Musical Instruments

The Percussion Family

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A percussion instrument is one that is shaken or hit to make a sound. The drum set is only of many different percussion instruments. A good percussionist should be able to play them all and will need to have a good sense of rhythm. Experience playing keyboard instruments such as the piano will also certainly help when playing the pitched instruments.

Some percussion instruments can play melodies. These are called tuned percussion. The xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone,and timpani are all tuned percussion instruments.

Other percussion instruments that do not produce a definite pitch are generally termed unpitched percussion. These include most drums (snare drum, bass drum, drum set, etc.) and also other instruments used mostly for special effects. Some of these instruments which add colour to an ensemble are the triangle, gong, castanets, rattle, cowbell, woodblock, tambourine, maracas, claves, and whistles.



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