What are Rattle & Shakers?

Untuned Percussion Instruments – Rattle & Shakers

Rattle and Shakers are perhaps the most interesting and simplistic untuned percussion instruments known to exist today. The beauty of these instruments lies in their simplistic and innovative construction.

The notable fact is that both these percussion instruments have been a major part of almost every music culture and their rhythmic sounds can truly act as perfect accompaniments.

What is a Rattle?

A Rattle is an untuned percussion instrument that holds beans or small pellets within its body and creates sound when it is shaken or struck. It may or may not have a handle.

What is a Shaker?

The shaker is an untuned percussion instrument which produces sound when it is shaken. The sound is created because of the objects which are stuck to its body’s exterior including shells, metal, glass etc.

The most common forms of the Rattles and Shakers are the Maracas, Ganza, Cabasa and used extensively in African, Latin American and traditional music.

The beauty of these instruments is that they are made using natural materials.


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Gong & Tam Tam – Percussion Instrument


The Gong is a tuned percussion instrument that consists of a round disc made out of bronze and is played with a beater. The round disc is suspended from the top and when hit, it produces a deep rich sound. The Gong is typically an East and South East Asian percussion musical instrument.

Features and Look of the Gong

Gongs vary in size and range anywhere between 3 in ( diameter ). Most gongs have a raised center ( while some others don’t ) and the sound quality that is produced on hitting the Gong is in relation to its construction – that is the dimensions of its raised center or boss, the rim as well as the bow of the Gong.

Gongs have been a part of numerous cultures and regions especially in Malaysia, China, Burma and other parts of Southeast and Central Asia.

Gongs have an important role to play even in the Gamelan music of Indonesia.

Tam Tams

Tam Tams are similar to the Gong but unlike the Gong, the Tam Tams are untuned percussion instruments. Used extensively in classical orchestras, the Tam Tam is suspended from a frame and has a hammered flat surface about 100 cm in diameter.

To play the Tam Tam, a soft headed drumstick is used.


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