Types of Percussion Instruments – Updated Sep 2022

Different types of percussion instruments produce different sounds. It is essential to explore the different styles to know what you can use to create your desired tone. Percussion instruments are not limited to drums, you know. It also includes devices like the xylophone or the tambourine. Any tool that requires any form of striking or shaking is considered a percussion instrument. This is because the sound is produced from the vibration that happens inside the device. It helps to study the different types of percussion instruments to find the one that suits your purpose. This is a great Earplugs For Drummers.

There are three classifications of percussion instruments. You can sort them by material, type, or location. Learn more about Parts Trumpet.

Percussion Instrument By Material

Percussion instruments can vary in terms of the material used. Some devices can use wood, padded boards, or even metal. Find the best feature of Pocket Trumpet.

Metal percussion instruments include xylophones, the bell lyre, and chimes. Their sounds are more bell-like. Metal percussion instruments can also include cymbals, which produce a different sound.

For wood and padded boards, you can often see them in the classic drums and snare drums. They create a vibration within the drum, and that produces the percussion sound. 

Percussion Instrument By Type

There are two types of percussion instruments: tuned and untuned. 

Tuned percussion instruments pertain to those instruments that can hit specific notes and can even produce music on its own instead of mere beats. They can follow standard notation and can even be used for orchestral performance. The most familiar instrument that fits this category is the xylophone. It is an instrument that produces a sound by hitting, but it can alter the tone based on what is hit. Other types can include the lyre, glockenspiel, timpani, marimba, chimes, vibraphones, crotales, antique cymbals, and steel drums. The xylophone and glockenspiel are quite similar, only that they are made with different materials. While one is made of metal, the other is made of wood. Because of this, they can produce different sounds. The same is true for the marimba. The marimba is made of wood, but it creates a sound in the same way as the xylophone and glockenspiel. The sound is produced from the vibration of the keys when struck. The tubes below resonate the sound making a richer tone. 

Untuned percussion instruments, on the other hand, are those that follow rhythm instead of notes. Because of this tendency of untuned percussion instruments, they are considered auxiliary percussion instruments in an orchestra. These are often wooden or padded board-types of percussion instruments, including the bass drum, the snare drum, cymbals, gong, tom-toms, triangle, and tambourines. While they cannot produce notes on their own, it can alter the music’s beat by supplementing the main instruments that make music that follows notation. 

NOTE: It is easy to assume that folk instruments are always untuned. But it is essential to look at the different sounds that it produces before making any assumption. Some untuned percussion instruments may sound like it is only producing beats in the hands of a beginner, but it can produce higher quality sounds for an expert. 

Percussion Instrument by Location

You may find that some percussion instruments are only available in specific locations. But this is not only for folk percussion instruments. Some devices are known all over the world, yet they came from a particular origin. 

The first location is Persia. Persia has a unique approach to playing percussion instruments because it focuses more on adding to the percussion sound with clapping. They often produce rhythmic beats instead of tonal sounds. You may also find that some of them are similar to some popular percussion instruments you know and love. Examples of Persian percussion include the tombak or goblet drum, handpan, daf, and dayereh. The tombak is also known as the goblet drum, for you have to attach it to your body to play it. You can then use your fingers and palms to make a sound. The handpan is reminiscent of the steel drum, while the dayereh looks like a classic drum with some jingles. 

Then, there is Latin America. The focus of percussion instruments from this location is that it focuses more on creating beats for tribal music. The most popular tools in this location include the maracas and bongo drums. But it also has other instruments such as the djembe, surdo, cabasa, cowbell, tamborim, and conga. The maracas have grown popular in recent years and are often associated with Latin music. But the overall sound is still more beat than note-oriented. 

Percussion Instruments from other Locations

There may be other percussion instruments not covered in this article. Every country has its way of producing beat-like sounds to suit its culture. Almost every country in the world has their percussion instrument with a different name. They may sound similar, but they are still different from each other, for they serve different purposes. 

Why Learning the Types of Percussion Instruments Can Help You?

Learning new types of percussion instruments is more than searching for instruments with fresh beats and tones. It is also about exploring devices that belong to a particular culture and uncovering their lifestyle through them. Find the Yamaha Digital Piano that’s right for you.

How to Find the Right Percussion Instrument for You?

The right percussion instrument will ultimately depend on your purpose. It is the type of music you want to produce and your playing style that will dictate the percussion instrument that suits you best. You need to define if you work well with beats or notes. If you do well with beats, then the untuned percussion instruments may suit you best. You can then use them to complement the tuned instruments. But if you want to produce notes like in a piano, you may be better playing tuned percussion instruments like xylophones or the lyre. For the best quality, visit the Best Kids Acoustic Guitars.

I hope this article has helped you explore the different types of percussion instruments all over the world. Hopefully, it is an enriching experience in terms of music and culture. I also hope that it helps you to find the most compatible percussion instrument for your playing style. Learn more about Professional Trumpets.


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