Percussion Instruments

Percussion musical instruments are played by being hitt, rubbed, scraped or shaken with the bare hand or with the help of a device. By this simple definition, percussion instruments are probably the eldest of all musical instruments, extending back to the invention of tools. Musicologists distinguish between mebranophones, where the sound is produced by setting a membrane to vibrate (drum, bongo, conga, djembe, tabla etc.) and idiophones, where the sound is produced by the object itself (bells. gongs, wooden blocks, shakers, scrapers, cymbals, triangle) etc. This second group also includes pitched percussion instruments such as the steelpan or steeldrum, the marimba, the glockenspiel and the vibraphone.

Well known folk/ethnic percussion instruments include the Celtic bodhran, the Middle Eastern tonbak, the Indian thavil, tabla, udukai, dhol and dholak, the Nepali dhaa and dhime, the Indonesian gamelan instruments, the African djembe and kpangolo, the Latin cajon, cabasa, guiro and the Brazilian pandeiro, cuica and atabaque, to name just a very few. In some cases, such as the apito or police whistle, which can be regarded as wind instruments, or the Brazilian berimbao (a string instrument), instruments may be classified as percussion instruments because of their musical function.

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