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The percussion instruments generally produce sound scraping it, pressing it or shaking it. Here are some known Percussion instruments.

Percussion instruments

Bass Drum

Usually, the bass drum is played by using padded beaters or sticks & striking it against the drumhead. In a drum set, the musician plays the bass drum by using a pedal-operated stick.

Family: Percussion

Types: The bass drums that are used in military music & marching bands have 2 drumheads. Another type of bass drum is the gong drum which is larger has has only one drum & is used in British orhcestras.

First Known Bass Drums: The first known bass drums that had 2 drumheads are believed to have existed as early as 2500 BC in Sumeria


It's possible to be made of different materials, the metal, the crystal or the clay. It may be played by lightly shaking it as in hand bells or by striking it using a metal or mallet or wooden striker.

Family: Percussion

First Known Bells: When the oldest bell was found and used throughout history in different parts of the world as the India, Egypt, Japan, China & England. Also it was used to call people to announcing or pray the beginning of a battle.

Bongo Drum

Family: Percussion

Types: In cuba the folk drums are usually called bongos. Bongos have 2 drumheads & is played by striking the heel of the hands and/or fingertips on the drumhead. Actually, there are bongos that have adjustable drumheads.

First Known Bongo Drums: The bongo drum came about during the 1900's in Cuba & was used for Latin American music. It's believed to have evolved from the drums used in the Abakua Religion of Cuba.


There are many ways of playing castanets:

• Flicking the wrists and striking it against the palm of the hand.
• It's struck together while held by the hands
• Mounted to a base & then shaking and using the fingers or drumsticks (orchestral)

Frequently, castanets are used in classical music or folk especially in spain.

Family: Percussion

First Known Castanets: In Ancient Greece, instruments resembling boot shaped castanets were played & was called krotala. One assumes that the term castanet is derived from the Spanish word castana meaning chestnut.

Conga Drum

The musician strikes the drumhead with his fingertips or palms of his hands.

Family: Percussion

Types: Conga drums come in a variety of shapes & sizes, each possessing its' own unique sound. The smallest is called niño & the largest is the tumba.

First Known Conga Drum: Conga drums are believed to have roots from both African & Cuban music. It's often referred to as "an Afro-Cuban barrel-shaped drum". Actually, congas have adjustable drumheads & are used in Latin American music.


Cymbal can either be held vertically or horizontally & played softly or either loudly depending on the music.

Family: Percussion

First Known Cymbals: Cymbals originated from either Turkey or India. It was used in Israel & Egypt during Ancient times. However, were also used in Greece to honor Dionysus the god of ecstasy.


Glockenspieds have tuned steel tubes or bars which are struck by the musician using 2 beaters. The beaters can be made of rubber, metal or wood. Glockenspieds have a sound bright of bells. Glockenspieds has also a similarity to the piano.

Family: Percussion

First Known Glockenspiel: In the 18th century, glockenspiels were used in a symphony orchestra.


Gongs are struck at the center with a leather or a mallet or felt-covered beater. The sound it produces may or may not be pitched & it's made of metal in a circular contour with the rims turned-down.

Family: Percussion

First Known Gongs: One assumes that Gongs may have originated from Southeast Asia or the Middle East. In 6th century AD China, pictures of gong-like instruments were present, however In china also gongs are a symbol of prosperity.


Maracas is an easiest music instrument to play since single it is needed to shake it to produce sound. Always the Maracas are played in pairs.

Family: Percussion

First Known Maracas: One assumes that the maracas are believed to be inventions of the Tainos, they are the native Indians of Puerto Rico.

It was originally made from the fruit of the higuera tree which is round in shape. Generally the pair of maracas sound differently because the number of pebbles inside are unequal to give it a distinct sound. Actually, the maracas are made from different materials such as plastic.


A triangle is made of steel & shaped like a triangle, hence the name. It's suspended or hung & then struck by a steel rod or metal beater to produce sound.

Family: Percussion

First Known Triangles: Triangles first became known during the 14th century & some were even trapezoidal in shape. During the 18th century, triangles were often used in Turkish Janissary music & in orchestras.