The percussion family of instruments are perhaps the most ancient musical instruments in existence. Percussion instruments a usually played by striking a resonating surface (a membrane or a plate or bar of wood, metal or other hard material), with the hand, sticks, or mallets.
There are two sub-groups of percussion instruments; Pitched – percussion instruments that produce a definite pitch and can therefore be used to play melodies or harmonies with other instruments, and Unpitched – those that produce no definite pitch and so are used purely for rhythm or colour.
Examples of pitched percussion are; kettledrum, tubular bells, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba. Examples of ‘unpitched’ percussion are; triangle, gong, castanets, whip, rattle, anvil, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, bongo, and cymbals. Various other objects have been used as percussion instruments also. These include; iron chains, motor horns, typewriter, starting pistols, tin sheet, and even canons.
Read more about specific percussion instruments by following the links below.