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Percussion instruments

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What are percussion instruments?

Percussion instruments are musical instruments that are produced by hitting or striking a part of the instrument and produce a sound, usually of short duration with a specific or undefined pitch, or a noise. Percussion instruments can be made of different materials such as wood, metal or plastic and often have different sizes and shapes.

There is a variety of percussion instruments, from small percussion instruments such as triangles or claves to large percussion instruments with many different drums and cymbals. Percussion instruments are used in many musical genres such as




, jazz, classical and world music and are often part of ensembles and orchestras.

The group of percussion instruments includes


(self-sounding) and


(skin ringers), in which the sound generator is a tightly stretched membrane. Frame drums with a bell rim, such as the tambourine, are both membranophones and idiophones.

The more noisy instruments are mainly used as rhythm instruments, while those that can also produce pitches such as the metallophone,


, vibraphone, celesta and piano are also used as melody instruments or harmony instruments. The pitch and timbre of drums can be varied by changing the membrane tension.

The art of playing percussion instruments requires not only musical talent but also good hand-eye coordination, a good ear and lots of practice. Percussion instruments are often loud and can be used both rhythmically and melodically to create different moods and atmospheres in the music.

The number of materials and shapes that can be used to produce sounds or tones is almost endless and sound production is as old as mankind, as even the hands can be used as percussion instruments when clapping. The list of percussion instruments shows typical examples, where percussion,


and drums are often described as the main rhythmic instruments. Percussion instruments can also be used as part of orchestras and ensembles and can also be played as solo instruments.

History and significance of percussion instruments

Percussion instruments have a long history and great significance in music. Drums and other percussion instruments have been used to accompany dances and festivals since ancient times. In the Middle Ages, drums were also used as signaling instruments to convey messages over long distances.

Over the course of time, percussion instruments have evolved and new instruments and playing techniques have been invented. In the 19th century, large military bands were founded in Europe that used a variety of percussion instruments to create complex rhythms and timbres.

Percussion instruments played an important role in 20th century jazz, especially the


which plays a central role in the rhythm and dynamics of the music. In rock music, percussion instruments such as drums and the electric guitar became important elements of the sound.

Today there is a wide variety of percussion instruments, from the simple triangle to the complex drum set. Percussion instruments are used in many different styles of music and are an important part of orchestras, bands and ensembles.

Percussion instruments have a special significance for human culture and often have a symbolic meaning. In many cultures, percussion instruments were used in ritual ceremonies and had a spiritual significance. Even today, percussion instruments are still used in many cultures to accompany dances and ceremonies.

The art of rhythmic interplay

The percussion, timpani and drum are often known as the main rhythmic instruments in music. These instruments are essential for setting the beat and tempo of a piece of music and creating a solid rhythm section.

The drums are the best known and most frequently used percussion instrument. It consists of a variety of drums,


and other percussion instruments that are played with drumsticks or hands. Each part of the drum kit produces a different sound and can be played in different combinations to create rhythms and grooves. It is an important instrument in many musical genres, from pop and rock to jazz and world music.

The timpani is another important percussion instrument. It is usually larger than a normal drum and produces a deeper sound. The timpani is often used in classical pieces of music to create dramatic accents and moods. It is an indispensable instrument in orchestral music and is often referred to as the instrument of power.

The drum is also a well-known percussion instrument and is used in many different styles of music. There are different types of drums, such as the snare drum, the bass drum or the conga. Each type of drum has its own sound and its own role in the piece of music. The snare drum, for example, produces a sharp and crisp sound, while the bass drum produces a deep and booming sound.

List of percussion instruments

  • Agogo
  • Balafon
  • Basin
  • Bodhran
  • Bongo
  • Cabasa
  • Cajón
  • Claves
  • Caxixi
  • Chimes
  • Conga
  • Cowbell
  • Darbuka
  • Djembé
  • Thunder drum
  • Dundun bass
  • Finger cymbals
  • Flexatone
  • Frigideira
  • Chimes
  • Guiro
  • Hand drum
  • Hi-Hat
  • Wooden block drum
  • Juju shaker
  • Kalimba
  • Castanets
  • Kokoriko
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Marimbula
  • Obrente
  • Ocean Drum
  • Parameter bells
  • Timpani
  • Ratchet
  • RAV Vast Drum
  • Rainmaker
  • Ride and crash cymbals
  • Tubular bells
  • Stirring drum
  • Sansula
  • Bell ring and bell stick
  • Percussion
  • Percussion organ
  • Slotted drum
  • Shaker
  • Snare drum
  • Speaking drum
  • Steel Drum
  • Tabla
  • Tambourine
  • Tamtam
  • Timbales
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Drum
  • Vibraphone
  • Water drum
  • Wood Agogo
  • Xylophone

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Percussion instruments