What Are the Different Types of Marching Percussion?

Christina Edwards

Percussion instruments are common types of musical instruments found in a marching band. Depending on the type of instrument, a marching percussion instrument may be attached to a musician via a harness or he may be able to carry it. Bass, snare, and tom-tom drums are all usually attached to a musician. Cymbals, on the other hand, are typically carried by a member of a marching band.

A snare drum is one of the most common types of marching percussion.
A snare drum is one of the most common types of marching percussion.

Marching bands typically consist of several musicians marching and playing different instruments at the same time. Most marching bands have some type of percussion instruments. This section of the marching band is sometimes known as the drum line or the battery.

Bass drums are some of the most common and easily recognized types of marching percussion instruments. These are often the largest of the percussion instruments in a marching band. They are typically around 14 inches (35.6 centimeters) deep and up to 36 inches (91.4 centimeters) in diameter.

The bass drum is typically strapped to a harness worn by a musician in a marching band. Its sides are typically facing to the left and the right of the drummer. This allows the drummer to strike the skins of the drum using both hands. When struck, this marching percussion instrument usually emits a low or deep pitch.

Another common type of marching percussion instrument is the snare drum. This drum is typically a little deeper than other types of snare drums, which allows the instrument's sound to carry in an outdoor environment. These types of marching percussion instruments are also strapped to a harness worn by a musician in a marching band. Unlike a bass drum, however, the top of the drum, or drumhead, is usually facing up or at an angle.

The snare drum gets its name from the wire snares that are stretched across the bottom of the drumhead. When the drumhead is struck, these snares vibrate. This causes the drum to make the distinct rattling sound, unique to the snare drum.

A tom-tom drum, or tom-tom, is another type of marching percussion instrument that is strapped to a member of a marching band. This type of drum is similar to a snare drum, but it does not have the wire snares. Tom-tom drums are often put together in groups of four to six, known as quads, and they are arranged in a semi-circle.

Cymbals are musical percussion instruments that do not need to be strapped to a musician's harness. Instead, a musician holds onto straps hooked to the center of them. Basically, cymbals consist of two large concave discs. When the are banged together, they make a metallic crashing sound. They also can make a light, subtle tinkling sound when they are simply touched together.

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