T to Z from the A to Z of percussion

World Premiere at The Joseph Bramah

Percussion at the world premiere of DDoDV


Tabla (India) Wooden drum with straps and tuned with pegs.

Tabor (Europe) Long narrow drum.

Taiko (Japan) Large barrel shaped drum.

Talam (India) Finger cymbals.

Talking drum (Africa) Hour-glass shaped drum with rope tension, pitch is altered when ropes are squeezed.

Tamborim (Brazil) Small, high pitched single headed drum.

Tambourine Single headed frame drum with pairs of metal jingles around the frame.  Translations Italian tamburo basco/tamborino, French tambour de Basque, German schellentrommel/ tambourin, Spanish pandereta.

Tammorra (Italy) Tambourine.

Tam Tam (World) Large metal disc of indefinite pitch.

Tapan (Balkans) Large tom tom with rope tension.

Tenor Drum Tom tom designed for marching.  Translations Italian tamburo rullante, French caisse roulante/tambourin, German ruhrtrommel/tenortrommel, Spanish canja rodante.

Thavil or Tavil (India) Similar to bata drum.

Thunder sheet (USA) Shaken metal sheet for thunder effect.

Thunder stick see bull roarer.

Timbale (Cuba) pair of single headed metal drums, often with cowbell(s) attached.

Timbalito (Cuba/USA)- Smaller, more piercing version of timbales.

Timpani or kettle drums Pitched drums with a limited range of notes so usually performed in sets of 2 (most common) to 6 (rare).  The lowest note on the largest drum is around C (2 octaves below middle C) and the highest on the smallest drum is B below middle C.  Tuning can be altered by using tuning handles (old) or a pedal mechanism (modern).  Translations Italian timpani, French timbale, German pauken, Spanish timbale.

Ting-ting (Tibet) pitched metal disc (see crotale).

Tom tom Many cultures have single and double headed drums similar to kit or set drums. Each has a traditional or regional name and many of these are included in the A to Z.

Train whistle Imitation of a steam train whistle, often 2 or 3 tones.

Trash (World) Sounds created from rubbish or junk, trash cymbal has little ring but a harsh metallic sound.

Tres golpes (Cuba) 3 tumbadora set (conga).

Triangle Various sizes of ringing metals and alloys.

Tsuzumi (Japan) Talking Drum.

Tubular Bells Usually manufactured as chromatic sets with a range of C to F (octave +). Translations American chimes, Italian campane, French cloches, German glocken, Spanish campanas.


Udkka or Udakai (India) Talking drum.

Urumee (India) Hourglass shaped drum.


Vibraphone or vibraharp (USA) metal bars with a usual range of 3 octaves from F below middle C upwards.  The instrument has small paddles in the top of each resonating tube that can be turned by a motor for a vibrato effect.


Washboard (Europe/ USA) corrugated metal played with thimbles on the fingers (often has pans and horns with it).

Waterphone Metal rods welded onto a bowl with water inside, rods are struck/ scratched or bowed to produce an ethereal sound.

Whip or Slapstick Two flat pieces of wood (hinged) that slap together imitating a whip sound.  Translations Italian frusta, French fouet, German peische/holzklapper, Spanish fusta la tigo.

Whistle Many used for effects, police, referees, boatswain, swanee, siren…

Wind chimes (World) Various lengths of hanging material- wood, bamboo, shell, glass, metal, keys….

Wind machine (Western) Stretched canvas and wood mechanical sound effect.

Wine glasses Pitched and performed by running finger around the edge, bowing or soft beaters.

Wood block Translations Italian cassa di legno, French blocs de bois, German holzblock, Spanish bois de madera.


Xylophone Wooden bars with a range of 3 or 3.5 octaves down from the top C of a full sized piano.  Translations Italian Silofono, French Xylophone, German Xylophon, Spanish Xilofon.


Ya-kou (Africa) Barrel shaped drum.


Zabomba (Brazil) Bass drum.

www.prbpnews.info for the latest news about percussion publications.  The A to Z information is taken from the Drum Kit and Percussion Jotter.

© P.R.Birkby 2015

About derangeddrums

Composer, percussionist, musical director, teacher and educator. My music has been written for audiences in palaces and in the street. Music is my vocation and my passion and I hope you enjoy it too.
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1 Response to T to Z from the A to Z of percussion

  1. Pingback: A to Z of Percussion | Peter R. Birkby

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