Percussion Clinic Adelaide

Other Percussion Instruments

Wind Chimes Taiko Drums Antique Cymbals
Rain Stick Waterphone Mbira or "African Thumb Piano"


Percussion intrument Windchimes
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Windchimes like the ones shown on the right are very often used as an orchestral instrument to create that dreamy or washy sound. They are basically constructed from a row of short and very high-pitched alloy chimes of no specific pitch that can be activated by running the back of a finger or drumstick etc from one end to the other. The sideways movement gets each chime striking the one next to it to start it sounding. The chimes can be hollow tube or a solid rod - the solid kind tend to more expensive, but because of the greater weight they tend to swing less after the initial stroke and don't continue activating each other. In other words its easier to get a single controlled sound. This type of windchime instrument is also quite commonly used in a Latin music band or similar.

Windchimes The other kind of windchimes we see often are the kind most commonly seen in gardens etc, although they also on occasion are used as an instrument.


odaiko Taiko drums are basically Japanese drums, and historically in Japan drums often took on a similar roll to the great bells of Russia. Taiko drums come in quite a variety of sizes from the the huge Odaiko to the very small shimidaiko. I personally don't have enough knowledge to write about taiko with any authority, so I am currently looking for someone more in the know to help me with the info that should be here. please email me if you can help.

Finger Cymbals
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Finger Cymbals
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Antique Cymbals

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The rainstick comes in many forms but the basic idea of all of them is similar - that is to create the effect of the sound of rain. Essentially all rainsticks consist of some type of long tube filled with small particles. When tilted from one end to the other the falling particles do the same sonic job as falling raindrops would. The materials used for both the tube and the particles are extremely varied, and there is more than one mechanism in common use for slowing the fall of the particles and giving them something to fall against. Probably the most common and original sort of rainstick is at least similar to the one pictured - constructed from a hollowed cactus with the needles hammered inwards for the particles to hit against.

The particles could be pretty much anything - popular choices would be small pebbles, dried split peas, plastic or metal beads, dried bean seads etc. Modern rainsticks can have the tube contructed from just about anything for a variety of sounds, and can use metal nails instead of cactus needles or some other material. One popular modern construction uses a series of circular discs sealing the tube along the length which are drilled with holes on alternating sides of the discs so that the particles take quite a while to fall through each hole then slide around the next disc to the next hole etc.

More some great info about the history of the rainstick follow this link:
I don't feel the need to repeat their already good research!

Many percussionists have trouble getting a good sustained but steady rain sound from a rainstick - in general it can be a tricky instrument to control. Some of the modern synthetic instruments do make it easier as they are based on consistent manufacturing - so making a consistent sound is obviously easier. The basic problem is that if you tilt it a lot you get a sudden rush then a stop, but if you tilt it a bit you get many little breaks in the sound untill you increase the angle to encourage the beads - which in turn ends up with another sudden rush! Some people try using a gentle shaking action but this often results in an undesired shaking sound! Through quite a bit of experimentation, I have found that the best technique is to hold the rainstick at each end as shown, and tilt quite gently - so that the particles are not quite falling properly by themselves. THEN you gradually begin to twist using one hand at a time to keep the motion continuous. This keeps the particles finding new paths through the tube without giving the tube enough angle to make them fall quickly or suddenly.

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Thumb Piano or Mbira
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