Triangle (musical instrument)

Triangle 001.jpg
ClassificationHand percussion, idiophone
Timbrebright, complex
Playing range

Single note, open and closed


The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals such as beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve.[1] "It is theoretically an instrument of indefinite pitch, for its fundamental pitch is obscured by its nonharmonic overtones."[2]


Ancient and medieval period

Triangle has a prestigious history. The triangle in its ancient form had rings strung to the lower bar.[3] Yet the first mention we find of a triangle in tenth-century manuscript, is of an instrument without rings. A triangle without rings is depicted in the King Wenceslaus IV Bible (late fourteenth century) and again on a mid-fifteenth-century window in the Beauchamp Chapel, St Mary's, Warwick. This latter triangle with its open corner has a curiously modern appearance, except that at the top angle the steel bar is twisted into a loop through which the thumb of the performer (an angel) passes. Like its ancestor the sistrum, the triangle was clearly used for religious ceremonies, quite widely in mediaeval churches.The triangle occurs more often than any other instrument except the cymbals in paintings of Bacchic processions and similar occasions, and angels will often be seen singing and playing a triangle at the same time.[3]

Renaissance and romantic period

With the development of the genre—opera, the instrument triangle has been widely used in opera works. In many of the operas by Mozart, Beethoven's 9th symphony and Liszt's bE major piano concerto, triangle has been used.[4]

Contemporary period

Triangle is considered as a tool to polish the melody with powerful but clear sound. Especially in contemporary work, triangle's beauty has been further discovered and, as a percussion instrument, it has been more widely used from chamber music level to orchestral level.

Other Languages
български: Триангел
bosanski: Triangl
dansk: Triangel
Deutsch: Triangel
eesti: Triangel
فارسی: مثلث (ساز)
galego: Ferriños
한국어: 트라이앵글
norsk: Triangel
norsk nynorsk: Triangel
română: Trianglu
Simple English: Triangle (instrument)
slovenščina: Triangel
српски / srpski: Триангл
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Triangl
suomi: Triangeli
Tiếng Việt: Kẻng tam giác
中文: 三角铁