The majority of instruments on The Land were originally designed by instrument makers who were inspired by stories from Earth. Many instrument makers have therefore, historically, also been spirit-talkers. In spite of the knowledge provided by spirits, it is impossible to make precise reproductions of the instruments as they exist on Earth (because of construction materials and crafting tools available on the Land); however, those who originated the instruments on the Land depended upon spirits to tell them whether they came close enough in design and especially in sound, for it to be reasonable to call the instruments by their Terran names. There are also instruments which are uniquely Landian in design (and therefore are given new names by their inventors), though even some of these are considered to be partially inspired by Terran instruments, but with more pronounced differences than those instruments which retain their Terran names.
In more recent years, it has become increasingly common for spirits to share musical recordings, in bubble format, of music performed on Earth. However, it is believed that even before Sorreters invented magical bubbles, some spirits may have played Terran music for instrument makers, even if they didn't actually give them recordings to keep. This was because it would be impossible to fully explain an instrument's sound to someone who'd never heard it for themselves. Of course, it might have been possible for spirits to provide actual instruments to be studied and copied, but that kind of thing has always been taboo, if not outright illegal, when dealing with anything of alien origin, not just instruments. Landians are expected to construct things on their own, and even being given vague instructions is considered a grey moral area. However, there are few complaints when it comes to providing something as well-loved as music, as long as the actual design and construction requires genuine effort and imagination on the part of the inventor.
The following is a partial list of musical instruments which exist on the Land:
- bass drum: a large drum with a wood or metal shell and a calfskin head on both sides, and struck with drumsticks or mallets. They may be used as part of an orchestra for classical music, or part of a drum kit for new wave. First crafted in LY 780.
- bodhrán: a small wooden drum with a curlycoatskin head on one side; the other side is open. May be struck with a drumstick or fingers. First crafted in the first century. Mostly used for folk music and Arabesque.
- jembe: a goblet-shaped drum with a hardwood shell and a rawhide curlycoatskin head, mounted to the shell with ropes laced through rings. It's played with the hands. First crafted in the first century. Mostly used for folk music and Arabesque.
- marimba: an instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars laid over a frame, below which are tubes used as resonators. The bars are struck by mallets. First crafted in the second century.
- snare drum: a drum with a wood or metal shell and calfskin head on both sides (though only one side is played), and snares stretched across one or both heads. Played with drumsticks. First crafted in 780. May be used in an orchestra or a drum kit.
- steelpan: made of metal in a bowl-shape. Played with pansticks tipped with rubber. First crafted in Frinn in LY 365. Mostly used for Caribbean music.
- tabla: A pair of hand-drums of differing sizes, one made of wood and the other of copper or brass. Each drum has a single head made of calfskin or curlycoatskin, attached to the shell with straps. First crafted in the second century.
- taiko: any of several different types of drum, with wooden shells and rawhide heads. They are struck with sticks called bachi. First crafted in the second century. "Taiko" also refers to any of various styles of drumming in which taiko drums are played.
- tenor drum: similar to a snare drum, but without snares. First crafted in 781. Used almost exclusively in orchestras.
- timpani: a large bowl-shaped drum made of copper, with a calfskin or curlycoatskin head. Played with timpani mallets with tips covered in felt or leather. First crafted in 779. Used almost exclusively in orchestras.
- yunluo: a set of five to ten small metallic gongs set in a wooden frame. Played with mallets. First crafted in the second century. Primarily used in Envy music, but may be used as part of a drum kit.
- Frinn horn: (sometimes called a "Frinnish horn"), first crafted in Frinn in LY 800. The Frinn horn is similar to what on Earth is commonly called a "French horn," though it is also acceptable to simply say "horn." It is made of brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc.
- microlliope: An instrument comprised of a series of brass pipes through which steam or compressed air is driven. Invented by Anja Frontrun in LY 908, it's a miniature version of a Terran instrument called a calliope.