Percussion Instruments

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A person can’t have got very good songs with no percussion

Posted on August 3rd, 2013 by admin.

Percussion instruments are extremely outdated and also have a good historical past. Usually utilized in people songs, these types of instruments create effects, and compliment alongside melodies with a non-urban attraction in order to enhance the audio experience. Within Asia by way of example, a pair of bits of smooth metals tend to be molded to create a bell such as the cymbals. This manner involving device can be used inside prayer areas as well. Whether it be a Hindu Temple or a Buddhist Monastery, bells and other percussion have been used throughout history. These are usually crafted from natural things like the hard shells of coconuts. Some other well-known percussions instruments are the drum, violin as well as xylophone. Almost all percussion instruments may be split up into a couple of classes. Membranophone, which usually include tambour i.e.  involving stretched skins to get the vibration effects to compliment alongside percussion like idiophones i.e. metallic and wood, that appear associated with their own varieties such as triangles. The particular split may also be about focusing time frame i.e. the division of sounds carrying in time, as well as to balance the bass drum speaker with other percussion instruments in recordings. A number of instruments have been updated even though the others cannot be.
A list of percussion instruments:
click to enlarge
click to enlarge
The Drum kit
Other Categories
Tuned percussion
Glass harmonicapiano-roses-on-w-x-bytes-153734
Hammered dulcimer
The harp stop and other effects on the organ
Quadrangularis Reversum
Steel drums
Timpani (kettle drum)

When I play the maracas I go chick-chicky-boom, chick-chicky boom
When I play the maracas I go chick-chicky-boom, chick-chicky boom
Tubular bell
Snare Drum
Bass Drum
Maracas sometimes called rumba shakers are a native instrument of Latin America. They are percussion instruments. Class= Idiophones and are usually played in pairs. They consist of a dried calabash gourd shell or coconut shell filled with seeds or dried beans. They may also be made of leather, wood, or plastic.
Maracas sometimes called rumba shakers are a native instrument of Latin America. They are percussion instruments. Class= Idiophones and are usually played in pairs. They consist of a dried calabash gourd shell or coconut shell filled with seeds or dried beans. They may also be made of leather, wood, or plastic.
Steel drums were invented on the island of Trinidad around the time of W.W.II.  One can trace the roots of these instruments back to the African slaves who were placed on the island by Spanish and French plantation owners as early as the 16th century.  The constant struggle against the “elite” upper class brought many hardships and frustrations to the African slaves; most of them had been separated from their families and lost their native languages.  Music was their only link back to Africa.
Steel drums jam
Steel drums jam
String Quartet?
Steel Quartet?

Auxiliary percussion (Untuned percussion)

Agogo bells
Dayereh (doyra)
Frame drum
Finger cymbals
Glass harp
Jam blocks
Jordan Slap
Knee Slap
Marching machine
Monkey stick (mendoza or lagerphone)
Sand blocks
Timpani Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they 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 stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of musical ensembles including concert, marching, and even some rock bands.
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they 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 stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of musical ensembles including concert, marching, and even some rock bands.
Slapstick (whip or woodcrack)
Jingle bells (sleigh bells)
Slide whistle
Taxi horn
Temple blocks
Thunder machine
Wind chime
Wind machine
Wood block
Persian percussion
Toca Origin Series Djembe, Celtic Knot, shop now at
Toca Origin Series Djembe, Celtic Knot, shop now at
Latin/Afro-Caribbean percussion
Batá drum
Bongo drums
Cajón (box drums)
The conga, or tumbadora, is a tall, narrow, single-headed Cuban Drum, originally from the Congo region in Africa. Although ultimately derived from African drums made from hollowed logs, the Cuban conga is staved, like a barrel. These drums were probably made from salvaged barrels originally. Congas are now very common in Latin music particularly in rhumba, including salsa music, and reggae, as well as many other forms of popular music.
Güiro (a.k.a. scraper)
Congas and Bongos
Congas and Bongos
Jawbone (instrument)
Main article: drum stick
The most common kit drumming sticks are wooden sticks modelled on, or in some cases identical to, those originally designed for use with the snare drum. These come in a variety of weights, conventionally expressed as a number, and tip designs, expressed as a letter following the number, with the higher numbers indicating lighter sticks. Thus, a 7A is a common jazz stick with a wooden tip, while a 7N is the same weight of stick with a nylon tip, and a 7B is a wooden tip but with a different tip profile, shorter and rounder than a 7A. A 5A is a common wood tipped rock stick, heavier than a 7A but with a similar profile. The numbers are most commonly odd but even numbers are used occasionally, in the range 2 (heaviest) to 9 (lightest).The exact meanings of both numbers and letters differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and some sticks are not described using this system at all, just being known as Jazz (typically a 7N or 8N) or Heavy Rock (typically a 4B or 5B) for example. The most general purpose stick is a 5A (wood tip, for snare tone) or 5N (nylon tip, for cymbal tone).Other sticks commonly used are rutes,consisting of a bundle of canes, and wire or nylon drum brushes. More rarely, other beaters such as cartwheel mallets (known to kit drummers as “soft sticks”) may be used. It is not uncommon for rock drummers to use the “wrong” end of a stick, and in view of this some makers now produce tipless sticks with two “wrong” ends.

