The Essence of Percussion in Music

In every culture around the globe dating back to before recorded history, percussion has been the back bone of almost every musical genre. This is large due to the fact that it is by far one of the simplest groups of instruments to manufacture in their most basic form. Practically anything, from the log drums…

In every culture around the globe dating back to before recorded history, percussion has been the back bone of almost every musical genre. This is large due to the fact that it is by far one of the simplest groups of instruments to manufacture in their most basic form. Practically anything, from the log drums of ancient times, the professional drum kits of today, and even the tabletop pen tapping that so many people are known for, is a form of percussion in one way or another.

As human beings we are programmed to enjoy rhythm. Our heart has its own beat, we breathe regularly, and in most cases if we are exposed to a beat we will perform repetitive or mindless tasks at this pace. This explains why most people choose quicker paced, more upbeat music if they want to get something accomplished.

Three important psychological factors surrounding the percussive lines of most genres of music are regularity, repetition, and a conclusion. A drum line that is well played will be on beat and even measured, if the drummer does not keep it together through the act the whole band will fall apart everually.

Because of the versatility offered by the drum kit as it is today it is entirely possible to exploit an audience's anticipation of an event in the drum line in new and exciting ways to keep the listeners attention. By changing certain aspects of the rhythm a skilled drummer can make the same basic percussion line go from basic and reliably unimaginative to a work of art with very little technical difference in the final product.

Since its creation the drum has gone from being a solo instrument to part of a collection, often referred to as a drum kit or trap set. This allows a single drummer to create what is known as “poly rhythm” which in laments terms is a percussive line using more than one drum. Rock and Roll turned out to be one of the biggest proponents in the creation of the modern drum kit, with major Rock bands everywhere trying to find the hardest hiring drum manufacturer they were pretty much forced to give them what they asked for.

There are essentially two kinds of percussion in music. Predictable, measured, and often times monotonous drumming which can create a kind of stupor, and the exciting and upbeat activity of a poly rhythm which can make you want to nod your head or dance. Both of them have their uses when used correctly.

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Music is the basis of so much in life, it links to pretty much everything people do at one point or another. There is no person in the world that does not enjoy a certain type of music, and I can pretty much guarantee that there's some sort of percussion in it.