Just to provide a little transatlantic balance (), the British National Corpus lists 188 examples of "musical instrument(s)" (total of sing. + plur.), and zero for "music instrument(s)".
If I were proofreading a text, I would definitely propose "musical instruments" in place of "music instruments". Whilst the latter is arguably not incorrect, it certainly sounds "un-English" to me.
Wow, thanks for providing a useful way to solve the problem and the alike!My following explanation may or may not confuse you. I apologize in advance if it confuses you.
What are the instruments? The instruments are musical. This would be correct because the instruments make music. (they are musical)
What are the instruments? The instruments are music. This would be incorrect because the instruments are not actually music.
Thus, musical instruments must be used.
A very good point. I should have noted that this, is by no means, a rule of thumb to follow. I should have been a bit more careful and stated that this application will not work in every example.
I agree with James. Of course one might argue that fire, town, etc don't have obvious adjectival equivalents in the way that music has musical.
So an even closer example might be suspension bridge.
- Is the bridge suspension? No.
- Is the bridge suspended? Yes.
Nonetheless it's called a suspension bridge, not a suspended bridge.
Good point, eb. I found the 3.8 million; although for "music instruments", rather than 1200, I came up with 92600 (but, as you say, largely irrelevant for the reasons you gave). So that puts George into an even more exclusive elite than I'd thought.