While the word "percussion" probably gives most people the mental image of a drum set, it would be a mistake to overlook hand percussion. These instruments are arguably the most primitive members of the family, but they can also be responsible for some of the most nuanced and complex sounds in a song. That unexpected intricacy is one reason why hand percussion is a mainstay of ethnic musical genres all over the world. The best example of hand percussion's hidden complexity is probably the triangle, which seems simple but any experienced musician knows it's a surprisingly versatile instrument. Others, like shakers and maracas, are a testament to the role of skill in percussion, with talented players able to make a seemingly basic instrument jump to life. In this selection, you'll find plenty of instruments that share this quality: a low barrier to entry, but a high ceiling for technique. In fact, one of the greatest things about hand percussion is the ability for anyone to pick up an instrument and just start playing, even if they've never tried it before.
There's an element of fun here that nothing else can equal, which is why it's so common to see instruments like these at campsites and in classrooms. They aren't just useful for professional percussionists; a few minutes with a tambourine or spark shaker will put a smile on most anyone's face. Of course, if you are using hand percussion in a pro setting, you'll find plenty of excellent instruments here to choose from. That includes some, such as jam blocks, castanet machines, cowbells and triangles, that have the option of being mounted within a drum set to expand the acoustic possibilities for a traditional drummer. Meinl even makes a cabasa mounted on a foot pedal, so you can play it just as you would a bass drum or hi-hat. What is it that you're looking for from hand percussion: a good time, a friendship-building experience or a unique palette of sounds for your professional percussion setup? With these instruments, there's no wrong answer. What you'll find here, in a word, is versatility.
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