A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound by being struck with an implement, shaken, rubbed, scraped, or by any other action which sets the object into vibration. The term usually applies to an object used in a rhythmic context and/or with musical intent.

The word, "percussion", has evolved from Latin terms: "percussio" (which translates as "to beat, strike" in the musical sense, rather than the violent action), and "percussus" (which is a noun meaning "a beating"). As a noun in contemporary English it is described at Wiktionary as "the collision of two bodies to produce a sound". The usage of the term is not unique to music but has application in medicine and weaponry, as in percussion cap, but all known and common uses of the word, "percussion", appear to share a similar lineage beginning with the original Latin: "percussus". In a musical context then, the term "percussion instruments" may have been coined originally to describe a family of instruments including drums, rattles, metal plates, or wooden blocks which musicians would beat or strike (as in a collision) to produce sound.

spokes on a bicycle wheel
a shopping cart
metal pipes
clay pots
garbage cans
by chickenHeads April 18, 2007
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1) Any instrument that is played by striking or hitting.
2) A section in a band or orchestra, in which the players strike the instrument to play it.
3) Not a drummer.
1) What instrument do you play? I play percussion.
2) Everyone listen back to the percussion for tempo, because its right on.
by Scot December 10, 2004
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Usually considered as the people in the band who can't play an instrument or read music. This group is the one that in the definition (band) usually loses their virginity first if they aren't a slob.
Band Kid 1: Who are those people in the back and why are they hitting stuff?
Band Kid 2: The percussion! I just know that without them you suck because you can't stay together with the band.

Band Kid 1: Oh No
Kool-Aid Man: OH YEAH!!!
by Yomamasmamaishere December 29, 2011
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a group in the band played by the people without musical talent who usually just sit there and talk to each other the whole class. they are the assholes who get the conductor mad all the time. annoys the hell out of the trumpets who sit right in front of them.
percussion:jabber jabber jabber
trumpet:ssh! the conductor said to be quiet!
percussion:shut up! im watchin' south park on my I-pod!
by alex that guy you know May 14, 2007
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A family of instruments that either use their hands, or something else to play.

There are four types of Percussion instruments:

Mallets: Usually the well known Xylophone, Marimba, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel/Bells. The Chimes/Tubular Bells could also be in this category.

Drums: Snare Drum, Base Drum, Toms, Bongos, Congas, Gongs, Drum Kit, Brake Drum, and many more that I don't know.

Auxiliary: Triangle, Shaker, Maracas, Slap Stick, Temple Blocks, Wood Blocks, Claves, Vibraslap, Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal, Chains, Sleigh Bells, and many, many more.

Then there is the Timpani, which is in it's own category.

Despite what other people say about us, we are just as important as other instruments. We can read notes, both Treble and Base Clef. For Marimba, we can read both at the same time in a Grand Staff. Percussion is the unique section that keeps the beat most of the time. If we were the bad people who ignore and annoy the conductor, I don't think we'd exist. Some conductors are Percussionist themselves.

We do not always share the same instruments.

We do not just randomly hit stuff.

Timpani is the only instrument we have to worry about pitch.

Our Instruments have a certain spot where we have to hit. We call this the sweet spot.
We all have a job in the concert. Percussion. Woodwinds. Brass. We are all special
by ...Yay... March 2, 2015
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Usually the section that gets a complement from other band directors, always talking, and never know where they are in the music.
I swear Mr. Srigley never says percussion does good, but Mr. Howell did.
by I don’t know what 2 + 2 is February 23, 2020
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A group of different instruments, usually in band, that make up background/non central noises within the piece.
Hey, since you are in percussion, do you want to play the drums, maracas, keyboard, or tambourine?
by Abby From Wii Sports April 24, 2021
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