), whether it's another website, an expert in your area, or even advising you to give up (sometimes there simply is no answer).

A selection of instruments in our collection.


Not shown:

-Dwight Newton
The Organologist


The content of is copyrighted by Dwight Newton/ unless otherwise noted. No content may be republished or copied in any way without explicit permission except as allowed under fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Specific practices which are explicitly prohibited include:

Technical Issues

We try to adhere to current XHTML standards and cascading style sheets. Some older (and even some current) browsers do not support the new standards very well and may not render pages as well as newer ones. We have tried to make sure the content is still clearly readable in any browser, though it may not be as pretty in some than in others. Most browsers have a way to turn off styles. If you have any problems reading any part of this site, the content should still be readable with styles disabled. Please let us know if you are not able to view any page so we can address any problem of which we may not be aware.

Where is

The location of a web entity is largely irrelevant, but I find it interesting to know where in the world people are. is currently managed in Lexington, Kentucky, the heart of the Bluegrass region; home of thoroughbred horses, bourbon whiskey, burley tobacco, great music, great writers and a great university. The administrative home of the web hosting service (and, presumably, the web server) is in Massachussetts.

Our mailing address is:

PO Box 8225
Lexington, KY 40533-8225
© 2001-2008 D.Newton/