Musical Instruments in DND (5E)


In the expansive universe of Dungeons & Dragons, a plethora of musical instruments awaits exploration—dozens, if not hundreds. While the fundamental instruments lack magical properties, this compilation of D&D instruments serves as a catalog featuring some of my preferred ideas to enrich your upcoming roleplaying adventures.

Musical Instruments in Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition)

Woodwind Instruments in DnD

Woodwind instruments offer simplicity and charm, making them an ideal choice for those learning to craft their musical path. From the traditional sprite vibes of the Pan Flute to the marching fervor of Bagpipes, woodwinds present a delightful array of options.

  • Pan Flute: Crafted from bamboo or reeds, this small instrument produces a sound reminiscent of Satyr music with varying reed lengths.
  • Bagpipes: With reeds attached to a reservoir bag, Bagpipes emit a Celtic resonance, making them perfect for those marching into battle.
  • Flute: Encompassing a wide range, the flute, suitable for beginner crafters, can be made from diverse materials such as reeds or vegetables.
  • Shawm: Embraced by Gnomes, the Shawm, a reeded instrument, possesses a long, thin mouthpiece and resembles a modern-day recorder.
  • Hulusi: Adorned with three bamboo pipes connected to a decorated gourd, the Hulusi offers a unique blend of visual and auditory appeal.
  • Ocarina: An homage to classic games like Ocarina of Time, this favorite can be crafted from clay, metal, or ceramic, echoing the light of peace.

Percussion Instruments in DnD

Percussion instruments, known for their resonance and spontaneity, cater to free spirits seeking rhythmic expression. Whether crafting a simple drum or embracing the unique tones of the Udu, percussion instruments bring a lively spirit to musical endeavors.

  • Simple Drum: A customizable starter percussion instrument, made with a round, hollow wood frame and stretched hide.
  • Tantan: An oblong and narrow drum, held on the knee and struck with the hand from the side, ideal for seated drummers.
  • Udu: Crafted from clay, resembling a pot with a side hole, the Udu is played with a light touch and traditionally favored by female musicians.
  • Maracas: Paired instruments, made from gourds or wood and filled with beans or a similar material, offering lively accompaniment for dancing.
  • Gong: A larger instrument traditionally used in ceremonies, the Gong, even in smaller versions, commands attention.

String Instruments in DnD

String instruments, beloved for their versatility, provide a rich and enchanting musical landscape. From the dulcet tones of the Dulcimer to the complex melodies of the Hurdy-Gurdy, string instruments cater to various tastes and preferences.

  • Dulcimer: A versatile instrument available in plucked and hammered variants, offering sweet sounds and charming melodies.
  • Lute: A favorite of Bards, the Lute’s deep, hollow body and plucked strings make it an enduring choice.
  • Lyre: Known for its angelic sounds, the Lyre’s U-shaped wooden body and plucked strings create enchanting melodies.
  • Viol: A mini-cello, the Viol with six strings produces beautiful and graceful tones, captivating fellow adventurers.
  • Hurdy-Gurdy: A unique instrument requiring cranking while playing, the Hurdy-Gurdy boasts a distinct appearance and a challenge for musicians.
  • Erhu: A two-stringed spike fiddle with a simple yet elegant construction, producing a singing voice-like quality.

Brass Instruments in DnD

Brass instruments, exuding confidence and grandiosity, make a striking entrance in both real and fantasy realms. From the classic tones of the Trumpet to the unconventional charm of the Sackbut, brass instruments add a bold dimension to musical performances.

  • Trumpet: A loud and iconic brass instrument, often associated with confidence and flair, making a resounding impact in any setting.
  • Sackbut: An early version of the trombone, the Sackbut, with its U-shaped pipe, delivers powerful sounds for those who dominate the battlefield.