Tabla: Drums of North India

—Eric Phinney Tabla is the most famous percussion instrument of North India. It is most commonly used in North Indian classical music, but its versatility in all musical styles has enabled it to become the most popular percussion instrument in all of India. The level of sophistication and tonal beauty it possesses has elevated the instrument to an unmatched status in the world of percussion. Tabla, a set of two drums, is the modern caretaker of an ancient rhythmic tradition that is perhaps 5000 years old in a part of the world that is considered a birthplace of civilization. I began studying tabla with a master teacher fifteen years ago after years of traditional Western percussion studies, and continue to be humbled by the tradition, complexity, and magic that are inherent in this study. I will try to touch on a few aspects that will hopefully illuminate an instrument that for many people is both exotic and fascinating.


History The history of classical music in India is considered to be at least 5000 years old as represented by a continuum of musicians passing the music down in the oral tradition. As one of the oldest musical traditions in the world, there are qualities that many feel bridge the gap from the divine aspect of the creation of sound itself to musical expression. The first references to the melodic and rhythmic systems of Indian music are found in the Vedas, a sacred collection of literature in the ancient Sanskrit language dating from 1500 BC. The first mention of ragas (melody) and talas (rhythm) are in the Vedas and these ancient eternal qualities are still used in modern classical music. The original percussion instrument of North Indian classical music was a two-headed barrel-shaped drum called the pakhawaj. The pakhawaj was used to accompany vocalists as well as instrumentalists playing string instruments (vina, sitar) or winds (bansuri bamboo flute). Indian musicians of the 17th and 18th centuries were employed as court musicians, just like their European counterparts of the time. Legend has it that an argument ensued between two pakhawaj players employed by the Moghul court of Mohammed Shah in the early 18th century over a drum competition. The single-barrel drum was chopped in two by an angry sword-carrying drummer named Sidar Khan. Whether that is true or not, modern research suggests that the tabla were invented in the first half of the 18th century (about 1738) by a drummer named Amir Khusru, who was instructed to develop a more subtle and melodic percussion instrument that could accompany the new style of music called Khayal. That style, with tabla accompaniment, is the basis of the modern performances of Indian classical music.

Tabla in Rajasthan, India
Tabla in Rajasthan, India
Did the tablas just get better?
Did the tablas just get better?

Description of Tabla The tabla is a set of two drums that are played while sitting on the floor. The larger drum, called Bayan, was originally made from clay, but is now constructed of metal (bras, steel, or copper). The Bayan is considered the bass drum of the set, but there is a tremendous range of expression possible by using certain techniques employed by a skilled drummer. The right-hand drum is called the Dahina, and is made of a seasoned hard wood and hollowed out like the Bayan. Each drum has two layers of goatskin stretched across its top to provide a playing surface. The top layer is cut in a circle around the rim, and the bottom layer stretches across the entire drum. The most unique aspect of tabla construction is the application of an iron and rice paste that is placed in a circle on top of the drum head. That black paste is called the Shyahi and, once it is dried, it allows for sound possibilities that are not found on any other drum in the world. There are goatskin straps to hold the drum heads in place at a very high tension, and tuning blocks on the side of the drums to control the pitch. The Dahina is tuned to the tonic pitch of the composition the instrumentalist or vocalist is performing, while the Bayan is tuned not to a specific pitch, but to one that can easily be modulated to imitate the intricate drum language. Both drums are played with the fingers and sometimes the palm of the hand. Learning tabla requires many years of dedicated lessons with a good teacher and regular, rigorous practice of many hours a day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cultural Trends

I have kept the content within the conventional and provided the illustrations for the most popular and readily used percussion insruments in the music industry all around the world. In many countries, the production and composition of music rests on the affordability and availability of musical intruments,and particularly percussion intruments. Many cultures rely solely on their traditional instruments and still produce some of the finest compositions. The Indian/Southeast Asian Dholak has remained the most commonly used within these regions over the years.

Among tuned Percussion: The term xylophone may be used generally, to include all such instruments, such as the marimba, balafon and even the glockenspiel, and the semantron. Castanets, rototoms and clappers are still quite popular. Nowadays we cann use technology to re-create the effects of all these instruments in various varieties of pitches and bended varieties of their  sounds, however, the instruments are still there and are used frequently. Percussion instruments are fairly common in ownership, however for the results and uses, careful attention should be paid to purchasing the proper hardware for them and all required accessories.

