An Intro to Acoustic Percussion

That sounds great! Definitely going to try that…

Another one I was playing around with recently was tic-tacs in a steel baking bowl. Maybe not items you’d have handy for a campfire jam, but super fun for studio play.

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Big plastic bottles that are made for water coolers, like this one

make surprisingly nice percussion or wind instruments. :smiley:



just discovered that vid a few days ago…they are killin it

such rich culture!

this pair of small 4-5” oghene are the ones i’ve had for years

got a linked pair of 11” bells on the way (probably the same size as the guy in blue above)

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so good !!

the folks who are just vibing and not playing any instruments are my favorite part of this video

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All this bell talk is threatening to reignite my bell acquisition syndrome! I had quit buying them after I found my favorite. Cubans call this guataca, and it’s just an old hoe blade. It’s got a nice tight sound on the open, mute and edge without so much ringing and tone as a proper bell. Sounds good with a stick or metal striker like a tuning wrench. I suppose any old hunk of metal would work, but the hoe blade is traditional. In Santiago, the carnival troupes take it to the next level and walk around all day banging on automotive brake drums.

I also want to recommend this book to anybody interested in digging deep into what makes complex interlocking rhythms work (or not). The Clave Matrix has really opened up my mind and ears.


the pace of life in nigeria is so beautiful

their relaxed attitude comes thru in some styles of music too (like they are in no rush whatsoever to add all the elements of this piece…each joins in their own time)

i love it :smiley:


motherland came thru with super quick shipping…i was worried they might get delayed!


H Grant - were you able to get hold of the audio examples for the book? I can’t find them anywhere, and Davis Penalosa appears to be hard reach.

Many Thanks, S.

I have not. I hope he resurfaces some day. I’d like to attend his annual workshop at Humboldt State if it resumes.

I am progressing well enough with a lot of listening and practice, but it seems to be a long road to “clave consciousness” for those of us who were not born inside it.

Somewhat tangentially: one of the things that has helped me most was taking a few lessons on technique and mechanics for tumbadoras. I was able to figure out bongo from books and youtube, but I had been practicing very poor technique on the large drums as a result of learning on my own.

This is my (excellent) instructor: Percussion Instruction - Arturo Rodriguez
I was fortunate to be able to take some lessons in person, but he teaches remotely as well.

Has anyone explored percussive glass instruments? I own a copy of SonicCoutures glass virtual instruments, which includes deep sampled Le Cristal Baschet, The Glass Armonica, and a set of Cloud Chamber Bowls but that has only made me want the real thing (or DIY variations of)

Harry Partch gives some good advice on DIY at this point in this doco:

I’ve been recording a lot of glass for a sound FX library, but every time I find a prop with musical use I’ve put it aside to use more (rather than eventually breaking it) and eg managed to buy 3 round large glass terrariums from the recyclers that have beautiful resonance… and can of course be tuned with water.

But building a custom Cristal Baschet would be a dream, and to be honest I thought it would remain a dream until stumbling across these two sets of articles:

And this amazing resource: ODONTOPHONES
An empirical approach to the Baschet use of clamped oscillators for sound sculptures (and beyond).


Oh man I’ve recorded many a water bottle

I have a shuttle control and am a drummer too, working towards this now

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Does anyone know what these sound like? I found pictures of these giant ratchet noise makers, used in Portuguese religious procession. I’ve found a few pictures but no video yet of what they sound like. I’ve never seen an instrument like this!


Doing a YouTube search for “matraca” (the Portuguese word for ratchets) got me this video of possibly every ratchet imaginable, including giant ones:


I have one similar size and mine is vintage from WW1 and was used in the trenches to warn of a gas attack! It is incredibly loud - so loud need to wear hearing protection to use it… Despite its age works perfectly! You can see it being used in this silent footage:


@oot and @timp thank you!! this was exactly what I was looking for

edit ahh this is so satisfying I found a video with the very footage I was looking for. So now I know how the huge matraca sounds


Just wanted to say that this video is amazing. Thankyou for sharing.

These look so beautiful. Sadly Motherland don’t ship to the UK, otherwise I’d be all over this. On a related note, what are folks’ favourite percussion shops? In the UK I frequent Knock on Wood quite a lot, and also have recently discovered Savita music, which is a wonderful place.

very interesting drum kit/rig - Shun Ishiwaka at YCAM - photos in this article