Concert Mallet Percussion
About Concert Mallet Percussion
The best-known percussion instruments in the world may be drums and rhythm instruments but those are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of percussion's capabilities. Exploring concert mallet percussion with its wide variety of melodic instruments reveals the true depth of the percussion family. Most of the instruments in this category feature keys or bells arranged in keyboard-like layouts although the actual mechanisms of sound production and amplification may vary. For instance, the xylophone and marimba each use similar key-over-resonator configurations but the marimba's resonators are significantly larger and produce a much deeper timbre. The vibraphone is again similar but with a motor-driven valve atop each tube to create a persistent tremolo effect.
Examples of keyboard percussion instruments that lack resonators altogether include the concert bells and glockenspiel whose reduced size makes them common choices for use in marching bands as well as smaller concert ensembles. The inverse of these would be symphonic chimes which in effect are banks of tuned resonators played directly without accompanying keys. A variety of manufacturers produce keyboard percussion and chimes including Adams, Yamaha, Majestic, and Musser.