Tambourine unpitched percussion

Percussion

Percussion reviews, articles, and tips for beginners and beyond

In this series...

History

Primitive percussion instruments are believed to be the first musical instruments used by human beings, with evidence of drums in use from as far back as prehistoric times. Archeologists have found evidence that Neolithic cultures in China were using alligator skins to make drums as far back as 5500 BC.

Japanese Taiko drums started appearing throughout the Far East from about 500 BC, with African drums arriving in Southern Europe a few hundred years later.

Tuned percussion instruments (such as the Xylophone) are thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, initially appearing as multiple logs before evolving into the instruments we know today.

During medieval times early versions of many of the modern percussion instruments we are familiar with started being invented. These found their way into the orchestra from the early 19th century, and in the 200 years that have followed the number of percussion instruments used in classical music has increased considerably.

Percussion Specs

Common percussion instruments include the Snare Drum, a double-skinned drum of between 12 and 15 inches, with a set of snare wires under its bottom skin to produce a buzzing effect. In an orchestra you will often also find a metal triangle, a pair of clash cymbals, a bass drum (which could be as large as 50 inches), a tambourine and a wood block.

Tuned percussion instruments are laid out similarly to a piano, with the most popular instruments including Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone and Xylophone.

Also within the percussion family we have the Timpani, or kettledrums. These colossal beasts are used in the orchestra more than any other percussion instrument, and have a clever pedal mechanism to change the pitch of each drum.

How To Play

Techniques for different percussion instruments vary considerably, with a competent percussionist being expected to master multiple instruments.

Instruments such as the Snare Drum, Tenor Drum and Tom Toms are played with a pair of drumsticks, in the same manner as the drum kit.

Latin Percussion instruments, such as Bongos and Congas, are ordinarily played with the hands.

Tuned Percussion instruments use a wide variety of wooden and plastic mallets, with hammers being used for Tubular Bells.

Timpani sticks are similar to normal drumsticks, but have a small ball covered in felt at the end the drums are struck with.

did you know

The most readily available percussion instrument is the human body. Many percussionists have taken advantage of the variety of sounds available by using different parts of the human body, such as stamping feet and clapping hands.

FREE REPORT REVEALS
Top 10 Tricks to Playing Percussion

Top 10 Tricks

Percussion

Get the 4 Things I’ve Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Every Friday, I distribute a unique email showcasing the four most amazing things I’ve reviewed or used that week.

The e-mail really could be about anything at all; books, audio, gadgets, playing techniques – as long as it’s entertaining and interesting, it’ll end up on the mail!

These ‘4-Feature Friday‘ emails are only accessible for those who sign up below – so what are you waiting for?

Read the next post in this series:

watch now
Music Tutorials
Amazing Percussion Tutorials
FOR YOU

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Quick Guide...

Getting Started with Music Lessons

Free Report Reveals...

10 Secrets To Successful Music Lessons

Join 4,729 Subscribers Who Receive Free Tips

Our community can help YOU learn any musical instrument in the best way possible - sign up now

THE SPOTLIGHT IS WAITING

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

THE SPOTLIGHT IS WAITING

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

Your Video Is Waiting!

How To Save Time & Money When Choosing A Musical Instrument

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Your Video Is Waiting!

How To Save Time & Money When Choosing A Musical Instrument

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Your Video Is Waiting!

How To Save Time & Money When Choosing A Musical Instrument

Every Friday

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

ONE-2-ONE ADVICE PACKAGE

Need Professional Guidance On What To Buy?

Our 0ne-2-0ne Advice Package is a 15 minute phone-call with one of ted’s list’s professional musicians.

They can guide and advise you on what instrument to purchase and where from; often securing a discount along the way.

£50 £25

THE SPOTLIGHT IS WAITING

Your Tips & Tricks Are Waiting

Sign up to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when researching singing techniques

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

Your Video Is Waiting!

How To Save Time & Money When Choosing A Singing App

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

THE NEW ARTS ACADEMY...

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing studio gear

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument

EVERY FRIDAY

Get the 4 Things We Have Been Loving, Using and Reviewing

Join Ted's List Now To Get Your Tips & Tricks

Sign up now to find out how to save time & money when choosing a musical instrument