Percussion Musical Instruments

  • Andrew C. Morrison
  • Thomas D. Rossing
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


Percussion instruments are an important part of every musical culture. Although they are probably our oldest musical instruments (with the exception of the human voice), there has been less research on the acoustics of percussion instruments, as compared to wind or string instruments. Quite a number of scientists, however, continue to study these instruments.

Over the years we have written several review articles on the acoustics of percussion instruments [9.1, 9.2] as well as a book [9.3]. They are also the subject of chapters in most books on musical acoustics and on musical instruments [9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8].


active intensity


beam splitter


charge-coupled device


operating deflection shape


phase modulated


reactive intensity


speckle-averaging mechanism


sound pressure level


  1. 9.1
    T.D. Rossing: Acoustics of percussion instruments part I, Phys. Teach. 14, 546–556 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 9.2
    T.D. Rossing: Acoustics of percussion instruments part II, Phys. Teach. 15, 278–288 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 9.3
    T.D. Rossing: Science of Percussion Instruments (World Scientific, Singapore 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 9.4
    N.H. Fletcher, T.D. Rossing: The Physics of Musical Instruments, 2nd edn. (Springer, New York 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 9.5
    T.D. Rossing, F.R. Moore, P.A. Wheeler: The Science of Sound, 3rd edn. (Addison Wesley, San Francisco 2002)Google Scholar
  6. 9.6
    D.E. Hall: Musical Acoustics (Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove 2002)Google Scholar
  7. 9.7
    M. Campbell, C. Greated, A. Myers: Musical Instruments (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 9.8
    J. Meyer: Acoustics and the Performance of Music (Springer, New York 2009), transl. by U. HansenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.9
    Lord Rayleigh (J.W. Strutt): The Theory of Sound, Vol. 1, 2nd edn. (Macmillan, London 1894), reprinted by Dover, New York 1945Google Scholar
  10. 9.10
    T.D. Rossing: The physics of kettledrums, Sci. Am. 247(5), 172–178 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 9.11
    T.D. Rossing, G. Kvistad: Acoustics of timpani: preliminary studies, The Percussionist 13, 90–98 (1976)Google Scholar
  12. 9.12
    T.D. Rossing, I. Bork, H. Zhao, D. Fystrom: Acoustics of snare drums, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (1992), CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 9.13
    C.D. Rose: A New Drumhead Design: An Analysis of the Nonlinear Behavior of a Compound Membrane, M.S. Thesis (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb 1978)Google Scholar
  14. 9.14
    C.V. Raman: The Indian musical drum, Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. A1 (1934), Scholar
  15. 9.15
    J. Obata, T. Tesima: Experimental studies on the sound and vibration of drum, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 6(4), 267–274 (1935)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 9.16
    S. Ando: Acoustical studies of Japanese traditional drums. In: Jt. Meet. Acoust. Soc. Am/Acoust. Soc. Jn, Honolulu (1996), Paper 4aMUb3Google Scholar
  17. 9.17
    T.D. Rossing: Acoustics of percussion instruments: Recent progress, Acoust. Sci. Technol. 22, 177–188 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 9.18
    I. Bork: Practical tuning of xylophone bars and resonators foobar, Appl. Acoust. 46, 103–127 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 9.19
    J. Yoo, T.D. Rossing, B. Larkin: Vibrational modes of five-octave concert marimbas. In: Proc. Stockholm Music Acoust. Conf. (SMAC03), Stockholm (2003) pp. 355–357Google Scholar
  20. 9.20
    L. Henrique, J. Antunes: Optimal design and physical modelling of mallet percussion instruments, Acta Acustica/Acustica 89, 948–963 (2003)Google Scholar
  21. 9.21
    V. Doutaut, A. Chaigne, G. Bedrane: Time-domain simulation of the sound pressure radiated by mallet percussion instruments. In: Proc. ISMA, Dourdan (1995) pp. 519–524Google Scholar
  22. 9.22
    A. Lehr: Designing chimes and carillons in history, Acustica/Acta Acustica 83, 320–336 (1997)Google Scholar
  23. 9.23
    J. Yoo, T.D. Rossing: Vibrational modes of pyen-gyoung, Korean chime stone. In: Proc. ISMA 2004, Nara (2004) pp. 312–315Google Scholar
  24. 9.24
    E.F.F. Chladni: Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges (Breitkopf Härtel, Leipzig 1787), translated excerpts in R.B. Lindsay: Acoustics: Historical and Philosophical Development (Dowden Hutchinson Ross, Stroudsburg 1973) pp. 156–165Google Scholar
  25. 9.25
    T.D. Rossing: Chladni’s law for vibrating plates, Am. J. Phys. 50, 271–274 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 9.26
    C. Touze, A. Chaigne, T. Rossing, S. Schedin: Analysis of cymbal vibrations and sound using nonlinear signal processing methods. In: Proc. ISMA98 (1998)Google Scholar
  27. 9.27
    C. Touzé, A. Chaigne: Lyapunov exponents from experimental time series: application to cymbal vibrations, Acta Acustica/Acustica 86(3), 557–567 (2000)Google Scholar
  28. 9.28
    T.D. Rossing, N.H. Fletcher: Acoustics of a tamtam, Bull. Australian Acoust. Soc. 10(1), 21–26 (1982)Google Scholar
  29. 9.29
    A. Chaigne, C. Touzé, O. Thomas: Nonlinear axisymmetric vibrations of gongs. In: Proc. ISMA 2001, Perugia (2001) pp. 147–152Google Scholar
  30. 9.30
    B. Copeland, A. Morrison, T.D. Rossing: Sound radiation from Caribbean steelpans, J. Acoust Soc. Am. 117, 375–383 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 9.31
    T.D. Rossing, U.J. Hansen, F. Rohner, S. Schärer: The HANG: A hand-played steel drum. In: Proc. SMAC 93, Stockholm (2003) pp. 351–354Google Scholar
  32. 9.32
    T.D. Rossing: Acoustics of Eastern and Western bells, old and new, J. Acoust. Soc. Jpn. (E) 10, 241–252 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 9.33
    B. Schoofs, F. van Asperen, P. Maas, A. Lehr: Computation of bell profiles using structural optimization, Music Percept 4, 245–254 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 9.34
    A. Lehr: The Designing of Swinging Bells and Carillon Bells in the Past and Present (Athanasius Kircher Foundation, Asten 1987)Google Scholar
  35. 9.35
    M.H. Richardson: Is it a mode shape, or an operating deflection shape?, Sound Vibr. 31(1), 54–61 (1997)Google Scholar
  36. 9.36
    T.D. Rossing, D.A. Russell: Laboratory observation of elastic waves in solids, Am. J. Phys. 58, 1153–1162 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 9.37
    F.J. Fahy: Sound Intensity, 2nd edn. (E. F.N. Spon, London 1995)Google Scholar
  38. 9.38
    A. Morrison: Acoustical Studies of the Steelpan and HANG: Phase-Sensitive Holography and Sound Intensity Measurements, Ph.D. Thesis (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb 2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew C. Morrison
    • 1
  • Thomas D. Rossing
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Natural SciencesJoliet Junior CollegeJolietUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of MusicStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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