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List of percussion instruments

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List of percussion instruments

This is a wide-ranging, inclusive list of percussion instruments.

It includes:

These three groups overlap heavily, but inclusion in any one is sufficient for an instrument to be included in this list. However when only a specific subtype of the instrument qualifies as a percussion instrument, only that subtype is listed here. For example, a samba whistle (or apito) is an unpitched percussion instrument, but a whistle in general is not.

For brevity, synonyms represented in WorldHeritage by redirects to a main article are not listed, but may be mentioned as a note. Only the main article names are listed in these cases. For example apito is listed but samba whistle is merely noted as an alternate name. A distinct instrument or type represented only by a redirect to an article section should however be shown. Instruments represented only by redlinks have no WorldHeritage articles as yet but are shown.

See list of percussion instruments by type for some shorter, more focused lists. Use the sorting arrows on the Common usage column to group instruments as pitched, unpitched or both. Use the sorting arrows on the Classification column to group instruments according to their highest level Hornbostel–Sachs classification.

Percussion instruments

Instrument name Common usage

Pitched /Unpitched

Classification References and notes
Afoxé Unpitched
Agogô Unpitched Idiophone
Alfaia Unpitched Membranophone
Angklung Pitched Idiophone [1]
Anvil Unpitched
Apito Unpitched Aerophone Also known as samba whistle. Some apitos produce up to three different tones, but none of these is normally used as a pitched note.
Atabaque Unpitched Membranophone
Bass drum Unpitched Membranophone
Batá drum Unpitched Membranophone
Bell Both Idiophone
Bodhrán Unpitched
Bongo drum Unpitched Membranophone
Cabasa Unpitched Idiophone
Castanets Unpitched Idiophone
Cajón Unpitched Cuban box drum
Caxixi Unpitched African basket rattle
Celesta Pitched Idiophone As a keyboard instrument, not part of the percussion section of the orchestra[2]
Chácaras Unpitched
Chime bar Pitched Idiophone
Cimbalom Pitched
Claves Unpitched
Conga Unpitched Membranophone
Cowbell Both Idiophone Tuned cowbells are known as almglocken or alpine bells[3]
Crotale Both Idiophone
Cuíca Unpitched
Cup chime Pitched Idiophone The only pitched cymbal, it is identical to a bell cymbal in all but usage
Cymbal Unpitched Idiophone
Daf Unpitched Membranophone Also known as Dafli, Dap, Def, Tef, Defi, Gaval, Duf, and larger ones defi or daire
Dayereh Unpitched Also known as doyra, dojra, dajre, doira, dajreja
Djembe Unpitched Membranophone
Dholak Both Membranophone Also known as dholki, similar to dohl
Dohl Both Membranophone The bass head is pitched, the treble often unpitched, see pitched percussion instruments easily mistaken for unpitched
Dohol Both Membranophone Persian dohl
Dunun Both Membranophone In ballet style playing, a repeating melody is played on three pitched drums
Flexatone Unpitched
Frame drum Unpitched Membranophone
Ganzá Unpitched
Glass harp Unpitched
Glockenspiel Pitched Idiophone
Goblet drum Unpitched Membranophone Generic type by construction, see also individual instrument names
Gong Pitched Idiophone
Gonguê Unpitched
Güiro Unpitched Idiophone Also known as scraper
Hammered dulcimer Pitched Chordophone Listed as a stringed instrument in some classifications
Hand bell Both Idiophone
Hand-repique Unpitched Membranophone
Jam block Unpitched Idiophone
Janggu / Janggo / Changgo Pitched
Jawbone Unpitched Idiophone
Kalimba Pitched Idiophone African musical instrument, a type of plucked idiophone (lamellophone)
Keyboard glockenspiel Pitched Idiophone A keyboard instrument, not normally part of a percussion section
Kundu Unpitched Membranophone Papuan musical instrument
Lithophone Pitched Idiophone
Maraca Unpitched Idiophone
Marching machine Unpitched Idiophone [4]
Marimba Pitched Idiophone
Mark tree Unpitched Idiophone Also known as a chime tree or bar chimes
Metallophone Pitched Idiophone
Monkey stick Unpitched Idiophone Also known as mendoza or lagerphone
Octoban Both Membranophone
Pandeiro Unpitched
Piano Pitched Chordophone A keyboard instrument, not normally part of a percussion section but listed as percussion in some older classifications, and stringed in others
Quadrangularis Reversum Pitched Idiophone
Ratchet Unpitched Idiophone
Rattle Unpitched Idiophone
Repique Unpitched Membranophone
Ring-repique Unpitched Membranophone
Rototom Both Membranophone
Sand blocks Unpitched
Siren Unpitched Aerophone
Shekere Unpitched
Skrabalai Pitched
Sleigh bells Unpitched Idiophone Jingle bells
Slide whistle Both Aerophone
Snare drum Unpitched Membranophone
Steel pan Pitched Idiophone Also known as steel drum
Surdo Unpitched
Tabla Pitched Membranophone See pitched percussion instruments easily mistaken for unpitched
Tambora Unpitched Membranophone
Tamborim Unpitched
Tambourine Unpitched Membranophone But the headless tambourine is an idiophone
Tambour Unpitched
Tan-tan Unpitched
Taxi horn Unpitched
Temple block Both Idiophone [3][5]
Timbal Unpitched
Timbales Unpitched Membranophone
Tonbak Unpitched Persian, also known as tombak, donbak and dombak, and as Tombakh Naar in Kashmir
Thunder machine Unpitched Idiophone
Thundersheet Unpitched Idiophone
Tom-tom drum Unpitched Membranophone
Triangle Both Idiophone
Tubular bells Pitched Idiophone
Timpani Pitched Membranophone
Vibraphone Pitched Idiophone
Vibraslap Unpitched
Whip Unpitched Idiophone Also known as slapstick
Whistle Unpitched Aerophone
Wind chime Unpitched Idiophone Borderline as pitched or unpitched, as a melody can sometimes be perceived
Wind machine Unpitched
Wood block Unpitched Idiophone
Xylophone Pitched Idiophone
Xylorimba Pitched
Zabumba Unpitched
Zill Unpitched Idiophone Also known as finger cymbal

See also

Top level articles

Subgroups of percussion instruments


Only the more significant subcategories are shown.


  1. ^ retrieved March 13, 2012: The tubes are carefully whittled and cut by a master craftsperson to produce certain notes when the bamboo frame is shaken or tapped.
  2. ^ retrieved March 13, 2012: Although treated as a member of the percussion section in orchestral terms, the celesta is played by a pianist, the part being normally written on two bracketed staves.
  3. ^ a b retrieved 13 March 2012 There are lots of tuned percussion instruments. Among the most common are the xylophone, marimba, the glockenspiel, the cowbells and the temple blocks. Other suthorities cited here however say that temple blocks are not considered pitched nstruments.
  4. ^ retrieved 16 March 2012
  5. ^ retrieved 13 March 2012: Although temple blocks are not considered pitched nstruments, they can produce discernable pitches, and some temple blocks are actually tuned to the pentatonic scale. Other authorities cited here however say that temple blocks are tuned percussion.
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