A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that makes a sound when it is shaken, scraped, hit by hand or when it is struck against another similar instrument. The percussion family is the largest in the orchestra. It contains instruments such as bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, timpani, tambourine, triangle, maracas, gongs, celesta, chimes and piano. These instruments make very special sounds, keep the rhythm and they add colour and harmony to the music played.
These instruments are categorised into two classes: tuned percussion instruments, which produce notes that have an identifiable pitch, and untuned percussion instruments, which produce notes without an identifiable pitch. There are also other classifications based on the construction, function within musical theory and ethnic origin of the instrument.
Percussion instruments are made from various materials, but they usually consist of a stretched membrane or a solid material. The surface can be made of wood, metal or animal hide. They also come in different shapes and sizes.
These instruments go back thousands of years to around 6000 BC. It is believed that they were the first musical instruments ever invented. Drums were used by ancient Africans as a form of communication, in order to send signals. The word ‘percussion’ comes from the Latin term ‘percussio’ which translates as ‘to beat, strike’. Today, a lot of modifications and advancements are being made to this type of instrument.
The type of music played by a musician is based on the sound the instrument makes. This instrument can be used in almost every music genre. Some famous percussion players are Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Buddy Rich, Charlie Watts and Mick Fleetwood.
At Varsity music we provide a great range of new and used percussions available to buy online. They are the best on the market and serviced by our trained musicians.
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