Instruments

Instrument Families

See how the instruments are categorized.



Bass Drum
The largest drum. It stands upright and is hit on the side. It is used in both orchestras and marching bands.

Pronunciation:

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Chimes
A set of tuned metal tubes that hang in rows in a frame. The sound is made by striking the tube at the top edge with a mallet. The chimes are often used by orchestras to create the sound of bells.




Cymbals
A percussion instrument consisting of two round metal plates that create classing sounds when struck together. A single cymbal can also be struck with a stick.

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Drum
A percussion instrument consisting of a hollow cylinder with a skin stretched tightly over one or both ends. The skin is hit with the hands or drumsticks.

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Gong
A metal disc with a turned down rim that makes a loud, booming sound when struck with a mallet.

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Kettle Drum
The only drum that can be tuned to produce definite pitches. Its name comes from the large kettle-shaped bottom, over which the skin of the drumhead is stretched. The player uses a pedal to tighten and loosen the drumhead to change the pitch. Also called timpani.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Marimba
A percussion instrument that consists of a set of tuned wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard. A series of hollow tubes beneath the bars allows the sound to resonate. The bars are struck with mallets.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Snare Drum
A small double-sided drum with skin pulled tight over the top and bottom. Metal wires, called snares, are stretched across the bottom skin, and rattle when the drum is struck.

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Example:




Tambourine
A percussion instrument consisting of a small wooden hoop with metal disc inserts called jingles. The hoop is covered on one side with a drumhead. It is played by shaking or striking the drumhead with the hand.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Timpani
The only drum that can be tuned to produce definite pitches. Timpani is Italian for kettle drum, another name for the instrument because of its large kettle-shaped bottom, over which the skin of the drumhead is stretched. The player uses a pedal to tighten and loosen the drumhead to change the pitch.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Triangle
A percussion instrument made of a metal bar bent into the shape of a triangle with one corner open. It is held by a string and struck with a metal rod.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Xylophone
A percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard, with a hollow tube under each bar. Each bar gives off a different pitch when struck with a mallet.

Pronunciation:

Example:


Instruments

Instrument Families

See how the instruments are categorized.



Bass Drum
The largest drum. It stands upright and is hit on the side. It is used in both orchestras and marching bands.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Chimes
A set of tuned metal tubes that hang in rows in a frame. The sound is made by striking the tube at the top edge with a mallet. The chimes are often used by orchestras to create the sound of bells.




Cymbals
A percussion instrument consisting of two round metal plates that create classing sounds when struck together. A single cymbal can also be struck with a stick.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Drum
A percussion instrument consisting of a hollow cylinder with a skin stretched tightly over one or both ends. The skin is hit with the hands or drumsticks.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Gong
A metal disc with a turned down rim that makes a loud, booming sound when struck with a mallet.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Kettle Drum
The only drum that can be tuned to produce definite pitches. Its name comes from the large kettle-shaped bottom, over which the skin of the drumhead is stretched. The player uses a pedal to tighten and loosen the drumhead to change the pitch. Also called timpani.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Marimba
A percussion instrument that consists of a set of tuned wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard. A series of hollow tubes beneath the bars allows the sound to resonate. The bars are struck with mallets.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Snare Drum
A small double-sided drum with skin pulled tight over the top and bottom. Metal wires, called snares, are stretched across the bottom skin, and rattle when the drum is struck.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Tambourine
A percussion instrument consisting of a small wooden hoop with metal disc inserts called jingles. The hoop is covered on one side with a drumhead. It is played by shaking or striking the drumhead with the hand.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Timpani
The only drum that can be tuned to produce definite pitches. Timpani is Italian for kettle drum, another name for the instrument because of its large kettle-shaped bottom, over which the skin of the drumhead is stretched. The player uses a pedal to tighten and loosen the drumhead to change the pitch.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Triangle
A percussion instrument made of a metal bar bent into the shape of a triangle with one corner open. It is held by a string and struck with a metal rod.

Pronunciation:

Example:




Xylophone
A percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard, with a hollow tube under each bar. Each bar gives off a different pitch when struck with a mallet.

Pronunciation:

Example:


 

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