|Classification||Hand percussion, idiophone|
|Hornbostel–Sachs classification||111.211 Individual percussion sticks|
The triangle is a musical instrument in the percussion family, and is classified as an idiophone in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system. Triangles are made from a variety of metals including aluminum, beryllium copper, brass, bronze, iron, and steel. The metal is formed into a triangle shape by bending or casting methods. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve. The triangle theoretically has indefinite pitch,and produces a plurality of overtones when struck with an appropriate beater.
Iconography is the primary source for knowledge of the history of the triangle, and provides insight into the musical and social context in which the instrument developed.Some scholars believe the triangle to be a direct descendant of the ancient Egyptian sistrum. Others do not go quite so far, referring to the triangle as being "allied" with the sistrum throughout history, but not a direct descendant. It is thought that if the triangle were a direct descendant, somewhere in history one would expect to find a direct connection between the sistrum and the modern triangle—a “missing link” showing the sistrum's evolution into the triangle. However, a direct connection is not known. Like the sistrum, the triangle, as seen in iconography, has its origins in religious settings. To this day, the triangle is used as a liturgical instrument in the rites of the Coptic Church based in Egypt and the Syro-Malabar Church based in Kerala, India. For decades it was thought that the first iconographic witness of a triangle came from a 9th Century manuscript held at Emmeram of Regensburg through longstanding writings by James Blades and others; recent scholarship does not share this view. In the 14th Century, early depictions of the triangle emerge out of Western Christian iconography. From that time forward, the triangle is seen in iconography through the centuries, in a variety of sizes, and sometimes having jingling rings hanging from its rungs. Triangles are depicted as having an open corner with the ends not touching, and also as having with fully closed corners; the sides are sometimes slightly curved. Interestingly, triangles are also seen in shapes that are not quite triangular, such as trapezoids and stirrup shapes. The first known use of the written term “triangle” occurs in an inventory list of the musical instruments owned by the kapelle in Wurttemberg, Germany. The list was compiled by Balduin Hoyoul in 1589, over two hundred years after the iconographic emergence of the triangle in the fourteenth century. Around the eighteenth century, the use of the triangle began to expand, its sound started to bring about new musical connotations and associations. Influenced by ambassadorship, diplomacy, “ Turquerie ” and the new sounds of their own military bands, European operatic and orchestral composers began to incorporate the triangle as a means of emulating the sounds of the mehterân -- the metallic sounds of the zil and cevgen , combined with the rhythmic pulse of the kös , davul , and nakkare . The early use of the triangle in an operatic/orchestral setting was often not notated, and simply performed by ear. When a triangle part was notated, it was almost always in steady, repetitive eighth or sixteenth notes. The triangle was the available instrument in Europe for composers to write rhythmically, and with a metallic color. However, the triangle was not used in functional mehter music, nor was it used by Janissaries or mehteran while providing music for battle. In the early nineteenth century, Romantic-era composers began to seek new colors, and explored the sustaining qualities of the triangle. Preference was given towards a long, sustaining sound that only triangles without rings could provide. Thus, the jingling rings associated with the triangle for five centuries prior, fell out of use.
The modern triangle is shaped as its namesake though one of the angles is left open, with the ends of the bar not quite touching. This opening is used to keep the instrument from having a definite pitch, creating many rich overtones.It is either suspended from one of the other corners by a piece of, most commonly, nylon fishing line, leaving it free to vibrate. Early examples of triangles include ornamental work at the open end, often in a scroll pattern. In modern times, the scroll pattern has been abandoned and triangles are made from either steel or brass.
The triangle is often the subject of jokes and one-liners, as an archetypal instrument that seemingly has no musical function and requires no skill to play (the Martin Short character Ed Grimley is an example).However, triangle parts in classical music can be very demanding, and James Blades in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians writes that "the triangle is by no means a simple instrument to play".
