Percussion instruments are instruments that produce sound when they are struck with something.  These instruments are often the most basic instruments and usually make up the majority of ancient instruments.  Percussion instruments commonly seen in today’s setting are instruments like the kettle drum, the snare drum the cymbals and even the cowbell.  Other percussion instruments are shown below.

Percussion instruments are often put into two major categories: the idiophone, and the membranophone.  Each type of instrument has their own specific way of producing a sound.  The idiophone produces its sound by vibrating throughout the entire object.  Instruments like this are the triangle and the cowbell which do not vibrate only in one part of the instrument but instead throughout.  Additionally, each bar of the xylophone is an idiophone since the entire bar is vibrating (Shown below).  The next type of percussion instrument is the membranophone which produces sound when the membrane is struck.  This is just about every drum as not the entire instrument is vibrating but just the head of the drum where some sort of membrane is stretched over the top of it.


People always ask, ” what type of instrument is the piano? Is it a string instrument or is it percussion?” The reason why this question is often raised is due to the fact that the piano combines both the characteristics of a string and percussion instrument. It is considered a stringed instrument because of the strings that vibrate within the instrument which causes the musical notes to be produced. At the same time, as each key is pressed, a hammer is triggered to hit the string which causes the vibrations. The piano is often viewed as a percussion instrument when it is playing along with an orchestra, because a majority of the time, it is accompanying the orchestra. Musicologists have classified the piano as a, ” keyed zither,” which is an instrument with strings played by with keys.


Steinway Piano

Steinway Piano