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A table full of auxiliary percussion instruments.

Auxiliary Percussion (補助パーカッション Hojo Pākasshon), also called ancillary percussion, toys, or sound effects are a group of instruments in the percussion family. Technically speaking, they include any instrument that is not pitched, though some instances, notably drums (like the snare drum, bass drum), or cymbals, are counted separately by most standards. They are small, usually handheld objects that produce sound by being struck, shaken, or scraped. In some cases, they are also blown into. These instruments are not standard in most ensembles, and, as the name suggests, they are used to add certain effects to music. Almost all auxiliary percussion instruments are unpitched, with a few exceptions being partially pitched.

Instruments[]

The following list is not exhaustive.

Triangle[]

The triangle is one of the most famous auxiliary percussion instruments. It is a small, triangular instrument made of a thin rod of metal. It is played with a short stick, usually metal, being hit either on one of the sides of the instrument or in the corner if it is being repeatedly struck in quick succession. The player holds the instrument by a small loop of thread or wire at one of the corners, or it may be suspended. Players can hold the triangle's body to shorten the length of a note.

Tambourine[]

The tambourine is an instrument popular is nearly every genre of music. It is a small frame made of either wood or plastic, typically circular but sometimes other shapes, with several pairs of small metal jingles called zills. Tambourines sometimes have a drumhead made of skin stretched across one face of the frame, adding extra versatility to the instrument. Players can shake the instrument or strike it with either their hand or a stick to produce noise. Experienced players can drag either their thumb or their middle finger over the drumhead to produce a rolling effect.

Shaker[]

The shaker is a simple instrument that can come in many shapes and sizes. The general shaker consists of a container of some sort, with small, usually round objects inside, particularly beads or seeds. Shakers can be cylindrical, like the rainstick, egg-shaped or round, or have handles such as maracas. Shakers are used to provide extra rhythm in many ensembles, especially rock music.

Agogo[]

The agogo is an instrument that consists of two bells of differing sizes and pitches, connected by a U-shaped metal rod which the player holds. The player strikes the instrument with a drumstick. Its sound is very similar to a cowbell, and is often mistaken as such. It is very popular in samba and African music.

Whistle[]

Although technically aerophones, whistles, when called for in ensembles, are typically played by percussionists if they are for auxiliary purposes. Whistles come in many varieties, including bird whistles, slide whistles, or samba whistles. These instruments can be pitched, but not usually playable in the same sense as a wind instrument like the flute.

Gong/Tam-tam[]

The gong, and its sibling the tam-tam, are loud, circular plates of metal usually hung from a frame. The difference between the two is that tam-tams are plane, while gongs are bossed. This produces two distinct sounds; tam-tams, more common in the west, have a sound like a large crash cymbal. Meanwhile, gongs produce a tuned note. The instruments are played in much the same way, with one or two usually soft mallets, and can be used for a wide variety of effects.

Other Instruments[]

  • Ratchet
  • Whip/Slapstick
  • Cowbell
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Claves
  • Guiro
  • Siren
  • Wind Machine
  • Vibraslap
  • Mark Tree
  • Bell Tree
  • Cabasa
  • Woodblock
  • Temple Block
  • Thunder Sheet
  • Brake Drum
  • Anvil
  • Castanets

As portrayed in Sound! Euphonium[]

All of the percussionists in the Kitauji High School Concert Band are able to play auxiliary percussion instruments. Some examples include:

Gallery[]

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