Types Of Percussion Instruments

People who are not familiar with percussion instruments will be excited to learn about the type of percussion instruments that we have today. One of the most important instruments that belong to the percussion family is the drums used for the famous rock and roll genre of music, and the fact is we may not have had an idea of the drum today if we are not pleased with the unique sounds it creates when played.

The sad part about the person that plays any of the percussion instrument is the instrument keeps getting all of the accolades and glory, forgetting that someone was behind the glorious sound the instrument delivers. You will find out that there are so many types of percussion instruments available today on the market ranging from small to large, wooden to metal, and many more.

Surprisingly, the percussion instrument is one that has been used for orchestra music for so many years, making it the oldest instrument ever to be used for orchestra music. You might be wondering why the name percussion. Percussion instruments refers to instruments that generate sound either by shaking them, scraping them, or hitting them. You will require intense practice to be able to hit, scrape, or shake an instrument so it can produce sounds.

This shows you that playing any of the percussion instrument isn’t as simple as you might think, so you have to know the right place to hit, scrape, or shake, and the right time to do any of these. An interesting fact about percussion instruments is you can easily tune them, making it possible for them to produce several musical notes. This is noticeable in instruments like the piano, timpani, and xylophone.

There are other percussion instruments that are not tuned and yet have to definite pitch. This is present in instruments like castanets, cymbals, and drums. Adding color, excitement, special sounds, and rhythm to anything you are playing is what percussion instruments are designed to do, and you can count on a percussionist to be able to play several instruments under a particular music.

Furthermore, generating sounds while playing the percussion instruments requires the vibration of some parts of the instrument or the entire part of the instrument. They can be categorized by the use of certain methods in making a sound, and another feature about percussion instruments is they come in different sizes and shapes. Producing noise when agitated or struck is what percussion instruments are all about like we mentioned earlier.

In addition to this, it is okay to classify a whistle as a percussion instrument occasionally. However, making this sort of classification will depend on convenience and not on a musical theory. Since we have shared a thing or two with you concerning percussion instruments, it is the right time for us to show you the various types of percussion instruments you will easily find today.

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Types Of Percussion Instruments

Types Of Percussion Instruments


There has been a lot of argument whether the piano should be categorized as a percussion instrument or not, and a lot of people are of the opinion that it shouldn’t. The piano is played by hitting its keys using the fingers which is an indication that it should be part of the percussion family. The method the piano uses in producing unique sounds is what makes it considered as a percussion instrument, but what family do you think it should belong to.

Irrespective of the family or category it falls into, there is not denial that the piano instrument has staked its place in the world of orchestra music. The piano is another example of a tuned musical instrument which can be used in playing several notes, and the harmony it supports is what makes it ideal for orchestra music. It can also be played as a solo instrument, and this is part of what makes it unique.


The Timpani is another popular percussion instrument we want to talk about, and you can also refer to it as kettledrums. The Timpani is yet another example of a tuned instrument, meaning they are perfect for playing different notes. Loosening or stretching drum heads is the method applied when changing pitch while playing the Timpani instrument, and its drum heads are attached to a foot pedal.

The Timpani or Kettledrums are classified as a very central and important part of the percussion family because they are capable of offering harmony, melody, and rhythm. In orchestra music, you are likely to find about four Timpani instruments with various sizes. Anybody playing this instrument must be very good with his ears so as to tell when it is necessary to change pitch while performance is going on.


This is the third most popular instrument in the percussion family with its origin that traces back to Asia and Africa. Its Greek name implies wood sound, and the xylophone today is designed to have wooden bars that are arranged the same way the keys on the piano are arranged. The Xylophone is played by using a mallet, and making use of different types of mallet is one of the easiest ways you can change pitch when playing the xylophone.

Its wooden bars are designed to have resonators underneath them, and this is the point where vibration takes place. This is why a Xylophone is going to have very bright sounds, and one funny thing about instruments that make up the percussion family is there are other similar instruments that are similar like the xylophone.


Regarded as the noisemakers in orchestra music, Cymbals makes up one of the top members list of the percussion family. They come with two metal discs that are made using bronze, and their sizes varies. A large cymbal is going to produce lower sound levels, and trust Cymbals to bring all of the excitement and drama. You can also rely on cymbals to make delicate sounds and also enhance rhythm.

Cymbals are played by hitting just one or two cymbals against each other, and you can make use of mallets, brushes, or sticks to hit cymbals so they can generate sounds.

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Snare Drum

Types Of Percussion Instruments

Finally, we are rounding up this list with the snare drum, and this is a drum that gives off a rattling sound when it gets hit. A fact about the snare drum is it falls under the list of untuned instruments category, and this ensures that distinct pitches are not produced. Cymbals are mostly used under military music, making it a very important part of the central marching band.

Snare drums can be played by using a stick or mallet in hitting it. This guarantees producing its unique sound of its own.


There you have a list of the top five instruments that makes up the percussion family, but these are not all of the instruments you will find under this family. Other instruments that makes up this family includes bass drums, castanets, celesta, chimes, gong, marcas, tambourine, and triangle.