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1. the act, an instance, or an effect of percussing
2. Music the family of instruments in which sound arises from the striking of materials with sticks, hammers, or the hands
3. Music
a. instruments of this family constituting a section of an orchestra, band, etc.
b. (as modifier): a percussion ensemble
4. Med the act of percussing a body surface



a method of medical examination of internal organs. It gained acceptance in medical practice at the beginning of the 19th century, after the publication of works by L. Auen-brugger (1761) and J. N. Corvisart (1808). The theoretical basis for percussion was provided by J. Skoda in 1839, and various modifications of the method were proposed by V. P. Obraztsov and others.

Percussion is based on the fact that when the surface of the body is tapped, vibratory motions arise in the underlying organs, producing sounds of definite volume, duration, pitch, and resonance. For example, the lungs contain air and produce a loud, distinct sound, whereas the heart, liver, and muscles, being solid organs, produce a soft, dull sound.

Percussion may be topographic, determining the boundaries of an organ, or comparative, revealing changes in an organ. An area of dulled sound in a lung may indicate pneumonia or pleurisy, while a metallic sound indicates increased pneumatiza-tion of lung tissue (pulmonary emphysema) or the presence of cavities (caverns, cysts) in the lung. The presence of free fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites) is indicated by a dull sound, and excessive accumulation of gases in the intestine (meteorism) by a metallic sound.


Chernorutskii, M. V. Diagnostika vnutrennikh boleznei, 4th ed. [Leningrad] 1959.
Miasnikov, A. L. Propedevtika (diagnostika i chastnaia patologiia) vnutrennikh boleznei, 4th ed. Moscow, 1957.


In veterinary medicine, percussion is most often used to examine the heart, respiratory organs, and digestive organs. Various types of percussion hammers and pleximeters are used. Percussion makes it possible to detect changes in organs of animals at depths of 6–7 cm from the examined surface.


The act of striking or firmly tapping the surface of the body with a finger or a small hammer to elicit sounds, or vibratory sensations, of diagnostic value.
Setting off an explosive charge by a sharp blow, as of a gun hammer.
References in periodicals archive ?
Also later in the year, RWCMD percussionists will accompany outstanding soloists, BBC Symphony Orchestra principal Colin Curry and International Marimba soloist, She-e Wu, in an evening recital.
Donatoni's tiny Bok (bass clarinet and marimba) created an immediate presence, and Kagel's Match, typical 1960s gesture-music, revealed Beckettian acting talents from Elaine Ackers and Richard Jenkinson (duelling cellists) and Julian Warburton, their deadpan percussionist referee
Type of participants: Wind and string instrumentalists, percussionists, pianists and vocalists.
The concert tribute will feature Kraft's avant-garde classical chamber works, including Momentum for Eight Percussionists and Quartet for Percussion (using 46 instruments).
Trained as a percussionist at the Berklee School of Music and tile Hartt College of Music, Smith (b.
The percussionists Patato Valdez, Candido, and Mongo Santamaria were also very influential, and the affinity of the Puerto Rican musicians culturally and musically with Afro-Cuban music and musicians established a strong bridge of exchange.
Type of participants: Wind instrumentalists, pianists, percussionists, organists and vocalists.
royal hartigan is a percussionist who leads his own quartet, and performs with Juba, the Fred Ho Afro Asian Music Ensemble, Hafez Modirzadeh's Paradox Ensemble, and the David Bindman-Tyrone Henderson Project.