Idiophones primarily produce their sounds by means of the actual body of the instrument vibrating, rather than a string, membrane, or column of air. In essence, this group includes all percussion instruments apart from drums, as well as some other instruments.

In the Hornbostel–Sachs classification, idiophones are first categorized according to the method used to play the instrument. The result is four main categories: struck idiophones [11], plucked idiophones [12], friction idiophones [13] and blown idiophones [14].

These groups are subsequently divided through various criteria. In many cases these sub-categories are split in singular specimens and sets of instruments. The latter category includes the xylophone, the marimba, the glockenspiel, and the glass harmonica.

Directly struck idiophones [111]
The musician executes the movement of striking; whether by mechanical intermediate devices, beaters, keyboards, or by pulling ropes, etc. It is definitive that the player can apply clear, exact, individual strokes, and that the instrument itself is equipped for this kind of percussion.

111.1 Concussion idiophones or clappers – Two or more complementary sonorous parts are struck against each other.
111.11 Concussion sticks or stick clappers (clapstick).
111.12 Concussion plaques or plaque clappers (paiban).
111.13 Concussion troughs or trough clappers (devil chase).
111.14 Concussion vessels or vessel clappers (spoons).
111.141 Castanets – Natural and hollowed-out vessel clappers.
111.142 Cymbals – Vessel clappers with manufactured rim.

111.2 Percussion idiophones – The instrument is struck either with a non-sonorous object [hand, stick, striker] or against a non-sonorous object [human body, the ground].
111.21 Percussion sticks.
111.211 Individual percussion sticks.
111.212 Sets of percussion sticks in a range of different pitches combined into one instrument. – All xylophones, as long as their sounding components are not in two different planes.

111.22 Percussion plaques.
111.221 Individual percussion plaques.
111.222 Sets of percussion plaques – Examples are lithophones and also most metallophones.
111.23 Percussion tubes.
111.231 Individual percussion tubes.
111.232 Sets of percussion tubes.

111.24 Percussion vessels.
111.241 Gongs – The vibration is strongest near the vertex.
111.241.1 Individual gongs.
111.241.2 Sets of gongs.
111.242 Bells – The vibration is weakest near the vertex.

111.242.1 Individual bells.
111.242.11 Resting bells whose opening faces upward [for example the standing bell].
111.242.12 Hanging bells suspended from the apex.
111.242.121 Hanging bells without internal strikers.
111.242.122 Hanging bells with internal strikers.

111.242.2 Sets of bells or chimes.
111.242.21 Sets of resting bells whose opening faces upward.
111.242.22 Sets of hanging bells suspended from the apex.
111.242.221 Sets of hanging bells without internal strikers.
111.242.222 Sets of hanging bells with internal strikers.
111.3 Mixed sets of directly struck idiophones.

Indirectly struck idiophones [112] The player himself/herself does not go through the movement of striking; percussion results indirectly through some other movement by the player.

112.1 Shaken Idiophones or rattles – The player makes a shaking motion
112.11 Suspension rattles – Perforated idiophones are mounted together, and shaken to strike against each other.
112.111 Strung rattles – Rattling objects are strung in rows on a cord.
112.112 Stick rattles – Rattling objects are strung on a bar or ring.

112.12 Frame rattles – Rattling objects are attached to a carrier against which they strike [flexatone].
112.121 Pendant rattles.
112.122 Sliding rattles.

112.13 Vessel rattles – Rattling objects enclosed in a vessel strike against each other or against the walls of the vessel, or usually against both.

112.2 Scraped Idiophones – The player causes a scraping movement directly or indirectly; a non-sonorous object moves along the notched surface of a sonorous object, to be alternately lifted off the teeth and flicked against them; or an elastic sonorous object moves along the surface of a notched non-sonorous object to cause a series of impacts. This group must not be confused with that of friction idiophones.

112.21 Scraped sticks.
112.211 Scraped sticks without resonator.
112.212 Scraped sticks with resonator.
112.22 Scraped tubes.
112.221 Scraped tubes without resonator.
112.222 Scraped tubes with resonator.
112.23 Scraped vessels.
112.231 Scraped vessels without resonator.
112.232 Scraped vessels with resonator.
112.24 Scraped wheels – cog rattles or Ratchet
112.241 Scraped wheels without resonator.
112.232 Scraped wheels with resonator.

112.3 Split Idiophones – Instruments in the shape of two springy arms connected at one end and touching at the other: the arms are forced apart by a little stick, too jangle or vibrate on recoil.