Recording Studio: Idiophones

Recording Studio: An Idiophone instrument creates sound via vibrations through the body of the instrument itself, with the most well known examples of such instruments being the cymbals on a drum kit, the xylophone or a bell. Recording Studio Idiophones most commonly fall into the percussion family, although many are capable of producing notes as well.

Recording Studio: Idiophone Types

Recording Studio: Idiophones feature in almost all kinds of music, from rock, jazz, and pop, to classical and folk. There are eight basic types of idiophone:

  • Concussion
  • Stamping
  • Stamped
  • Shaken
  • Friction
  • Percussion
  • Plucked

One example of a plucked idiophone, also known as a lamellaphone, would be the Jew’s Harp and Kalimba. The material that an idiophone is made of can also have a major impact on sounds and tones. In general, an idiophone will be made from wood or metal, although stone is also often used in the construction of some instruments as well.
A xylophone for example, uses wood for the percussive blocks, whereas the vibraphone uses metal. Although both instruments are almost identical in terms of melodic capabilities, they both have sharply contrasting sounds. A xylphone produces a much softer tone, when struck. A vibrophone has a much sharper sound thanks to the use of metal. As a result, both instruments are used for different musical purposes.
Almost all percussion instruments are idiophones – with the exception of drums, which are membranophones. Examples include cymbals, woodblocks, triangles, glockenspiels, xylophones, bells, rattles, guiros, clavés and many more.
Another example of an idiophone is a gong, a circular metal platelike percussion instrument, usually having a turned-down rim. In most forms it is struck in the centre with a felt- or leather-covered beater, producing a sound of either definite or indefinite pitch. Its vibrations issue from the centre, in contrast to bells, which vibrate principally at the rim. Gongs may have shallow or deep rims (kettle gongs) and may be bossed (knobbed in the centre) or unbossed. Rimless gongs occur occasionally.
recording studio idiophones