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Home > CCA > Performing Arts > Symphonic Band > Introduction > Introduction - Percussion

Introduction - Percussion

These are tuned metal tubes of varying lengths suspended from a stand. A mallet is used to strike the tubes. There is a damper pedal attached to the stand, which silences the tone if required. The sound produced resembles ringing church bells. Treble and/or Bass clef.      

The cymbals are made up of 2 circular brass metal plates with leather handles in the centre. They come in several sizes, and can be played in various ways such as clashing it together, hitting one plate with a stick, or playing a roll on one cymbal mounted on a stand.     

Snare Drum
The snare drum is a small drum with 2 drumheads. It is placed horizontally on a metal stand. The lower drumhead has got strips of metal called snares stretched across it. When the top drum is hit, the vibrations cause the snares to rattle against the bottom drumhead. This dry, rattling sound is the main characteristic of the side drum.
The xylophone consists of a series of graduated wooden bars. Each key is tuned to a specific note. The instrument resembles a piano keyboard with spaces between the keys. The player strikes the keys with mallets made of wood or rubber.
As the name suggests, the triangle is really a triangular metal shaped instrument. Hung on a string, it can be held by the hand or hung on a stand. A metal rod is used to hit the triangle, giving a sharp, metallic ring. By hitting the triangle on the insides of one corner, moving it up and down, the player can produce a roll.      

Originated from Asia, it is a large bronze disc hung vertically on a stand. The rim is bent over so that the edge does not vibrate. The gongs come in several sizes, the largest of which is called the tam tam.
The tambourine looks like a small drum with only one drumhead. Small metal discs are attached to slots all round the sides of the tambourine, which jangle when moved. The tambourine can be hit with a stick, shaken, or banged against the player's knee.      

Bass Drum
The largest of drums, the bass drum is a very impressive instrument; it can be very effective when played soft, as well as loud. The bass drum is usually placed on its side for maximum resonance, and hit with single blows with a drumstick headed with felt. Bass clef is used.
The drum head, stretched over the top of the timpani, is made either of synthetic plastic or cow hide. This skin can be stretched or loosened to achieve the required pitch by the means of a foot pedal found at the bottom of the instruments.