Instruments | Percussion Controller | Electric & Electronic

The full drum kit is not the only instrument in the percussion section to have benefited from advances in electronics and music technology. An array of different electronic percussion is available to the modern player.

Early electronic drum kits and percussion controllers used closed, proprietary systems to link the playing surfaces to the sound sources. However, most modern instruments have built-in sounds, use the industry standard MIDI protocol to communicate with sound sources such as synthesizers and samplers, or offer a combination of both approaches to afford the player access to the widest possible selection of sounds.

Drum Pads

Instruments such as the drumKat or the Roland Octopad offer the player an array of velocity-sensitive pads mounted in a single, robust unit. Used either as an independent instrument or as a complement to an existing drum kit or percussion rig, these enable the percussionist to trigger any MIDI-compatible sound module.

While it might not immediately seem necessary to offer drum pads on a keyboard instrument, keyboard players sometimes find it easier to play and programme drum sounds using tactile pads rather than keys. The Roland Fantom X range and the Korg Kontrol 49 are examples of instruments which offer the keyboard player a four-by-four array of 16 drum pads. Standalone products such as the M-Audio Trigger Finger and the Akai MPD16 offer similar facilities.

Hand Drums

Nor is the hand drummer left out. Instruments like the Korg Wave Drum and the Roland HPD-15 present the player with a variety of impressive built-in sounds and surfaces responsive to the established, traditional techniques of hand-drumming.

Mallet Instruments

Larger instruments like the xylophone, marimba or vibraphone are emulated by the malletKAT MIDI control surface.

Introduction | Electric & Electronic Instruments
Instruments | Drum Machine | Electric & Electronic

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins


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