Chimes and Bells
The word Percussion is taken from the act of 'percussing' or striking one body against another, a forcible collision that especially gives a sound or report. Percussion can be defined broadly as an instrument that must be struck with a mallet, shaken or scraped to produce a sound. The materials used to create these instruments can be anything from animal hide, wood, metal, or really anything that produces sound. The mallet or beater used to produce the sound can be pretty much anything including your hand. Percussion instruments are the simplest, and most primitive musical instruments and the percussion family is the largest in the orchestra. It’s pretty impossible to name all of the percussion instruments out in the world because the numbers are exceedingly high. However, the most common orchestral percussion instruments include the timpani, xylophone, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, tambourine, bells, gongs, chimes, and piano but the list goes on and the variety is enormous. A high percentage of the percussion instruments used regularly today originated from outside of Europe. Percussion instruments are used in concert bands, symphonies, percussion ensembles, marching bands, and in churches and rituals.
Percussion is the heartbeat of music. In addition to providing rhythm to music and keeping time, many percussion instruments also produce special sounds and add excitement and color to the musical piece. Unlike most of the other players in the orchestra, a percussionist will usually play many different instruments - often in the same piece of music! Percussionists are passionate about live performance and excellent at improvisation. A good percussionist will have a working knowledge of most percussion instruments but obviously not all of them.