The triangle is typically suspended from a triangle clip that suspends the triangle so that it is free to vibrate. When the instrument is played with one beater, the hand that holds the triangle clip can also be used to damp or slightly modify the sound. The triangle is usually struck with a metal beater, giving a high-pitched, ringing tone. For complex, rapid rhythms, the instrument may be suspended from a stand using two clips, and played with two beaters, although this makes it more difficult to control. Most difficulties in playing the triangle come from the complex rhythms which are sometimes written for it, and it can also be quite difficult to control the level of volume. Very quiet notes can be obtained by using a much lighter beater; knitting needles are sometimes used as well. Composers sometimes call for wooden beaters to be used instead of a metal one, producing a unique tone.A triangle roll, similar to a snare roll, is notated with three lines through the stem of the note. It requires the player to quickly move the beater back and forth in either the upper or lower corner, moving the beater quickly between the two sides.
In European classical music, the triangle has been used in the western classical orchestra since around the middle of the 18th century.Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven all used it, though sparingly, usually in imitation of Janissary bands. The earliest writing for the triangle is found in Cristoph Willibald Gluck’s operas La Cythère Assiégée (1759) , The first piece to use the triangle prominently was Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E♭ major, where it is used as a solo instrument in the third movement, giving this concerto the nickname of "triangle concerto". In Romantic era music, the triangle was used in some music by Richard Wagner, such as the "Bridal Chorus" from Lohengrin . Johannes Brahms uses the triangle to a particular effect in the third movement of his Fourth Symphony, the only appearance of non-timpani percussion in a Brahms symphony. Solo and chamber works that feature triangles have been written by composers John Adams, Mark Berry, Peter Jarvis, Alvin Lucier, and others.
In folk music, forró, Cajun music and rock music a triangle is often held directly in the hand so that one side can be damped by the fingers to vary the tone. The sound can also be changed slightly by varying the area struck, and by subtle damping.
The triangle (known in Cajun French as a ‘tit-fer, from petit fer, "little iron") is popular in Cajun music where it serves as the strong beat, especially if no drums are present.
In the Brazilian music style Forró it is used together with the zabumba (a larger drum) and an accordion. It forms together with the zabumba the rhythmic section. It provides usually an ongoing pulse, damping the tone on the first second and fourth while opening the hand on the third beat to let most frequencies sound. It can be used extensively for breaks, to improvise, and to vary the rhythm.
Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related. The harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family, but are typically larger than an accordion and sit on a surface or the floor.
A cymbal is a common percussion instrument. Often used in pairs, cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys. The majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a definite note. Cymbals are used in many ensembles ranging from the orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, heavy metal bands, and marching groups. Drum kits usually incorporate at least a crash, ride, or crash/ride, and a pair of hi-hat cymbals. A player of cymbals is known as a cymbalist.
Music is generally defined as the art of arranging sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise expressive content. Exact definitions of music vary considerably around the world, though it is an aspect of all human societies, a cultural universal. While scholars agree that music is defined by a few specific elements, there is no consensus on their precise definitions. The creation of music is commonly divided into musical composition, musical improvisation, and musical performance, though the topic itself extends into academic disciplines, criticism, philosophy, and psychology. Music may be performed or improvised using a vast range of instruments, including the human voice.
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or struck against another similar instrument. Excluding zoomusicological instruments and the human voice, the percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments.
The recorder is a family of woodwind musical instruments in the group known as internal duct flutes: flutes with a whistle mouthpiece, also known as fipple flutes. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in the western classical tradition.
Musical composition can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other musicians. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.
A clef is a musical symbol used to indicate which notes are represented by the lines and spaces on a musical stave. Placing a clef on a stave assigns a particular pitch to one of the five lines, which defines the pitches on the remaining lines and spaces.
A gong is a percussion instrument originating in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Gongs are a flat, circular metal disc that is typically struck with a mallet. They can be small or large in size, and tuned or can require tuning.
