Marimba, Percussion Musical Instrument

What is the Marimba?

The Marimba is a keyboard percussion instrument popular mainly with composers. Falling under the category of orchestral instruments, the Marimba has a distinctively warm and resonant sound.

To sound the Marimba, wooden keys or bars are struck with mallets. The modern Marimba usually has a rose wood keyboard and brass pipe resonators. The 5 octave large Marimbas have the ability to produce a variety of low notes.

The Marimba is recognised as the National Instrument of Guatemala.

Marimba Players & Composers –

Those players and composers who popularised the Marimba and used it extensively in composing music etc include –

  • Jack Imel
  • Nanae Mimura
  • Mark Ford
  • Oliver Messiaen
  • Thomas Burritt
  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Keiko Abe
  • Toru Takimitsu
  • Colin Currie
  • Pedro Carneiro, among others.


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Scraper, Percussion Instrument

What is a Scraper?

The Scraper is a popular percussion instrument used primarily in Jazz music, popular in parts of Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America. Scraping instruments usually have a ridged / rough edge and are played by scraping the rough body with a stick or a comb.

Types of Scrapers

The sound created by scraping instruments is used as an accompaniment played in a rhythmic pattern.

1) Washboard – has a rectangular wooden frame with metal ridges. To play the Washboard, the player uses either a whisk broom or metal thimble worn on fingers.

2) Guiro – is made from ridged bamboo or metal spring, played in Africa and Latin America.

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Tambourine – Percussion Musical Instrument

What is a Tambourine?

The Tambourine is a Frame Drum, circular in shape and with a head made of calfskin or plastic. The head is nailed to a wooden frame in the form of a hoop.

Look and Feel – 15 – 25 cm / 6 – 19 in diameter 5 cm / 2 in depth

The Tambourine has small metal (cymbals) discs attached to its hoop.

Used extensively in parts of Europe as well in India, the Tambourine also features in orchestral folk music.

To play the Tambourine

The Tambourine or Daffli, as it is called in India is played by striking or slapping its head with the flat palm of the hand or with the fist. To simply produce a rattling sound, the Tambourine can be shaken creating an extremely likeable accompaniment sound.

Tambourine Performance


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Tabla, Indian Percussion Instrument

Tabla, Indian Percussion Instrument

The tabla occupies a very important position among Indian Musical Instruments. The sounds and beats of the Tabla have the unique ability of transforming any kind of music and giving it a completely new dimension. An ideal accompaniment, the Tabla is undoubtedly an inseparable part of North India Classical Music (Hindustani Music) including the religious and popular music forms.

What is Tabla?

An Indian Percussion instrument, the Tabla refers to a pair of asymmetrical hand drums which are small in size (contrasting sizes) and tuned to different timbres.  The Tabla is always played by an individual. Here is a list of some of the well known Tabla players and musicians

Description of the Tabla

The left hand drum is known as the “BAYA” and is made of brass or copper and creates a deep sound.

Diameter – 27cm / 11 cm Long – 30cm / 15 cm

The right hand drum is called the “DAYA” is made of wood and creates a higher sound as compared to the baya.

Diameter – 18cm / 7cm Long – 30cm / 15 cm

Features & Looks of the Tabla, Percussion Instrument

The most recognizable features of the pair of drums include –

  • Both the Daya and the Baya have a leather strip that laces the drumhead to the drum and runs from the top to the bottom of the drums in a ‘W’ formation.
  • Out of the 2 drums, the right hand drum or the Daya has short wooden blocks fitted under the leather strips. These may be loosened or adjusted to tune the sound of the drum.
  • The head of the both the drums are constructed in such a way so that they are capable of producing a wide range of differing sonorities.

Playing The Tabla

To play the Tabla, all parts of the hand are used. The fingers and palm of the hand are used in different & varying ways to produce a range of sounds. The most common tabla bol are dha, dhin and ta, tin.

Tuning The Tabla

The tabla is tuned based on the tonic note (sa) of the raag / scale or melody which is either being sung (vocal) or played by the instrumentalist. The wooden blocks in the daya are hammered to loosen or adjust the tuning of the drum.

Rhythms are organized into cycles of beats in Indian Music and can be seen with this example of Tintal – 16 beats divided into pattern of 4+4+4+4 –

Beat counts     

2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16
dha     dhin     dhin     dha     dha     dhin     dhin     dha     dha     tin     tin     ta     ta     dhin     dhin     dha

Tabla Performance


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