Percussion instruments are played by striking or shaking them. This family includes instruments like the gong or cymbal in which the whole body of the instrument vibrates, as well as instruments like the bass drum which depends on a vibrating membrane to create sound.
Some percussion instruments
can produce definite pitches. For example the xylophone, which is
played by striking wooden bars with mallets, can produce a wide range of
tones simultaneously or one at a time. The timpani (or kettledrums)
can also produce a definite pitch, but each drum makes no more than one
pitch without being retuned. Many percussion tones of indefinite
pitch are used for rhythmic or dramatic purposes. These include snare
drums, tambourines, cymbals, bass drums, maracas, and gongs.