Percussion instruments come in a variety of forms and include drums, cymbals, tabla, bass drum and the triangle. In Latin, the word 'percussio' means to beat and hence a percussion instrument is defined by its need to be struck in order to produce sound. Percussion instruments are some of the oldest musical instruments in the world due to their variety. They have been used for centuries to accompany vocal music in rituals and ceremonies across the globe. Percussion instruments can be divided into two main groups. The first being those that can produce notes with a pitch and those that cannot. Instruments such as a marimba, a large xylophone style instrument, can play a melody due to the variety of notes that they can play. Drums such as the snare and bass don't play melodies and are instead used to sound out a rhythm or the beat of a song.
Pitched percussion instruments can be signified in musical notation so that the percussion artist knows when they are expected to play within a wider piece. In an orchestral setting, percussion can be used to set rhythm or to amplify a certain melody or musical motif. A large drum known as Timpani features frequently in classical music but usually only at specific intervals. Similarly, percussion instruments such as the cymbals, triangle and cowbell are used in an orchestral piece to highlight a section or as part of a musical crescendo. Percussion plays a particularly important role in military bands as drums assist in creating a regular beat that soldiers can march to. Military or marching bands often feature a variety of percussion instruments such as the glockenspiel, snare drums, bass drums and triangles.
Today, most pieces of music have some kind of percussive or drumbeat that keeps the musical rhythm consistent. This is often achieved through the use of a drum set and a drummer. Drum sets come in a variety of sizes and formats but usually include a hi-hat, cymbals, a snare drum, a bass drum and tom drums. The drums and cymbals are struck using drum sticks as well as beaters that are controlled by the feet. A drum kit or drum set makes up a key part of the rhythm section in an ensemble. Percussion instruments such as drums will be heard in a variety of musical genres including jazz, pop, rock, blues and country music.
Learn to play percussion in less than one minute, anywhere, anytime. You can use your computer, tablet or even mobile device.
Anyone can experience percussion through Virtual Piano. You don’t need to be able to read music or to have played percussion before. Virtual Piano music sheets contain letters that correspond to the keys from a QWERTY keyboard. So it’s quick and simple to pick up. You can enjoy playing percussion instantly - anywhere, anytime.