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Instrument sprite preview.png

An instrument ¿ is a procedurally-generated item used for making music in taverns and temples.

Instruments come in four types defined by the skill necessary for play (keyboard, stringed, wind, and percussion). Some instruments are made in a single step like other finished goods, however most instruments are assembled from multiple individual components. (For example, a bell might be one-piece, but a pipe organ would have a keyboard, pipes, bellows, and a body to support it all). Instruments can be either hand-held or stationary. Stationary instruments are built from the furniture menu with the b-f-i command. Hand-held instruments can be carried around by dwarves or placed in coffers in taverns or temples.

Instruments and their components can be made out of a variety of materials, including wood, bone, shell, stone, silk thread, plant fiber thread, glass, ceramics, metal, or leather. Out of those, thread and leather can only be used for components, not for a full instrument. Many of the instruments/components are made in craftsdwarf's workshops b-o-r, however certain types of instruments or components may only be created in more specialized workshops:

The details menu can be used to select the specific material for most instruments and components. Glass and ceramic instrument jobs do not yet support the details menu; all glass instruments will be made from green glass in your fortress (though caravans can bring instruments or instrument parts made out of other types of glass), and the potter will choose the material for ceramic instruments. Assembling the instrument after all the components are finished is also performed in a craftsdwarf's workshop, and the skill needed to assemble it is defined by the material of the "main" part of the instrument (see "Components", below).

Any instruments with a single component can be made directly. More complex ones require each instrument piece to first be made separately and then assembled into the final instrument. The option associated with them is "assemble <*instrument*>". Make a note of the name of the instrument and enter the work orders screen with o. Clicking the button to create a new work order and typing the name of the instrument in the search box will show all the pieces required (possibly from other workshops). Single-piece instruments created at other workshops will not be listed in the craftsdwarf's shop; those can be found by checking the potential workshops or scrolling through possible jobs in the manager screen.

During a strange mood, dwarves may create instruments which use improper materials and/or do not include the required components (e.g. a metal-bells-on-a-glass-stand instrument made from wood with spikes of leather).

Instrument names[edit]

There are no standard instruments or names for them, nor are there intended to be. Specific instruments are semi-randomly generated at world generation (both their names and the details of any components they are built of), and are usually specific to each civilization. The stone triangle your dwarves have in this fortress will almost certainly not be the stone triangle you have in the next fortress, nor that their neighbors have in either. This can make remembering the various instruments a challenge - a notepad or equivalent may be handy.

Traders may bring individual components for other instruments from their civilizations, but you will be unable to assemble them into instruments unless your dwarves have the necessary knowledge for that specific instrument. In theory, a dwarf can play any instrument if it is complete (but see "usage", below – they may never want/need to).

In order to find out what instruments are available to your fortress, go to a craftsdwarf's workshop and look under the instrument section. It will show most of the available instruments, either as a whole instrument or some individual component. Go to the other workshops (listed above) for any additional instruments. Highlight each individual instrument will show their description and material required.


Dwarves will use instruments in taverns or temples only if they know a particular song or dance that requires their use. If you see a dwarf with the job status "Simulate <*instrument name*>" then the dwarf would use that instrument if it were available.


Below are tables of parts that instruments can have and what materials they may require. It should be noted that, for a given world, only one material type is possible for each specific component. Thus, if a given instrument uses a metal keyboard material, it cannot be made using any other materials. Shell is only rarely chosen as a material.

A completely assembled instrument has a very high base item value. The quality of the overall item is determined by the quality of the "main" part, from which the instrument takes its description, e.g. a superior quality black bronze stelid. The main part also determines which skill is used to assemble the instrument (bonecarving, glassmaking, leatherworking, metalcrafting, pottery, stonecrafting or woodcrafting). Main parts are designated by an asterisk (*) in the table below.

Keyboard Keyboard sprite.png[edit]

Part Component name Materials
Silk Plant Thread Leather Wood Bone Ceramic Metal Glass Stone Shell
Keyboard Keyboard Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Body* Console Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Chest Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Body Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Case Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Vib Strings Y Y Y
Bells Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pipes Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bellows Pump Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bellows Y

Stringed Stringed sprite.png[edit]

Part Component name Materials
Silk Plant Thread Leather Wood Bone Ceramic Metal Glass Stone Shell
Neck Neck Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Frame* Frame Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Body* Body Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sound-chest Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Yoke Yoke Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Strings Strings Y Y Y
Prod Bow Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Plectrum Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hammers Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Neck_res Neck bowl Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Wind Wind sprite.png[edit]

Part Component name Materials
Leather Wood Bone Ceramic Metal Glass Stone Shell
Blow Blowpipe Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bellows Y
Bag* Bag Y
Melody Melody pipe Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Drone Drone pipe Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Body* Body Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Wind-Chest Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pipes* Pipes Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Horns* Horn Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Percussion Percussion sprite.png[edit]

Part Component name Materials
Leather Wood Bone Ceramic Metal Glass Stone Shell
Stand Stand Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Body* Drum Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Chime Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Block Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bowl Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Triangle Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bar Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ring Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Head Head Y
Mallet Mallet Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hammer Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Stick Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
* refers to the "main" part of the instrument - see explanation, above.


D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

Due to the procedurally-generated nature of the instruments, it can be expected to see some resemblance to certain real-world instruments such as organs, as many large stationary instruments will include metal pipes and various keyboards as components. It should also be noted that dwarven ingenuity can create instruments that could not be considered playable in the real world, such as the Kat: a small hand-held percussion instrument consisting of a metal block. The "musician" shakes the block. The instrument has a single high pitch. Due to the block's only means of producing this high pitch being the displacement of air as it is shaken, it can be inferred that the dwarf shakes the block at several kHz, providing a great source of strength and endurance based cross-training for military dwarves.