percussion instrument

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Related to Untuned percussion: Percussion instruments

percussion instrument,

any instrument that produces musical sound when its surface is struck with an implement (such as a mallet, stick, or disk) or with the hand. Perhaps the most universally familiar percussion instrument is the drumdrum,
in music, percussion instrument, known in various forms and played throughout the world and throughout history. Essentially a drum is a frame over which one or more membranes or skins are stretched.
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, common to the most primitive as well as the most sophisticated musical arts. Sticks clicked against each other are another simple form of percussion. These are related to castanetscastanets
, percussion instruments known to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, possibly of Middle Eastern origin, now used primarily in Spanish dance music or imitations of it.
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, cymbalscymbals
, percussion instruments of ancient Asian origin. They consist of a pair of slightly concave metal plates which produce a vibrant sound of indeterminate pitch. Known in Europe since the Middle Ages, they were introduced into the European orchestra by Nikolaus Adam
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, and the triangletriangle,
in music, percussion instrument consisting of a steel rod bent into a triangle, open at one angle, and struck with a steel rod. Only since the end of the 18th cent. has it been an orchestral instrument, although it appeared in Europe much earlier.
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. Among the percussion instruments used in the West are the bellbell,
in music, a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow metal vessel, often cup-shaped with an outward-flaring rim, damped at one end and set into vibration by a blow from a clapper within or from a hammer without.
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, the celestacelesta
, keyboard musical instrument patented in 1886 by Auguste Mustel of Paris. It consists of a set of steel bars fastened over wood resonators and struck by hammers operated from the keyboard. The compass is four octaves upward from middle C.
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, the glockenspielglockenspiel
[Ger.,=bell-play], percussion instrument. The medieval glockenspiel was a sort of miniature carillon (see bell), sometimes played mechanically by means of a rotating cylinder with protruding pins. In the 16th cent. it was given a keyboard.
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, the xylophonexylophone
[Gr.,=wood sound], musical instrument having graduated wooden slabs that are struck by the player with small, hard mallets. The slabs are usually arranged like a keyboard, and the range varies from two to four octaves.
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 (and similar marimba), and the Caribbean steel drum. In general, percussion instruments are not tuned by construction; pitch, tone, and volume depend on the skill of the performer.

See also gonggong,
percussion instrument consisting of a disk, usually with upturned edges, 3 ft (91 cm) or more in diameter in the modern orchestra, often made of bronze, and struck with a felt- or leather-covered mallet or drumstick.
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, kettledrumkettledrum,
in music, percussion instrument consisting of a hemispherical metal vessel over which a membrane is stretched, played with soft-headed wooden drumsticks. Of ancient origin, it appeared early in Europe, probably imported from the Middle East by crusaders in the 12th
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, snare drumsnare drum,
small drum having a drumhead at either end. One head is struck with wooden drumsticks, and on the other are stretched several strings, called snares, which cause a rattling against the head. The snare drum was used only in military bands until the 19th cent.
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, tambourinetambourine
, musical instrument of the percussion family, having a narrow circular frame and a single parchment drumhead, with metal plates or jingles set in the frame. The ancient Romans used it, and in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was used by traveling musicians and
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, and tom-tomtom-tom,
name popularly applied to high-pitched hand drums, usually barrel-shaped and having either one or two drumheads of skin. They are tunable to specific pitches. Supposedly of Native American or Asian origin, they are sometimes used in modern dance orchestras for special
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.

percussion instrument

any of various musical instruments that produce a sound when their resonating surfaces are struck directly, as with a stick or mallet, or by leverage action. They may be of definite pitch (as a kettledrum or xylophone), indefinite pitch (as a gong or rattle), or a mixture of both (as various drums)