History of Percussion Instruments Essay

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History of Percussion Instruments


There are few certainties about the percussion family. No one can
say how many instruments it contains; few have agreed on playing
techniques; and few could name one orchestral piece specifically written
with percussion in mind. However, one thing is certain, percussion has been
shown over time that it is not merely a matter of beating out rhythm (“
History of Percussion” 1). The family of percussion instruments is the
first musical instrumentation introduced to the world. To this date there
are countless percussion instruments. Each group of instruments has a
different ethnic origin and history in different societies. From the
shallow drums of fourth century B. C. to the giant cot
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Mirlitons are those that the membranes are vibrated by the voice;
some think that these are not true musical instruments (“Percussion” 658).
Many though think that these instruments are the most energizing and
driving instruments of all musical instruments.

The history of idiophones dawns very early in civilization.
Clappers were the earliest forms of idiophones. The Sumerians used these
clappers in 3000 BC. Later on, Phoenicia derived castanets from the
Sumerian clappers. The Egyptian temples of 1100 BC used cymbals in acts of
worshiping their gods (“Percussion” 655). There have been bronze bells
found in India dated back to 1000 BC. These are one of the earliest forms
of percussion discovered in physical form from India. Those who inhabited
India also used musical cups, which were forerunners of the popular musical
glasses. These musical cups were popular in India circa 800 AD. Western
Asia is responsible for the introduction of the gong in China near the
sixth century AD (“Percussion” 656). Romans and Greeks used the
increasing availability of brass for their instruments. A cymbal was one
instrument used frequently by both the Greeks and Romans. The Greco-Romans
had an increased need for concussion instrument. Bones became a popular
use for concussion sounds (“Percussion” 653). Indians in the Americas were
also users of concussion instruments. They used different types of sticks
and…

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