The History of Percussion

The accessories probably represent the largest family of percussion instruments. For brevity's sake, only a few of the most common ones will be discussed here. These include the triangle and tambourine.

Although not much goes into the making of a triangle, finding a versatile one can be difficult. The two main varieties of orchestral ones are probably the Abel and the Grover brands which are very different in their overtone series. Abel triangles are easy to spot - their tube diameter is not consistent and on one arm alone, their could be two or three widths. These triangles have a much higher sound than the Grovers do. They tend to be a little more pitched though than the Grover variety which have more overtones and are lower in pitch. These triangles blend very well and are good for all kinds of work. Standard sizes include 6" and 9" varieties and occasionally smaller or larger ones are called for. beaters are 99% of the time metal, and come in many sizes and shapes.

The tambourine
During the time of the earliest drums (one-piece shell with a head mounted on it), somebody found it interesting to mount a jingle or two on the shell which would rattle when the head or frame was played. This idea was popular in the Janissary music from Turkey (where cymbals were also popular). Most modern tambourines have 1 or 2 rows of jingles, which are actually pairs of jingles. The jingle material is a primary source of dividing the sounds up. Common materials for jingles are cooper, bronze, silver, and chromium. Some tambourines (mainly "rock" tambourines) do not have heads and instead are played on the shell with a hand or stick. The orchestral variety however, 99% of ther time, is a headed tambourine 8", 10", or 12" in diameter that is played with one hand holding and the other hand striking. Rolls can be achieved by moving a finger across the head to vibrate the head (finger rolls), or by shaking the tambourine (shake-rolls).