Musical instruments percussion are one of the main western groups of musical instruments, the others being strings, brass and woodwind. Some classifications also include electronic instruments under a separate group, but that is relatively new and seeing as music has changed so much over the past century we’ll have to wait and see.
When you consider percussion musical instruments as a group of instruments, it includes piano keyboards, all kinds of percussion drums, and generally all things you would hit or strike with your hand or stick to create the sound. Therefore djembe drums, and most other African musical instruments are classed as percussion.
It’s interesting how most African musical instruments are made of wood with an animal skin stretched across an opening. Most percussion are based around this concept, and hadn’t changed for hundreds of years. However, modern technology has given us fiberglass djembe drums, and man made drum skins. These drum skins offer a consistency of sound which traditional drum skins couldn’t offer, and are usually part of a key-tuned instrument, as opposed to rope-tuned, which you would find on some traditional percussion drums.
So, you might think that traditional percussion are on the way out; that fiberglass and man made drum skins would take over from wood and animal skins? I suppose this is one of the characteristics of our culture – living with modern technology: netbooks, mobile phones, GPS, etc, and yet are desperate for the reality of the past, with real wood and stone houses and furniture, going on holidays to places off the beaten track, and traditionally made musical instruments. Traditionally made musical instruments percussion are unique; hand made by master craftsmen, with history and culture which fiberglass, key tuned instruments of the 21st century can only dream of.
Likewise, the artistry with which traditional percussion drums are made is something special. Each drum which is hand made is slightly different from the last. Lovingly created, carved with care – a unique piece of art as well as a gorgeous sounding musical instrument. If you have a look at our djembe drums you will see this for yourself. That’s why there is a slight difference in sizes of playable head on the djembe drums; the master craftsmen carve the wood slightly different each time, and there is a marginal difference in the size of each drum.
So, in closing, musical instruments percussion have a history and tradition which isn’t going away, in fact it is something which we can hang onto in the midst of our speedy, instant consumer culture. Why not join the revolution? Find yourself a percussion which suits your personality, like xylophones, vibraphone, or drum grab a picnic and some friends and head out to nature to relax, get away from your mobile phone and email for a few hours and enjoy relating and making music together!