9. Percussion Instruments

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Vibration

Without this, there is no pitch created or any notes played.

Tuning

This is the term used wiich means to set an instrument at a certtain pitch.

Bass Drum

This is the large drum that produces a low-pitched sound. Marching bands often march to the beat of this drum.

Carillon

This is both a keyboard and a percussion instrument. It has an arrangement of 23 to 27 fixed bells of various sizes. Wooden keys activate a metal clapper which strikes the bells.

Castanets

These are percussion instruments that can be made of shells or hardwood. Two of these spoon-shaped objects are tied together with a string. They are used to add rhythm to a dance.

Celesta

This is a keyboard instrument that is similar to a piano. Pressed keys activate a small hammer which strike against metal plates. The plates are located over hollow wooden boxes.

Clavichord

This is another keyboard instrument on which pressed keys activate a metal blade called a tangent, that strikes a string, producing the sound of the instrument.

Chimes

These are sometimes referred to as tubular bells. This percussion instrument usually has 18 to 20 bells (usually brass tubes) that are attached to a metal frame.

Claves

This instrument consists of two wooden sticks or dowels. The musician holds a stick in each hand and strikes one against the other to create a rhythmic beat.

Cowbell

Percussionists use this with its clapper removed. Its outside is struck with a stick. Its tone depends on its size and its tone cannot be changed. These are sometimes found on cows.

Cymbals

These are large, flatish, circular-shaped brass instruments. The musician holds one in each hand and strikes them together. They can also be played by the musician holding one of them by a string or a leather cord and striking it with a stick.

Drums

These instruments are considered to be the oldest of all musical instruments. All of these have some sort of frame such as a cylinder or kettle with a membrane stretched or placed over one end.

Dulcimer

This is another instrument in which strings are struck. It can have as many as 70 strings. Musicians use hammers to strike the strings. They can also pluck or strum the strings.

Glockenspiel

This instrument is similar to the xylophone. It consists of metal brs of different thicknesses arranged in two rows that are attached to a frame. The bars are struck with two hard plastic mallets.

Gong

This is a percussion instrument that is attached to some sort of frame. It is made of metal, comes in various sizes, and has a circular shape. It is played with a rubber mallet covered with some type of material. It would commonly be found in Asian countries.

Kettle Drum

This drum is also called a timpani. The outside of the drum may be made of fiberglass or copper and has a rounded bottom. It can play different tones or notes when its pedal is depressed. It is played with specially designed mallets.

Maraca

This percussion instrument consists of a rattle shaped like a gourd. The musician holds one end and shakes it rhythmically. A musician usually plays two of them at the same time.

Marimba

This is one of the largest of the percussion instruments. It consists of a series of wooden or plastic bars organized on the frame in a similar fashion as the keys on a piano. It is similar in appearance to the xylophone but has a lower tone. The bars are struck with mallets.

Orchestra Bells

There are two types of this instrument which sound like a cast bronze bell. One style consists of tubular chimes, which vary in length and diameter, that are hung on a frame. The chimes are struck with a heavy mallet covered with leather. The other style can be found on a glockenspiel.

Rattle

This is one of the oldest known instruments. It consists of a container filledwith some sort of loose material. It makes a sound when shaken. The maracas and tambourine are examples.

Snare Drum

This drum has strings made out of metal wire, plastic, or gut that are stretched across the bottom of the drum.

Batter Head

The top of a snare drum is called this.

Snare Head

The bottom of a snare drum is called this.

Steel Drums

These drums consist of a piece of steel placed over the end of a 55-gallon barrel drum. They can be traced to the West Indies and to the country of Trinidad. They are played by striking with mallets.

Tambourine

This instrument is a circular hoop made out of wood or metal. Circular metal disks are attached to the outside of the hoop. It is held in one hand and is played either by shaking or striking it with the other hand, or by striking it against the leg.

Triangle

This instrument consists of a steel bar that is bent into the shape of a triangle. It is played by striking it with a steel bar.

Vibraphone

This instrument consists of a series of metal bars that are organized on a frame in a similar fashion as the keys on a piano. The bars are struck with mallets. Hollow tubes, known as resonators, are located under each bar. Each tube as an electric valve that is operated by an electric motor which creates a vibration sound called a vibrato.

Xylophone

This instrument has a series of rosewood or plastic bars similar to the keys on a piano. A hollow tube called a resonator is located below each bar. The purpose of these tubes is to amplify the sound of the instrument.

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