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Percussion instruments have been used in music in almost every culture for thousands of years. This wide and long history of use has resulted in many developments and types of instruments. However, the novice percussionist need not be daunted by the variety of instruments. Percussion instruments fall into a few categories, including drums, chimes, block instruments, and shakers. Keep the Beat with DrumsWithin the drum family, there are different varieties of instruments, including hand drums and struck drums. Hand drums, which include any type of drum played with bare hands rather than a stick, mallet, or hammer, have a simple...

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Currently, there are a variety of quality percussion instrument manufacturers, including Remo, Yamaha, Ludwig, Hohner, and Pearl, and buyers possess numerous ways of purchasing their work. The tried-and-true method of visiting a local music store is still extremely common, especially for individuals just getting into music. The staff at a brick-and-mortar store can help answer questions that novice musicians often have, and they can help buyers find the kind of instrument that will fit them. For more experienced percussionists, purchasing from a manufacturer or distributor's catalog allows a larger selection than can usually be found in a local store. However,...

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The wooden or metal bars of xylophones, marimbas, and vibraphones produce music when struck by mallets. Made of wooden bars of differing size and pitch set in a frame and played with a stick, the xylophone makes use of both snare and advanced mallet techniques. The xylophone has a brighter tone than the marimba, its cousin. The marimba has keys or bars (usually made of wood) that are struck with yarn mallets to produce musical tones. Both xylophone and marimba bars are made of rosewood, but the bars of the marimba is wider and thinner. The vibraphone is similar in...

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