Timpani or kettledrums are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum categorised as a hemispherical drum, they consist of a membrane called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. Thus timpani are an example of kettle drums, also known as vessel drums and semispherical drums, whose body is similar to a section of a sphere whose cut conforms the head. Most modern timpani are pedal timpani and can be tuned quickly and accurately to specific pitches by skilled players through the use of a movable foot-pedal. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of ensembles, including concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, and even in some rock bands.
A sistrum is a musical instrument of the percussion family, chiefly associated with ancient Egypt. It consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame, made of brass or bronze and between 30 and 76 cm in width. When shaken, the small rings or loops of thin metal on its movable crossbars produce a sound that can be from a soft clank to a loud jangling. Its name in the ancient Egyptian language was sekhem (sḫm) and sesheshet (sššt).
A percussion mallet or beater is an object used to strike or beat a percussion instrument in order to produce its sound.
The flexatone or fleximetal is a modern percussion instrument consisting of a small flexible metal sheet suspended in a wire frame ending in a handle. Used in classic cartoons for its glissando effect, its sound is comparable to the musical saw.
Turkish music, in the sense described here, is not the music of Turkey, but rather a musical style that was occasionally used by the European composers of the Classical music era. This music was modelled—though often only distantly—on the music of Turkish military bands, specifically the Janissary bands.
The bass oboe or baritone oboe is a double reed instrument in the woodwind family. It is essentially twice the size of a regular (soprano) oboe so it sounds an octave lower which is why it's sometimes called a true tenor oboe; it has a deep, full tone somewhat akin to that of its higher-pitched cousin, the English horn. The bass oboe is notated in the treble clef, sounding one octave lower than written. Its lowest note is B2 (in scientific pitch notation), one octave and a semitone below middle C, although an extension w/ an additional key may be inserted between the lower joint and bell of the instrument in order to produce a low B♭2. The instrument's bocal or crook first curves away from and then toward the player (unlike the bocal/crook of the English horn and oboe d'amore), looking rather like a flattened metal question mark; another crook design resembles the shape of a bass clarinet neckpiece. The bass oboe uses its own double reed, similar to but larger than that of the English horn.
The term forró refers to a musical genre, a rhythm, a dance and the event itself where forró music is played and danced. Forró is an important part of the culture of the Northeastern Region of Brazil. It encompasses various dance types as well as a number of different musical genres. Their music genres and dances have gained widespread popularity in all regions of Brazil, especially during the Brazilian June Festivals. Forró has also become increasingly popular all over the world, with a well-established forró scene in Europe.
A rattle is a type of percussion instrument which produces a sound when shaken. Rattles are described in the Hornbostel–Sachs system as Shaken Idiophones or Rattles (112.1).
The surdo is a large bass drum used in many kinds of Brazilian music, such as Axé/Samba-reggae and samba, where it plays the lower parts from a percussion section. It is also notable for its association with the cucumbi genre of the Ancient Near East.
Martial music or military music is a specific genre of music intended for use in military settings performed by professional soldiers called field musicians. Much of the military music has been composed to announce military events as with bugle calls and fanfares, or accompany marching formations with drum cadences, or mark special occasions as by military bands. However, music has been employed in battle for centuries, sometimes to intimidate the enemy and other times to encourage combatants, or to assist in organization and timing of actions in warfare. Depending on the culture, a variety of percussion and musical instruments have been used, such as drums, fifes, bugles, trumpets or other horns, bagpipes, triangles, cymbals, as well as larger military bands or full orchestras. Although some martial music has been composed in written form, other music has been developed or taught by ear, such as bugle calls or drum cadences, relying on group memory to coordinate the sounds.
Forro in the Dark is a New York-based collective of Brazilian expatriates that formed in 2002. The group combines the musical style of forró, "the percussion-heavy, rhythmic dance music" of their native Brazil, with elements of rock, folk, jazz, and country.