The most modern percussion instruments of the century

One of the oldest families of instruments of humanity is percussion. Constantly resorted by the human being and whose examples have been developing and changing throughout history. 

In recent years, and with the influence of electricity on musical instruments since the 20th century, new models have appeared. Thanks to the ability to adapt to any material and medium of this instrumental family.

In this article, we will talk about seven of the most innovative percussion instruments. These instruments had expanded horizons to new tones and sensations while evolving with new cutting-edge technology.

1. Electronic drawer

The Cajon, of Peruvian origin and diffused by the flamenco musical trend. At first, the instrument was acoustic, but with technological evolution, this new format has turned towards electronics. 

With this model, made up of various electronic covers and pads, you can vary and implement all kinds of sounds, from different timbres of the traditional Cajon to a drum kit or purely electronic sounds.

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Image of Electronic Layered Cajon

2. Handpan

The Swiss company PANArt at the beginning of the 21st century created an acoustic instrument called Hang Drum or Handpan. Its structure is similar to that of a steel flying saucer, hollow inside and slightly thick.

On the upper surface, there are special circular “membranes” for percussion with the fingers and that produce a quiet sound to the ear. Over the years this model has been perfected, which is increasingly on the rise in the musical instrument industry.

Image of Handpan Music by David Charrier

3. Oval Sound

The electronic revolution of the Handpan gave birth to Oval sound. It has the same structure but with different electronic results. Each of the pads that make it up can hold a pre-set sound with a wide variety of musical kits.

Image of Oval Sound: Digital Handpan

4. Sundrum

With the same mechanics as the previous ones, Sundrum was born, thanks to the Valter Percussion Company. It is an instrument that is played with the fingers, but it differs greatly from the Handpan.

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On this occasion, there are no circular sections to percuss the sound, but rather a circle divided into 12 parts from a non-centric point.

Also, it displaced towards one end, which produces that each of the divided parts is a larger or smaller size, thus, obtaining different shades. 

The characteristic feature of this instrument is that, at higher levels, each of the divisions contains a variable pitch regulator through a magnetic tuning system.

The timbre is very harmonically flexible. Its percussive sound resembles that of a marimba. Moreover, this is great innovation within percussion instruments.

Image of a Sundrum: Wooden Tongue Drum

5. HandSonic

The Roland HandSonic is a new digital percussion instrument, this time adapted for finger playing in the style of traditional percussion. 

In this case, the sound of each of the mini pads it contains can also be modified by the one that the user prefers.

The base is distributed in a circular way divided into 4 main pads. Another 9 secondary ones are added to this, forming a total of 13 different sounds.

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Image of Roland HandSonic

6. Thongophone

The result that is obtained by joining several PVC pipes, of different lengths, and distributing them as if it were a marimba-pan flute in the shape of a xylophone is the thong phone.

Thus, it is one of the most used and varied instruments by the percussion trio “Blue Man Group” throughout their musical career. It is also worth mentioning “Snubby J” and his characteristic YouTube channel based on his RimbaTubes. 

Given the very different ways of organizing the tubes in this instrument, it gets multiple names such as Tubulum, RimbaTubes, Thongophone, and Tatanophone.

Image of a PVC Thongophone

7. Freedrum

Who would imagine playing drums without the drums? This latest innovation brings us some drumsticks with an intelligent sensor system.

This instrument when moved in the air, imitating the movements of the drumming, generates the sound of this instrument itself. 

Video of Freedrum

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