There is not a single word that covers a wider variety of musical instruments than the word ‘percussion’. Percussion instruments range from congas, bongos and other hand drums to all kinds of shakers, cowbells and agogo bells. Melodic instruments such as xylophones also belong to the percussion family.
In many styles of music, percussion instruments are used to spice up the sound. As the drummer provides the rhythmic foundation, the percussionist adds colour to the music. Some percussionists specialize in one instrument. Bongos, for example. Others surround themselves with lots of different instruments. Percussion, like the drum set, is used in many styles of music. Stagg offers you an inspiring choice of affordable, great sounding instruments. Have fun!
Hand drums are drums you play with your hands, rather than using sticks. Most hand drums have one drumhead. Different sounds can be created by using different parts of your hands and playing different areas of the drumhead.
A conga is a tall, vase shaped drum. The 9” Stagg conga comes with a strap. Bongos are smaller family members of the conga. Stagg bongos consist of a 7,5” and a 6,5” drum, slightly smaller than most other bongos.
The darbuka is another type of hand drum, with a thin, metal shell and a plastic drumhead. It is related to the Egyptian doumbek. The middle of the drumhead produces a lower sounding ‘doum’; hitting the edge generates a higher pitched ‘bek’.
Frame drums have a single drum head mounted on a shallow, round frame. The tambourine is a frame drum with one or two rows of jingles.
The cajon, originally from Peru, is basically a wooden box that doubles as a seat. The wooden front is the main playing area. Nowadays, the instrument is often used to replace a drumset, typically in bands that accompany singer-songwriters.
Bells and blocks
Cowbells stem from the bells that cows sometimes wear around their necks. Most cowbells are designed to be mounted on a (cymbal) stand. Agogo bells consist of two or more small metal bells on a flexible stem. Wooden agogos are also available. Wood blocks and the warmer, softer sounding temple blocks are closely related to the wooden agogo bells. Temple blocks come in wooden and plastic models.
Shakers, maracas and jingles
Many percussion instruments are played by shaking them. Maracas or rumba shakers are usually played in pairs, often holding one in each hand. Trained percussionists can play the most intricate rhythms this way. Egg shakers are small, egg-shaped instruments. They’re available with long handles too.
A headless tambourine is played in a similar fashion. The same goes for other instruments with (flat) jingles or (round) bells, such as jingle sticks, sleigh bells or wrist bells.
Guiros, cabasas, and more
Scraping is a different playing technique, used for the guiro, the guiro tone block, and the cabasa. The wooden guiro has a ribbed surface that you scrape with a small stick. Metal versions can often be played as shakers too. The cabasa is played by twisting its beads around its metal cylinder.
Kalimbas have a number of metal ‘tongues’ or tines, mounted on a small wooden box. You play the notes by plucking the tines with your thumbs or nails. A very accessible musical instrument that allows anyone to play beautiful melodies without too much practice.
Xylophones have a number of wooden or synthetic ‘keys’, played with mallets: thin sticks with a ball-shaped head. The largest Stagg xylophones have 37 keys, allowing you to play melodies over three full octaves. Kids’ xylophones are available with 8, 12, or 15 keys.
Metallophone have a number of metal keys, played with mallets with hard ball shaped heads. Stagg provides 32 and 25 key school metallophones and 8, 12, and 15 key kids’ metallophone.
Note that these kids’ instruments have so-called diatonic keys: Compared to a piano, the miss the ‘black’ keys. All of our other xylophones and metallophones are chromatic instruments, including all of the notes you can play on a piano.
Percussion instruments offer kids a very accessible way to get acquainted with playing music. Children can soon tap a simple rhythm on a drum, shake a jingle stick on the beat of the music, or play fantasy melodies on children’s’ xylophones.
Stagg offers you Kiddy Soundz Children’s percussion kits with miniature tambourines, shakers, bells and more. Also available are jingle sticks and smaller pairs of bongos, small xylophones and metallophones with colour-coded keys, kid’s cajons with a safe and comfortable backrest, and much more!