A ‘percussion instrument’ is an instrument whose sound is generated by striking, rubbing, shaking or otherwise affecting a surface to create sound vibrations.
The first percussion instruments were probably human hands and feet used to clap or stomp a rhythm. Eventually, cultures discovered that they could create louder and more varied sounds with manufactured surfaces and tools.
All percussion instruments must have a vibrating body or surface. It must also be an impacting tool or striking surface.
The two main types of percussion instruments are idiophones, or ‘body vibrators’, such as cymbals, bells and xylophones; and membranes, commonly called ‘drums’, which create sound through a single extended surface.
Fun facts h2> Because a piano creates music by striking a tight chord with a hammer, it is technically a percussion instrument called a chordophone.
It is impossible to say where the first percussion instruments were made, but it is likely that the earliest cultures in Africa and Asia had them. Today, percussion instruments are found in all cultures around the world. Percussion instruments are some of the oldest music producers in the world, perhaps just others for the human voice itself. This diverse instrument family is integrated into music in all known cultures and contains a variety of musical sounds.