The Percussion Concept Personified: Clave is the Spanish word for “keystone” or “key” which indicates that the clave rhythm is the basis of authentic Latin rhythms. The repeated five-note pattern can be performed with a “forward clave rhythm” of three notes followed by two or a “reversed clave rhythm” of two notes followed by three.

This instrument consists of two small wooden rods (about 8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter). They are typically made of rosewood, ebony or genadillo. One clave (often called the male) is normally rested in a loosely cupped hand and struck with the second clave (often called the striker or female). The male is typically held in the left hand with right-handed performers and lays between the fingertips and the heel of the hand. The thumb is held out to provide added support. There should be a space between the clave and the palm of the hand to create a resonating chamber. The female is held as a striker in the other hand and is struck against the male.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


A handbell is a bell designed to be rung by hand. To ring a handbell, a ringer grasps the bell by its slightly flexible handle traditionally made of leather, but often now made of plastic and moves the wrist to make the hinged clapper inside the bell strike. An individual handbell can be used simply as a signal to catch people’s attention or summon them together, but handbells are generally heard in tuned sets. Handbell Musicians of America is dedicated to advancing the musical art of handbell/handchime ringing through education, community and communication.


Established in 1954, the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers grew out of the previously established New England Guild of English Handbell Ringers. In 2010, AGEHR became Handbell Musicians of America. It’s primary objectives are to educate, promote the exchange of ideas relating to handbell and handchime ringing, and sponsor educational activities. Our membership of approximately 7,000 includes mostly directors of handbell or handchime choirs. The Guild is divided into 12 two- to five-state areas, which are further divided into individual state and district units. Members of the the Handbell Musicians of America seek to carry out the motto, “Uniting People through a Musical Art.”-See more at:

History of The Guild The love and enthusiasm for handbells in America sprang from the hands of Margaret Shurcliff of Boston, Massachusetts. Margaret-Schurcliff-ringing

In 1902 she became the first American woman to ring a complete peal on tower bells in England. She also rang two peals on handbells, and she was presented with a set of eight Whitechapel English handbells, which she continued to expand. Margaret was also honored with a membership in the Ancient Society of College Youths, England’s oldest and most respected ringing society. She introduced many friends to the joys of handbell ringing, and her Beacon Hill Ringers, consisting of five of her six children and several friends, became well known for their annual Christmas caroling on Beacon Hill. –

Your Best Handbell Purchases at:
The History of Wind Chimes
Although the wind chime has existed from prehistoric times in many cultures, it received its most elegant and prolific development in east and south Asia, from Bali to Tibet and Japan, where it was often elaborately decorated, cast, or carved and was hung from the eaves of sacred structures. Buddhists especially made use of wind chimes and wind bells, attaching them profusely by the hundreds or even thousands to the eaves of temples, shrines, and pagodas, causing during breezy moments an almost overwhelming auspicious sensation of sound. In China and Japan they became a decorative art in private homes as well as on sacred structures, and in the 19th and 20th centuries their popular use spread more widely among Western countries. Today, we are bridging the worlds of ancient and modern times, the wisdom of the East is spreading to the West and being met with enthusiasm and intrigue. Healing effects of wind chimes Tones have a healing effect on our bodies, calm our minds and awaken our spirits. The resonance and vibration of sound releases stress and emotional blockages in the body and calms the mind. The calming of mind expands conscious awareness and connection with spirit. Wind chimes thereby help enhance the mind/body/spirit connection bringing us a sense of peace and well being.
Feng Shui and Wind Chimes Feng Shui literally translates to mean wind and water. These two elements are the most fundamental of life’s energy. They symbolize the manifestation of movement of energy. In Feng Shui this energy is known as Chi. It is the positive flow of Chi that is most desired for a healthy, happy and lucky life. Negative Chi flow can be destructive, which is Chi that moves too fast, too slow or is stagnant. Feng Shui offers cures to enhance conditions to bring a more auspicious flow of energy. The wind chime is an excellent cure for negative Chi and an elegant way to enhance positive Chi.

Sound connects us with our environment, nature is never silent and sound links us to other life. Sound stimulation can nurture behavioral changes and emotions. We can react negatively or positively to sound. Positive sound can ease the feeling of loneliness or isolation. Good sound can stimulate or enhance relaxation, reverse sadness, clam nervousness, tension and anger. Wind chimes help us to recognize Chi flow, by the sound the wind chime makes. The gentle sound of wind chimes can greatly help to create a positive energy flow and facilitate good Chi. They can also correct bad Chi flow by masking or covering negative, harsh or dulling sounds in the environment, such as the sound of traffic. Wind chimes can correct these situations and bring balance to a home and to enrich your life. Agogo Bells in well tuned sets with 2 or 3 bells ag-4-agogo-bell-glockenspiel-brasilien-samba

Well-matched set of Agogô bells with a great sound rich in harmonics. The Agogô bell is an Afro-brazilian percussion instrument consisting of two or three matching bells with a cowbell-like sound. The Agogô bell is part of the samba bateria (samba percussion ensemble) but is played at Capoeira and Afoxé, too. The Agogô comes with a mallet.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Life of a Percussionist

By Soton Crier

To those of you who weren’t aware, it was the last night of the Proms which usually calls for those attending the Albert hall to become overly emotional and patriotic listening to some of the great scores written by Britain’s finest. Dambusters is a usual favourite and who can forget the fan’s Jerusalem, which despite its misleading name is unmistakably British.

