There are an infinite number and variety of percussion instruments in the world, each with its own distinct sound and spirit in a piece of music. Each instrument, like herbs in a recipe, contributes its own flavor to a particular musical style. Despite the vast differences in sound produced all percussion instruments, musicians generally organize music genres based on the sound produced the instrument. The membranophonic style, or drum style, is the most well-known type of percussion music, in which sound is produced beating the surface of a stretched membrane. Idiophonic, aerophonic, and chordophonic percussion music are examples of other percussion music styles.
Membranophonic percussion is made up of “membranophones,” which vibrate throughout the entire instrument. Drums, from the timpani and kettle drums of the formal orchestra to the snare and bass drums of the high school band, are examples of such instruments. The African and Indian ensembles’ djembe and mridangam are also included in this group. A membrane is secured around the rim of a rigid, hollow housing in a membraneophone. Animal skins, wood, and clay were used to make early percussion instruments.
When a percussion instrument is stuck, it produces vibrations throughout the instrument’s body. This is known as idioophonic percussion. Idiophones, unlike membranophoic instruments, do not have membranes. These idiophonic instruments can be struck, plucked, blown, scraped, or rubbed, but the full-body vibration effect is a common denominator. Idiophones include the xylophone, chimes, triangle, cajón, casaba, and various hand bells. Glass, wood, dried or baked clay, or metal can all be used to make percussion instruments.
The remaining two percussion music classifications are aerophonic and chordophonic. Aerophones, as the name implies, produce sound moving air blown the percussionist. These instruments are classified as wind instruments, but they are also percussion instruments because they are frequently used for percussion effects musicians. The slide whistle, the apita or samba, and the siren are all examples of aerophones.
When struck, chordophones are stringed instruments that also serve as percussion instruments. The hammered dulcimer is the most well-known example of chordophonic music. Strings are strategically placed across the frame, similar to the piano, which is also a chordophonic instrument. To make sound, the musician uses a small mallet to strike the strings. The eastern onavillu and cimbalom, a large type of dulcimer used in concerts and symphonies, are two other chordophones.
Percussion instruments are among the oldest instruments known to mankind. Anyone can pound out a cacophony of sounds with a hammer or stick, but percussion music is distinct in that the instrument provides a tempered, regular, musical beat. Percussion is derived from the Latin word percussus, which means “to strike or beat.” It refers to the musical cadence created when a musician plays a percussion instrument.