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Gongs, Cowbell and Accent Percussion

29th Oct 2014

Looking for something to bring a whole new sound to your drumming? What about adding a layer of emotion to a drum circle, or a unique vibe to your next gig? The use of accent percussion in songs can take an already brilliant composition or trustworthy drum circle to the next level, effortlessly.

Gongs are the flame to a crème brûlée, the jump that happens when a song strikes that emotional chord within the audience. Based on ancient techniques, surrounded by spirituality and tradition, these cymbals are more than just a throwback to Asian culture, but can be a stirring part of any performance or circle. The use of the gong is subtle, but demands attention, bringing with it a haunting reverb and tonal quality unlike any other instrument.

The shekere and cabasa are each important sounds within all types of music. The scratchy, rattling sound of each of these hand percussion instruments has a way of motivating a song, encouraging others to join in by clapping, tapping or picking up an instrument. Easy to play, the shekere and cabasa are perfect instruments for beginners in a drum circle, for children in a music class, or for anyone with mobility issues who enjoy making music.

Cowbell funk

Tambourines can be found in a variety of shapes, styles and colors. The standard, round tambourine has both a drum-like playing surface, as well as metal jingles that can be hit and shaken to produce its trademark sound. Other tambourines may be found with crescent shapes for ease of playing during long-running gigs or circles, as a “stick” (without a drumming surface) or an attachment to a drum set. No matter the shape or size, the tambourine brings a fun sound that can really stir up the excitement in any setting.

A cowbell is perhaps best noted for its sound in some of the greatest, classic rock music heard. From Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear,” to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Rain Dance Maggie,” the sound of the cowbell is a musical exercise in irony, proving that an instrument does not have to be anything but simple to make a big impact within a song or drum circle.

When standard drums and percussion instruments are not enough, the use of accent percussion within a song or circle can really help inspire and create a musical world full of dynamic tones and emotion. Not only are these instruments perfect for new players, but they are also examples of the historical nature of percussion that continues to evolve through all music today.