However when I was watching on Saturday (Yes I am 19 and I really was watching the Proms) I wasn’t singing along at home to the classics, I was thinking about the unsung hero in every Orchestra who always gets overlooked, I was thinking about the percussionist. While other members of the orchestra can fall back on their fellow members, the Percussionist works alone.  His mistakes can not be masked by a chorus of strings or a big brass band. Though the contributions of this musician’s work seem minimal compared to his/her compatriots they should not be underestimated.  Every cymbal clash, every virtuoso glockenspiel solo, every triangle ting; a percussionist is responsible for them all.  Playing percussion on its own is an impressive skill to behold but it is lost in the greater scheme of an orchestra.

It’s sad really.  A percussionist in an Orchestra doesn’t even adhere to traditional percussion instruments, moreover he doesn’t get to use the full array of instruments at his disposal.  Percussion instruments were believed to be the first ever instruments and date back to tribal times.  Imagine being a musician back then; thought of as so inventive by banging two pieces of timber together to create a noise.  Then all of a sudden musical evolution saw the rise of the strings to quash these primitive striking tools.


Of course Percussion evolved too; the Piano Forte is a percussion instrument but has broken away from its ancestors and managed to assert itself in people’s homes and as heart of the Orchestra.  It’s so loud that it can drown out almost anything, the lid has to be shut for big performances.   The unfortunate news for budding percussionists is that music has naturally been linked to popular culture.  The guitar has mutated into the electric and the piano has managed to downsize to fit into people’s homes.  What both have in common is that they have an appeal to the masses.  Everyone is instantly impressed if one can play either of these instruments no matter how proficient you are.  Playing the glockenspiel on the other hand, well I’m not sure you could get anyone into bed with that one besides pianists and guitarists are deemed to have more impressive fingering.

At this point you are probably wondering why have I not mentioned the Drum kit? Well the fact is that a Drum kit is not part of a percussionist’s armory, they have to make do with bongo drums and the like.  A drumkit is one of the instruments that became popular, like the Piano and seemed to get away from the art of percussion.  So this leaves us with a dilemma for percussionists worldwide.  Do they continue to remain in the shadows, occasionally popping up to make that memorable cymbal crash or do they rebel? I’m sure there are purely percussion orchestras out there somewhere but not as mainstream as a classic Orchestra.  Maybe I’ll be proved wrong and next year while watching the proms will get to hear a symphony of crash bang wallop.



A Marimbeta


A Quick History of Groth Music…

Groth Music was founded in 1939 by Chester E. Groth, a professional musician, who sought to bring a quality music store to Twin Cities musicians. Once established, Groth Music earned a reputation of integrity, a place where one could find a knowledgeable sales staff, and quality merchandise at fair prices.  Groth Music remained at its downtown location for nearly 50 years until the boom of skyscrapers in Minneapolis forced the last vestige of the old fashioned music store out of Minneapolis.

Chester Groth died in 1985 and ownership was assumed by his daughter.   Nancy Groth Kersten expanded inventory to include music, ethnic instruments from around the world, and gift items not normally found in the Twin Cities. Groth Music is still an old fashioned family music store with an emphasis on quality products, integrity, and satisfied customers.

Groth Music developed a web presence in 1999 and continues to bring more of it’s more popular items online today.  In 2005 the company began publishing a Music Education Catalog which is now distributed nationwide and includes 164 pages packed full of some of the most popular items used in schools and churches around the country and even overseas.

We hope you enjoy browsing our website and invite you to entertain yourself by visiting our Bloomington, MN  showroom.

A few photos from the Archives….


    A quick peek into the current Groth Music 20,000 sqaure foot showroom in Bloomington, MN…


Advanced Search

Thank you for visiting Drumstutor.
This page was last modified on 23rd August at 11:46 p.m. Please note that Drumstutor provides citation and reference where required. All copyright belong to Nadeem Ahmed (content creator) see About page. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy which is shared and recognized by all blog owners and viewers alike. All references have been provided for Wikipedia ( Creative Commons Attribution. Please do not use materials from this website, unless it appears in Share_Alike License, and if proper citations are not provided. The author’s writing style follows standardized manuals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s