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Percussion Instruments

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Percussion instruments gives dhythmic support and dramatic effect to any piece of music. These instruments are categorized into two types; tuned and untuned percussions instruments.

1. Bass Drum

The bass drum is a percussion instrument and is the lowest and largest member of the drum family. Bass drums are used in orchestral music as well as marching bands.

2. Bell

Bells can be made from various materials including clay, glass or metal. It also ranges in shape and size. It may be played by lightly shaking it as in hand bells or by striking it using a metal or wooden striker or mallet.

3. Bongo Drum

Another type of drum that is mostly used in world music is the bongo drum. Bongos are played by striking the fingertips and/or the heel of the hand on the drumhead.

4. Castanet

For some reason I think of chestnuts when I hear the word castanets. True enough the word castanet was derived from the Spanish word castana meaning chestnuts. Castanets belong to the clapper family of percussion instruments.

5. Conga Drum

A conga drum is another type of percussion instrument belonging to the drum family. It is shaped somewhat like a barrel and is played the same way as the bongo drum. Conga also refers to a form of dance of Afro-Cuban origin. A perfect example is the song "Conga" by Gloria Estefan.

6. Cymbal

The player holds the strap attached to each cymbal and brushes it against each other or clash it together. It can either be held horizontally or vertically and played either loudly or softly depending on the music.

7. Glockenspiel

Glockenspiels have tuned steel bars or tubes which are struck by the musician using two beaters. The beaters may be made from metal, wood or rubber.

8. Gong

Remember that show on NBC during the 70's hosted by Chuck Barris? It was called "The Gong Show" and it's an amateur talent show where the gong was sounded to signal that a contestant was eliminated. Read more about the gong.

9. Maracas

The maracas is one of the easiest musical instruments to play; you just need to have a sense of rhythm, timing and a flair for shaking. Maracas are made in various materials including plastic and wood and it ranges from the very simple to the most intricate designs.

10. Metallophone

Generally, metallophones differ from xylophones because the tuned bars which are struck with a mallet are made of metal, hence the name metallophones. There are many different kinds of metallophones; here we will focus on those which are used by Indonesian gamelan orchestras.

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