[in-struh-men-tey-shuh n]
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  1. the arranging of music for instruments, especially for an orchestra.
  2. the list of instruments for which a composition is scored.
  3. the use of, or work done by, instruments.
  4. instrumental agency; instrumentality.
  5. the science of developing, manufacturing, and utilizing instruments, especially those used in science and industry.

Origin of instrumentation

1835–45; instrument (v.) + -ation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of instrumentation

British Dictionary definitions for instrumentation


  1. the instruments specified in a musical score or arrangement
  2. the arrangement of a piece of music for an orchestra; orchestration
  3. the study of the characteristics of musical instruments
  4. the use of instruments or tools
  5. means; agency
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for instrumentation

"composition and arrangement of music for instruments," 1845, from French instrumentation, from instrument (see instrument + -ation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper