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Definition of percussion

Percussion instruments

A percussion instrument refers to a musical instrument whose sound emission resulting from the striking or scratching of a membrane or a resonant material.

This family of instruments can be used in all types of music, traditional music great symphony orchestra music classical - for example in the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta Bela Bartok (the celesta is also a percussion instrument with a keyboard).

They formed probably the first musical instruments and an integral part of most musical genres.

Generally, some elements of percussion instruments used by the drummer in a band. But sometimes, the percussionist has a full place in the orchestra with or without a drummer, and possibly even take the place of some or all of the other instruments with the advent of electronics, echoing the box rhythms position dominant that it had.

We distinguish percussion skin (or membranophones) idiophones. Also found in this category Chordophones few, but it is quite exceptional.

The Membranophones

A membranophone is a percussion instrument whose sounds are produced by the vibration of a membrane stretched over a frame.

The membrane may be hit by a hand like a djembe , an instrument (wands, brooms, etc..), as on the snare. It may also enter into vibration by the friction of a rod fixed to the skin stretched over a resonating drum like cuica (friction drum).

The striking of a skin (animal or synthetic) stretched over a drum, with sticks or hands, creates a sound that is amplified by the soundboard and the possible addition of stamps. The pitch depends on the size of the drum (eg bass drum delivers a sound more serious than the snare) and the tension of the skin. Membranophones count the snare drum, bass drum, drum, tambourine.

The Idiophones

A idiophone is a percussion instrument in which the material itself produces the sound at impact, either by an external instrument (like a stick) or by another part of the instrument itself.

Idiophones (or autophone) are probably older than membranophones because of the simplicity of their design. The family gathers instruments that are not strings (Chordophones) or membrane (membranophones) or wind (aerophones). The vegetable matter, animal or mineral such as wood, bamboo, horn, or plastic, glass, metal, and stone ... are used as such. The term comes from the Greek idios idiophone which refers to the notion of "self". Many of these instruments have a simple structure and is the totality of the instrument itself (idio-) that vibrates, producing sound (phone).
Idiophones are divided according to their mode of "shock". There are basically seven modes:

  • by rapping (implies a striking element and an element struck motionless in general)
  • by scraping,
  • by clash (two hit-striking elements are twins and mobile, one goes to meet each other),
  • by pounding (usually element struck by several strikers)
  • by shaking
  • by pinching
  • by friction (some may clash idiophones to temporarily use this class, by their mode of play: the case of cymbals can be clashed as much as rubbed).

Idiophones instrumental family are certainly the most represented and the most performed worldwide.

The Chordophones

Some string instruments are percussion instruments because the strings are struck in rhythm and can produce a sound instrument given they accompany.

A stringed instrument, also called cordophone, is a musical instrument in which sound is produced by the vibration of one or more strings.

These vibrations are calculated to obtain a specific frequency (eg 440 Hz for A3 piano), which itself is amplified by the body of the instrument.

The strings have undergone many changes, notably due to the technology available at the time of manufacture of the device (plant fibers to primitive civilizations, synthetic fibers, nylon, actually) but the location (in horsehair Asia, Far East silk ...). To improve the elasticity, the makers of the rope around a steel wire, then, to improve the strength, they decided to surround him with a metal wire (copper, iron, ...).

There are four main modes of play (excluding contemporary modes) on Chordophones:

  • by pinching the strings with the fingers, a plectrum (or pick), tabs or a mechanism
  • by hitting with sticks or small hammer (like the piano)
  • by rubbing with a bow (the breach of braccio, violin ...)
  • with open strings (sympathetic strings, viola d'amore).

The history of stringed instruments goes back thousands of years. Initially, the instrument was probably only one string (like the bull-roarer ), and this is that over the centuries that this type of instrument was perfected. From ancient Egypt, we knew the players on the harp, the Middle Ages, minstrels accompanied the lute , etc..

(Source: - copyright authors - article under GFDL)

Creation date : 06/02/2009 10:21
Category : Files - Dossiers musique-Definitions
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