Friday, April 15, 2011

Kind of Percussion Instruments

Percussion Instruments


Percussion is derived from Latin “percussio” and “percuscus”. Which in english become “Percussion”. The meaning of percussion can be associated into playing music instrument by beat or strike to produce sound. There  some music instruments included in percussion instruments are Drum, rattles, metal plates, or wooden blocks.

Playing Method

There are some common methods to play these instruments:

Hit such like Triangle, Drum, Octoban, Timpani
Shaken such like Cabasa, Maracas
Rubbed such like Steel pan, Guiro
Scraped such like Cog Rattles, Washboards

What kind of percussion instrument

Percussion instruments there are vary in kinds and types. Each instruments has a characteristic and unique sound, course will provide varied nuances in the playing music. All kinds of percussion instruments has the form, origin, function in music, and sound that different. Below are several lists of percussion instruments are classified according to the produce of the sound:

Idiophone: Is a “percussion instrument” or a musical instrument that produces sound from the whole body vibration.

Examples of idiophone percussion instruments:


Bock-a-da-Bock is a percussion instrument made ​​of two metal discs. This instrument is inspiration of the percussionists Billy Gladstone.


Percussion Instruments - Cabasa

Cabasa made from curl of steel-ball chain wrapped around a wide cylinder wood. Cabasa is African origin and included in the African percussion instrument.


Percussion Instruments - Cajon


Cajon is a box-shaped percussion instrument made from wood with holes in the back. Cajon come from peru, but there was belief that cajon arrived to America  brought by slaves who came from central and western Africa. Cajon commonly used in Afro-Peruvian musical instrument since the end of the 18th century. How to play this instrument is by slapping the front part (Generally thin plywood) with the hands.


Percussion Instruments - Celesta


Celesta has a shape like the upright piano that has keys that are connected with the hammers which strike a gradually set of metal (usually steel) plates suspended over wooden resonators. The Celesta is a transposing instrument, it sounds an octave higher than written pitch. This percussion instrument was first invented in Paris in 1886 by Harmonium "Auguste Mustel".  Celesta can be used in jazz music as an alternative instrument and is also suitable used in rock and pop music, Frank Sinatra ever use it in recordings of his 40s music. How to play the Celesta similar to the piano.


Percussion Instruments - Chimes


Chimes may also called tubular bells. This instrument consists of sets tubular bell are made from metal. Each tube has a diameter of 30-38 mm. The tone produced depends on length of bells.


Percussion Instruments - Cowbell


Cowbell is a type of percussion instrument has a bit of unique history. The term "Cowbell" is gained from behavior of many herdsman who put a bell around their animals neck (usually cow) to keep track where them are located. For if the cow was walking the bell will ring. From there the term of "cowbell" in percussion instrument used. Cowbell is often used in salsa music, but at this moment is not rare popular music like rock and pop using cowbell to feature a music.

Crash cymbals

Percussion Instruments - Crash Cymbals

Crash Cymbal

Cymbals are always included in each drum set, generally a pair of hi-hats cymbal, Crash cymbal and Ride cymbal. Cymbals include in percussion instrument made from round metal with various alloys. Cymbals are also classified as a popular instrument and many used in various ensembles such as orchestra, percussion ensembles, and bands.


Percussion Instruments - Crotales


Crotales is a percussion instrument family. They have like small discs shape made of bronze or brass. Each discs have the same size that is 4 inches in diameter. Crotales will ring if hit with a mallet..


Percussion Instruments - Guiro


Guiro is a percussion instrument shaped like a hollow gourd. At one end was open and on one side there are parallel-notches cut. Guiro widely used in Latin-American music and played with rubbing a wooden stick ("Pua") along the notches to produce a ratchet-like sound.


Percussion Instruments - Glockenspiel


Glockenspiel is one kind of percussion instrument that has a shape like a xylophone. If the xylophone keys made of wood, glockenspiel has tuned-keys made from metal and has a higher tone than xylophone. How to play this instrument can be done by using a hard mallet.


Percussion Instruments - Handbells


Handbells are designed for as bell was rung by hand.

Lummi stick

Percussion Instruments - Lumni Stick

 Lumni Stick

Lummi stick is a percussion instrument shaped cylinder-stick with a length of approximately 7 inches and has 0.75 inches in diameter . Lummi stick sounded by striking one another. This instrument is often used in music education to teach rhythm.


Percussion Instruments - Marimba


Marimba has concept such as piano, only every key from marimba made from wood. Marimba include percussion instruments that emit sounds by way of being hit with mallets to produce a certain tone.

Singing bowls

Percussion Instruments - Singing Bowls


Singing-bowls or commonly known as Rin-Gongs is a kind of bell with top surface is open, while the bottom surface is used to put it. The sides and rim of singing-bowls is part that beaten to produce sound.

Slit drum

Percussion Instruments - Slit Drum

Slit Drum

Slit drum is a hollow percussion instrument made from bamboo or wood. Usually the cavity is made form the letter H. The way this instrument sounds can be done with a mallet.

Suspended cymbal

Percussion Instruments - Suspended Cymbal

Suspended Cymbal

As the name suggests, is a type of cymbal mounted hanging, Suspended cymbals are often used in orchestra music.


