Atomic spectrometry is broadly defined as a collection of analytical techniques, whereby total element concentrations are determined through their interaction with electromagnetic radiation. A description is given of the physical basis, the instrumentation, and the analytical characteristics of the four techniques in current general use: flame atomic absorption, graphite furnace atomic absorption, inductively coupled plasma emission, and X-ray fluorescence. Together they cover almost the complete periodic table and allow determinations down to $\mu $g/kg in solid samples, although solutions are the more common vehicle. Six other atomic spectrometric methods are also considered, four of which are commercially available, whereas two are still under development. At present, each serves special applications, but ICP-mass spectrometry and total reflection X-ray fluorescence may become contenders for a more general utilization. It is concluded that atomic spectrometry will remain the method of choice for rapid, total-element concentrations in a wide variety of samples.