Instruments Descriptions in DND 5E

  1. Adufe: A square percussion instrument featuring leather stretched over both sides of a wooden frame, adorned with bells on each corner. Muting one side with your hand creates a softer tone, adding versatility to its rhythmic capabilities.
  2. Bagpipes: A reeded woodwind instrument with several pipes connected to a bladder filled with air, often made of various leathers. More extravagant versions may boast gold or silver inlays along the pipes and chanter, allowing for a range of notes by covering specific holes.
  3. Fantasy Drum: In the fantasy realm, a drum refers to any leather stretched over an open wooden barrel. The size of the barrel and the tension of the leather significantly influence the drum’s pitch and sound. Musicians may carry multiple drums to create a harmonious blend.
  4. Dulcimer: Dulcimers, available in various shapes and sizes, consist of a hollow wooden slab with strings along the body. Unlike plucked strings, small hammers strike the dulcimer’s strings to produce notes, offering a unique visual and auditory experience.
  5. Glaur: A unique horn instrument native to the Forgotten Realms, the Glaur features valves and a large curved horn, crafted from silver, electrum, or brass. Its distinctive design contributes to its exceptional musical qualities.
  6. Gemshorn: Resembling an ocarina, the Gemshorn is crafted by hollowing out the horn of a goat or similar creature. Faerunian gemshorns, once made from minotaur horns, are renowned for their quality.
  7. Wargong: A large metal plate struck with a mallet, typically covered in cloth. While the wargong lacks variation, it serves the specific purpose of creating a commanding beat for troops in battle.
  8. Upright Lyre: A sizable upright lyre played in a stand while the musician sits. This design enables easy access to all strings, allowing for a full range of notes without struggling to hold the instrument.
  9. Horns: Horns encompass a diverse range of brass instruments with a bell-shaped opening on one end and a mouthpiece on the other. The length of the pipe determines the pitch, and some may even feature valve-like openings to modify the pitch.
  10. Glaur: Three bamboo pipes passing into a hollowed-out gourd, with the center pipe having holes to change the pitch. The outer pipes create a constant harmonizing pitch when air is blown through the reeded mouthpiece.
  11. Hurdy-Gurdy: An instrument with a hand-cranked wooden wheel striking strings as it turns. The keyboard along its side adjusts the tautness, altering the pitch of the strings.
  12. Lyrical Flute: A flute common in civilized regions and elven communities across Faerun, known for its challenging craftsmanship and melodic beauty.
  13. Sackbut: A horn instrument featuring a U-shaped length of pipe that can slide back and forth, similar to a medieval trombone.
  14. Santur: An instrument with 72 strings, played in a seated position with small hammers, offering a unique and intricate musical experience.
  15. Shawm: A horned instrument with a reed instead of a mouthpiece, producing pitches through vibration. Shawms vary in size, with smaller ones having higher pitches.
  16. Recorder: A small, reeded woodwind instrument resembling a belled horn, offering simplicity and affordability while performing well in lower registers.
  17. Tambourine: A very flat drum with small metal discs around the edge, producing a jingling sound when shaken, making it an excellent accompaniment to the drum’s bass sound.
  18. Whistle-Stick: A simple wind instrument cut from a reed, creating a buzzing sound, often used as a playful addition to musical compositions.
  19. Ocarina-Like Instrument: Essentially a clay water jug with an extra hole, played by tapping or dragging fingers along the outside. The jug contains a small amount of water, contributing to its unique sound.
  20. Viola da Gamba: A precursor to modern stringed instruments, the viola da gamba features six strings along a hollow body, producing a distinct vibrato sound.
  21. Zulkoon: A portable bagpipe-like instrument with a pipe organ-like sound. Air is pumped through the bladder and pipes using a foot pump.

Instrument Price and Weight in DND 5E

InstrumentPrice (GP)Weight (lb.)
Glaur75 – 25004/10/24
Gong/ Wargong2015
Lyre*20- 1002
Maracas51 (.5 each)
Pan Flute* (Birdpipes, Syrinx, Shalm, Panpipes, Satyr Pipes)122
Tan Tan (Tambourine)101

Banjo Tabs
Dulcimer Tabs
Mandolin Tabs
Harmonica Tabs
Drum Tabs