THE ORCHESTRA: A USER'S MANUAL

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Introduction Orchestration Orchestration Resources Historical Andrew Hugill
  Philharmonia

PERCUSSION

Pitched Metal
Pitched Skin
Pitched Wood

Unpitched Metal
Unpitched Skin
Unpitched Wood

Shakers and Blowers
Other Effects
All about beaters

Player's Tips and Tricks

Links

Percussion instruments provide an enormous range of timbres. Although the word "percussion" means "struck", the percussion family traditionally includes effects that are blown or produced in other ways. In these pages, the various instruments have been classified by timbre and pitching. Some of the instruments classified as 'unpitched' do in fact have pitch, but this is unpredictable or uncontrollable. A catalogue of percussion can never be complete, and it is true to say that any percussion instrument may be integrated into the modern symphony orchestra. This selection covers the most common instruments and a range of more unusual timbres.

Kevin Hathway

David Corkhill

who are both percussionists with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Use the links on the left to navigate through the percussion pages.
The icon will launch a movie of Kevin Hathway or David Corkhill explaining a relevant point of percussion technique.
The icon will give an audio clip, which will either play automatically or open a new window.
The icon will play an illustrative music example from the Philharmonia's recorded archive.

Be sure to visit the 'player's tips and tricks' section for some very useful advice about aspects of percussion writing.