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    Whether for marching or concert band or a full orchestra, a percussion section likely sits at the back. The players here not only keep the rhythm with various sets of drums, but this widely varied section adds color to the sound.

    Just as in a rock band, drums and other percussion instruments in a concert band or orchestra produce pitched and unpitched notes and require the player to strike a surface in some form.

    Although students in band or orchestra may only know one or two percussion instruments, seasoned players who aspire to a professional career need to be familiar with the following:


    Although a drum set or kit won't be in a band or orchestra, this section still utilizes multiple types of drums varying in size and timbre. The three general types include:

    • The timpani: These copper-bottomed drums require the player to adjust the drum head's tension with a pedal before playing. With each drum tuned to a specific pitch, the timpani can produce low, rumbling rolls to sharp, precise beats.
    • Snare drum: A hollow, small drum produces a rattling sound whenever a player hits the top with a set of drum sticks.
    • Bass drum: Standing and using a large mallet, the player often keeps time with this low-pitched hollow drum, but can also produce a thunder-like tone with the right articulation.

    Xylophones and Marimbas

    Although sets start small, with one to two octaves, these percussion instruments structured like a piano keyboard cover a full range of notes. Although the instruments visually look similar and require the same techniques to play, xylophones feature metal bars and accompanying tubes, while marimbas use wooden bars with wood or plastic resonators, producing a shorter yet warmer tone.

    Other Percussion Instruments

    Ultimately, a band or orchestra percussion section needs to be prepared to hit or shake whatever the piece calls for. This may entail a cymbal or two, a triangle, a tambourine or even a set of bells.

    Find Band & Orchestra Percussion Instruments at Alamo Music Center

    Whether you're supplying your school's band or orchestra or you're expanding your repertoire as a player, count on Alamo Music Center for your percussion section. Explore instruments and practice pads today, and take advantage of multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month no-interest options at times.