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FAQs about Percussion Instruments

by Emily Lloyd

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Complete bright blue drum set

Aside from the human voice, percussion instruments are considered to be the very first instrument known to mankind. In addition to being one of the oldest types of musical instruments, percussion instruments are also the most popular. Almost every single culture features some sort of percussion instrument in their music. The versatile nature of these instruments allows the user to produce a myriad of different sounds. Even though percussion instruments are popular, there are many questions about them. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about percussion instruments.

Questions about Percussion Instruments:

  1. What is a percussion instrument?
    A percussion instrument is classified as any object that makes sound when struck. It can be struck with a mallet, hand or a second, identical object; simply striking two things together to make some sort of sound produces a basic percussion instrument.

  2. How many kinds of percussion instruments are there?
    Since you can make a percussion instrument out of just about anything, the possibilities are endless. Drums are typically the most popular type of percussion instruments, and there are more than fifty different kinds of drums. There are traditional percussion instruments, like drums or bells, but also non-traditional percussion options, like using body or car parts. Remember, anything that makes a sound when struck is then considered a percussion instrument. This allows artists to get creative when writing music.

  3. What types of music features percussion instruments?
    Just about every single type of music features some sort of percussion instrument, whether to keep the beat of the song or as a riff. Reggae music usually prominently features percussion instruments.

  4. What are percussion instruments used for?
    Percussion instruments are mainly used for keeping a steady beat during a song. They are rarely used as the main instrument in music. However, some modern music is beginning to feature entire songs played on percussion instruments like drums and marimbas.

  5. How do you tune a percussion instrument?
    Some percussion instruments, like drums, are tunable while others, like cowbells or anvils, are not. To tune a drum, all you have to do is either tighten or loosen the drum's lugs. Tightening the lugs will raise the pitch of the drum while loosening the lugs will lower the drum's pitch.

  6. How do I care for a percussion instrument?
    Since there are so many different kinds of percussions instruments, it can be difficult to pinpoint one specific answer, but in general it's a good idea to keep your percussion instrument in a cool and dry place. Avoid excessive exposure to humidity if possible. Store more expensive instruments, like drum sets, indoors and your percussion instruments will last longer.

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