percussion instrument, any instrument that produces musical sound when its surface is struck with an implement (such as a mallet, stick, or disk) or with the hand. Perhaps the most universally familiar percussion instrument is the drum , common to the most primitive as well as the most sophisticated musical arts. Sticks clicked against each other are another simple form of percussion. These are related to castanets , cymbals , and the triangle . Among the percussion instruments used in the West are the bell , the celesta , the glockenspiel , the xylophone (and similar marimba), and the Caribbean steel drum. In general, percussion instruments are not tuned by construction; pitch, tone, and volume depend on the skill of the performer.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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