Percussion Instruments - Triangle


Triangle included in idiophone percussion instruments are usually made ​​of steel that is bent into triangles shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve, and to make it release sound is required beater from materials like metal.


Percussion Instruments - Vibraphone


Vibraphone percussion instrument is a kind of xylophone and glockenspiel, the difference is only in its bars are made from aluminum instead from wood or metal. This percussion instrument is sounded by a pair of mallets.


Percussion Instruments - Vibraslap


A vibraslap is included in percussion instrument. Vibraslap consisting of a piece of stiff wire (bent in a U shape) connecting a wood ball to a hollow box of wood with metal “teeth” inside. To play Vibraslap, we can holds the metal wire in one hand and strikes the ball (usually against the palm of other hand).

Wood block

Percussion Instruments - Wood Block

Wood Block

Wood block is basically like a slit drum, but has a smaller form. Wood block is made from single pieces of wood and sometimes has a longitudinal cavity. There are 2 kinds of wood block, rectangular and there is also a tube shaped wood block. Wood block played with beaten using a stick.


Percussion Instruments - Xylophone


The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated from Africa and Asia. Xylophone consists of wooden bars of various lengths that are struck by plastic, wooden, or rubber mallets. The length bar mean a low pitch and otherwise short bar has a high pitch.

Membranophone: “Percussion instruments” that include in membranophone is an instrument that produces sound when the head or membrane are beaten or strike.

Examples of membranophone percussion instruments:


Percussion Instruments - Bongo


Bongo or bongos are a Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of single-headed, open-ended drums attached to each other. They are traditionally played by striking the edge of the drumhead with the fingers and palms or drum sticks.


Percussion Instruments - Conga


The conga is a tall, narrow, single-headed Cuban drum. The modern conga made from a staved wooden or fiberglass shell, and a screw-tensioned drumhead. They are usually played in sets of two to four with the fingers and palms of the hand.


Percussion Instruments - Darbuka


Darbuka (Goblet drum) is a goblet shaped hand drum used mostly in the Middle East country. Darbuka made from clay, metal, wood or fiberglass for their body. Usually darbuka using drum heads from animal skin commonly goat or also fish. The goblet drum may be played by placing it sideways upon the lap (with the head towards the player's knees) while seated and strike with palm or fingers.


Percussion Instruments - Djembe


A djembe is a member of the membranophone family of musical instruments. The frame or shell in the djembe's case it is made from wood. While their heads made from rawhide. Djembe can be played with bare hands.

Drum Set

Percussion Instruments - Drum Set

Drum Sets

Drum set is a type membranophone so popular in the worldwide, everyone would have been familiar with this music instrument. Drum set usually consists of bass drum, snare drum, toms, and floor tom. Equipped with hardware drum (bass drum pedal, mounting systems, cymbal stand, hi-hats stand) and cymbals (hi-hats cymbals, crash cymbals, ride cymbal). How to play the drum set is to use the drumsticks with drummer (drum set player) sits on the throne at the back of the drum set.


Percussion Instruments - Mridangam


The mridangam is a percussion instrument originated from India ancient. The mridangam is a double-sided drum whose body is usually made using a hollowed piece of jackfruit wood about an inch thick. The two mouths or apertures of the drum are covered with a goat leather and laced to each other with leather straps around the circumference of drum. The mridangam is played resting it parallel to the floor then strike with two palms interchangeably.


Percussion Instruments - Octoban


Octoban drums are sets of tom-tom with smaller diameter than drum set. The tom-toms have different lengths of the shell, this make each drums have distinct tone. Octoban first introduced by Tama drums in 1978.


Percussion Instruments - Tabla


Tabla is popular Indian percussion instrument. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums with contrasting in sizes and timbres. Playing technique using of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds.


Percussion Instruments - Timpani


Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. Timpani consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum sticks called a timpani sticks or timpani mallet.

Chordophone: Is a group of string music instruments but also can be classified in percussion instruments since their playing method.

Examples of chordophone percussion instruments:

Hammered dulcimer

Percussion Instruments - Hammered Dulcimer

Hammered Dulcimer

Hammered dulcimer is a trapezoidal percussion instrument with the strings stretched over the board. The board function as resonant of sound. Hammered dulcimer played by percussionist with small mallet hammers in each hand to strike the strings.


The Onavillu is a simple, short bow-shaped musical instrument. Onavillu also classified a string music instrument, it made from the pith of the palmyra stem, or from bamboo, shaped as a bow. Bamboo slivers are used for bowstrings. The bowstrings sound when struck with a thin stick, the size of a pencil. The sound can be varied by giving finger pressure on the string.

Aerophone: It is the kind of music instruments that produce sound because of the blowing wind passing through the the object.

Examples of percussion instruments that included aerophone:


Percussion Instruments - Apito


Apito is music instrument in the percussion family, it similar to whistle and used in samba music and other Brazilian music styles at large.


Percussion Instruments - Whistle - Brazilian Whistle

Brazilian Whistle

The whistle is used by a leader in samba percussion groups to help catch the percussionist attention. The traditional samba whistle has three tones, but as the size of the percussion section rose, pealess whistles became more popular due to their high pitch and their loud sound.

All percussion instruments referred above is pursuant to the source of the sound. Percussion instruments are a contemporary musical instrument and still used in popular music right now with a drum set that has been very popular.