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Percussion Facts

20 Interesting Facts About Percussion

It is crucial to classify percussive instruments in two manners. This page features percussion with specific tuning, like Tubular Bells, as well as those without, such as the Snare Drum or Bongos. To clarify, drums like the Snare Drum and Cymbals do possess pitch. However, it is less apparent and cannot be readily altered during a performance.

Tuned percussion includes some prevalent instruments like the Piano. Piano is the most popular instrument in the world and has its own section for this reason. Let’s find some facts about others on the list, some of which you may not be familiar with.

Percussion Facts

1. Angklung

Percussion Facts

This is a small rack of carefully selected, vertical bamboo shoots. They can be variously tuned from player to player and are sounded by shaking the horizontal beam at the bottom of the rack. They vary in size and complexity and charmingly resemble the church organ.

Taken from Sudanese culture, Angklung first began in Indonesia for cultural and religious purposes. It spread into different parts of the Far East, such as Malaysia and Thailand.

Watching it being played, particularly in a large group of players is a wonderful spectacle.

2. No Spiel Here!

Finding its origin in Indonesia, the Glockenspiel meaning ‘play bells’ in German was brought to Europe in the mid 17th century.

In its modern form, consisting of steel metal bars played with a pair of mallets, the sound is unmistakable. The Glockenspiel is widely used in a huge range of genres, from Tchaikovsky’s Ballet Sleeping Beauty to the essential element of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

One of the best ways of describing the sound of the Glockenspiel is by listening to Mozart’s Magic Flute, used as the sound of the bird catcher.

Percussion Facts

3. This Chimes We Me

Hand chimes are a beautiful, single tone percussion piece.

They are played by hand and use a lever to strike a metal, square frame.

As with Tubular Bells, each chime is tuned differently, and can be played side by side with great skill.

4. Marimbaway

Percussion Facts

The Marimba is a larger and fuller version of the Xylophone, and is the national instrument of many countries in Central America.

Modern versions include metal resonator tubes under the wooden bars, creating a distinct sound.

Unlike the lightly weighted and convenient hand chime, this instrument is no easy thing to move. Not the best weapon of a traveling musician, unless you’re super devoted. 

5. Metallophone

This is the category of musical instruments where metal parts are struck (such as the Glockenspiel and Vibraphone ), unlike the Xylophone and Marimba with their wooden bars. No guitarists, this does not include you.

6. Black Is Steel

This must be the most fun section of this article. For those of you lucky enough to have enjoyed a live performance of steel bands, you will know what I mean. Given the obvious name, not much needs to be said about the construction of this simple instrument. Steel Pans were invented in the late 18th century by African slaves in Trinidad and Tobago as a cheap and wonderful way of celebrating. 

7. A Tubular Bell Tale (That We Don’t Want To Be Sued For)

A recording studio on the south coast of England was forced to buy a set of Tubular Bells when a famous artist (who shall not be named) insisted, implying it was absolutely necessary for his artistic credibility.

After this demanding request, the studio purchased a set and placed it with frustration in the live room. As it happens, the artist had nothing to do with the Tubular Bells throughout his stay at the studios. He may not have even realised they were there, given his pre history involving dangerous substances.

Many things have been said about this artist, such as his peculiar taste for live bats on stage. We’re willing to say that this story, like many others, is nowhere near the truth.