Organize your samples and instrument libraries with Hornbostel–Sachs!

Organize your samples and instrument libraries with Hornbostel–Sachs!
Organize your samples and instrument libraries with Hornbostel–Sachs!

Ever felt the need to organize your audio samples or VST Instrument patches? What if there was a system with classifications to match each sound?

Oh, there is! It is called the Hornbostel–Sachs system. If you want to get organized quickly you should continue reading.

The Hornbostel–Sachs system is a musical instrument classification system developed by Erich von Hornbostel. MIMO (Musical Instrument Museums Online) updated the system in 2011 and it is now perhaps the best way to classify musical instruments. Over the years I have been looking for a system to organize terrabytes of audio and kontakt instruments. Although this might be very personal I have gotten used to the Sachs system. It provides a logical but extensive list of categories.

The only problem with the system was to accurately create a folder hierarchy manually. So this week I spent some time writing a script to make a folder hierarchy based on the Hornbostel–Sachs classification system. I realize that for most users, it would take a considerable amount of time to create this (unless they have some knowledge of computer scripting). So I decided to share the folder hierarchy.

The download contains one folder for each of category in the Hornbostel–Sachs system. They also have a directory structure based upon the Hornbostel–Sachs system so all you need to do is to extract the download to your desired location.

It might take some time to get used to the system. It is quite complex, but very useful if you have an extensive set of sounds. Unfortunately special effects and synthesizers are not included as these instruments cannot be categorized by their anatomy. If you need to look up an instrument to find the right place for it you can take a look at the wiki here.

The directory structure is based upon the following list, taken from the Hornbostel–Sachs classification system. The download contains 312 folders, all categorized accordingly.

 Hornbostel–Sachs hierarchy on Windows
Hornbostel–Sachs hierarchy on Windows
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