20 Examples of Percussion Instruments

The percussion instruments are those that produce music from the waves obtained after rhythmically hitting a certain surface of it. Such blows can be delivered with the hand or with an instrument (often called a drumstick) or even with two different parts of the same instrument. For instance: drum, xylophone, bell, maracas.

These instruments can be used to produce rhythmic patterns or scale musical notes, and in this lies their main differentiation: indefinite height or not in tune, for the first group; and of defined height or tuned, for the second.

Examples of percussion instruments

  1. Drum. Composed of a cylindrical resonance box, covered by a membrane of different materials that covers the opening, it emits sounds when struck with the hand or with two wooden cylinders called drumsticks. Its origin dates back to ancient times and has been widely used in military marches and celebrations.
  2. Drum. Similar to the drum, but special for emitting bass sounds, the timpani is usually composed of a copper cauldron covered by a membrane, which requires its own drumsticks (timpani drumsticks) to be struck.
  3. Xylophone. Striped with two or four hands and usually small in size, the xylophone or xylophone is made of a series of wooden sheets of different sizes, fixed to a support. When struck, the woods reproduce the different musical notes of the scale.
  4. Campaign. Shaped like an inverted cup and made of metal, just like church bells or other urban settings, this musical instrument vibrates when struck, usually by the clapper that is suspended inside the cup.
  5. Create them. This cymbal-like musical instrument is made up of two small metal pieces that are attached with a strap to the thumb and index finger, like castanets, and collide to the desired rhythm, often as part of a dance.
  6. Celesta. Similar to a small upright piano, it operates with the impact of a series of hammers, connected to its keys, whose blows strike against metal plates arranged on wooden resonators. Like the piano, it has a pedal to modulate its sounds. It can also be considered a keyboard instrument.
  7. Box Peruvian or cajon. Of Andean origin and very popular today, it is one of the few percussion instruments in which the musician stands on it. The sound is obtained from the rubbing or striking of the wooden walls of the box with the hands.
  8. The triangle. With a sharp and indefinite sound, it is a metal triangle that is struck with a bar of the same material and is allowed to vibrate, reaching a great sound even above the orchestras.
  9. Taiko. This is how the different types of Japanese drums are known, played with wooden drumsticks called bachi. Specifically, the name alludes to a large and heavy base drum, immobile due to its proportions, which is struck with a wooden mallet.
  10. Castanets. Invented by the Phoenicians thousands of years ago, castanets are traditionally made of wood and are made to clash between the fingers to the rhythm of the dance. They are very frequent in Andalusian culture, in Spain. There is usually a sharp (right hand) and a sharp (left hand).
  11. Maracas. Maracas were invented in pre-Columbian times in America, and consist of a spherical part filled with percussive particles, which can be seeds or small stones. The indigenous tribes still use it, but alone, while in Caribbean music and Colombian-Venezuelan folklore they are used in pairs.
  12. Drum. With a very serious and indeterminate timbre, he is usually entrusted with the task of marking the pulse of the comparsa or the orchestra. It is estimated that their Ottoman origin introduced them to Europe in the 18th century and since then it has evolved to what it is today.
  13. Battery. It is a set of instruments, rather than just one, since it groups kick drums, snare drums, cymbals and tom toms in a single installation, very popular in contemporary musical groups. They are played with two wooden drumsticks and some instruments with a pedal.
  14. Gong. Originally from China, it is a large metal disc, usually made of bronze, with inward curved edges and struck with a mallet. It is normally suspended vertically and allowed to vibrate, often with ritual or celebratory functions, in Eastern cultures.
  15. Tambourine. It is a rigid frame made of wood or other material, round and covered by a thin and light membrane, into which small rattles or metal sheets are inserted as side bells. Its sound is precisely the combination of the blow to the membrane and the vibration of the bells.
  16. Bongo drum. They are two resonant wooden bodies, one smaller than the other, each covered with a hairless leather membrane, stretched through metal rings. It is struck with bare hands, resting on the knees and sitting.
  17. Cabasa. Similar to the maraca, except that it is a hollow and closed body, with metal rattles inside, which when hitting against the hand or moving in the air produce sound.
  18. Rattle. It consists of a piece of wood or metal in the center and several movable hammers, which when rotating around the axis produce a characteristic sound, called rattle. It is commonly associated with parties and celebrations.
  19. Atabaque. Similar to the drum, it is widely used in African or Afro-descendant cultures, as the rhythm of the candombe. They are made in the shape of a barrel and are played with the tips of the fingers, the wrist and the edge of the hand.
  20. Marimba. It is made up of wooden bars struck with a hammer to reproduce the musical notes. At the bottom, these bars have resonators, which give them a lower sound than the xylophone.