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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a percussion instrument (=one that you hit)
▪ Children can learn to play percussion instruments through games and songs.
▪ His first distinctive works were for percussion instruments or pianos prepared with nuts and bolts inserted between the strings.
▪ He bashed about on percussion instruments.
▪ A constant clash and tinkle came from the kitchens across the courtyard, like the percussion section of an orchestra from hell.
percussion instruments
▪ A constant clash and tinkle came from the kitchens across the courtyard, like the percussion section of an orchestra from hell.
▪ And somewhere along the way, a ghostly percussion band joined the crowd.
▪ He is the principal member of his ensemble, the shifting ocean of percussion on which his instrumental group rides.
▪ He was a dynamic band leader and charismatic front man who sang and played saxophone, keyboard and percussion.
▪ Her Web site on the Internet contains a percussion master class.
▪ Instead the class used percussion music to convey the clash between the two armies.
▪ So we must warn that percussion can easily be overworked and become tiresome.
▪ That released the firing pin, which in turn fired the percussion cap and triggered a chemical reaction that generated oxygen.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Percussion \Per*cus"sion\, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See Percuss.]

  1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report.
    --Sir I. Newton.

  2. Hence: The effect of violent collision; vibratory shock; impression of sound on the ear.

    The thunderlike percussion of thy sounds.

  3. (Med.) The act of tapping or striking the surface of the body in order to learn the condition of the parts beneath by the sound emitted or the sensation imparted to the fingers. Percussion is said to be immediate if the blow is directly upon the body; if some interventing substance, as a pleximeter, is, used, it is called mediate.

    Center of percussion. See under Center.

    Percussion bullet, a bullet containing a substance which is exploded by percussion; an explosive bullet.

    Percussion cap, a small copper cap or cup, containing fulminating powder, and used with a percussion lock to explode gunpowder.

    Percussion fuze. See under Fuze.

    Percussion lock, the lock of a gun that is fired by percussion upon fulminating powder.

    Percussion match, a match which ignites by percussion.

    Percussion powder, powder so composed as to ignite by slight percussion; fulminating powder.

    Percussion sieve, Percussion table, a machine for sorting ores by agitation in running water.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 15c., "a striking, a blow; internal injury, contusion," from Latin percussionem (nominative percussio) "a beating, striking; a beat as a measure of time," noun of action from past participle stem of percutere "to strike hard, beat, smite; strike through and through," from per- "through" (see per) + quatere "to strike, shake" (see quash). Reference to musical instruments is first recorded 1776.


n. 1 (context countable English) the collision of two bodies in order to produce a sound 2 (context countable English) the sound so produced 3 (context countable English) the detonation of a percussion cap in a firearm 4 (context medicine English) the tapping of the body as an aid to medical diagnosis 5 (context music English) the section of an orchestra or band containing percussion instruments; such instruments considered as a group 6 (context engineering English) the repeated striking of an object to break or shape it, as in percussion drilling

  1. n. the act of playing a percussion instrument

  2. the act of exploding a percussion cap

  3. the section of a band or orchestra that plays percussion instruments [syn: percussion section, rhythm section]

  4. tapping a part of the body for diagnostic purposes [syn: pleximetry]

Percussion (medicine)

Percussion is a method of tapping on a surface to determine the underlying structure, and is used in clinical examinations to assess the condition of the thorax or abdomen. It is one of the five methods of clinical examination, together with inspection, palpation, auscultation, and inquiry. It is done with the middle finger of one hand tapping on the middle finger of the other hand using a wrist action. The nonstriking finger (known as the pleximeter) is placed firmly on the body over tissue. When percussing boney areas such as the clavicle the pleximeter can be omitted and the bone is tapped directly such as when percussing an apical cavitary lung lesion typical of TB.

There are two types of percussion: direct, which uses only one or two fingers, and indirect, which uses the middle/flexor finger. There are four types of percussion sounds: resonant, hyper-resonant, stony dull or dull. A dull sound indicates the presence of a solid mass under the surface. A more resonant sound indicates hollow, air-containing structures. As well as producing different notes which can be heard they also produce different sensations in the pleximeter finger.

Percussion was at first used to distinguish between empty and filled barrels of liquor, and Dr. Leopold Auenbrugger is said to be the person who introduced the technique to modern medicine although this method was used by Avicenna about 1000 years before that for medical practice such as using percussion over the stomach to show how full it is and to distinguish between ascites and tympanites.

Percussion (disambiguation)

Percussion may refer to:

  • Percussion instrument, a large group of musical instruments
    • Percussion idiophone, a percussion instrument which is beaten with a hand or with a dissimilar, non-sounding beater, as opposed to a concussion idiophone which is beaten against a second similar instrument
    • In the Hornbostel–Sachs classification system, percussion refers generally to any object that beats against a dissimilar, non-sounding object, so a clarinet reed is described as percussion while an oboe reed is concussion
  • Percussion (medicine), a method of clinical examination
  • Percussion cap, an ignition system in firearms

Usage examples of "percussion".

Percussion gives a dull sound or if there are large cavities, it is hollow, and auscultation elicits the amphoric sound, as of blowing into a bottle.

It was not music that the little maiden made to her ear, but only motion to her body, and just as the deaf who are deaf alone are sometimes found to take pleasure in all forms of percussion, and to derive from them some of the sensations of sound--the trembling of the air after thunder, the quivering of the earth after cannon, and the quaking of vast walls after the ringing of mighty bells--so Naomi, who was blind as well and had no sense save touch, found in her fingers, which had gathered up the force of all the other senses, the power to reproduce on this instrument of music the movement of things that moved about her--the patter of the leaves of the fig-tree in the patio of her home, the swirl of the great winds on the hill-top, the plash of rain on her face, and the rippling of the levanter in her hair.

Bulbs of percussion were rare on the Early Miocene flints of Thenay, but most of the flints displayed fine retouching of the edges.

They gave the percussion of handguns, and they were unaimed, simply fired off in fear or hope.

Pan pipes, reed flutes, and birdcalls were infused in the vibrations to combine nature with man-made percussion sounds.

Until sufficient tubercular matter has been deposited in the lungs to alter the sounds observed on auscultation and percussion, a definite diagnosis of tubercular consumption cannot be made, even though there may have been hemorrhage.

Wessons, Mausers, Webleys, Lugers, Winchesters, Deringers and Derringers, Adams and Rugers, flintlocks and percussion cap blasters, muskets, rifles and carbines.

The guns are to be fired either with percussion or friction primers, as the Captain may prefer.

They had a bulge, a bulb of percussion, on the end of the flake where the hammerstone struck, but they tapered to a sharp edge.

The piece she had flaked off had a thick bulge where the hammerstone had struck -- the bulb of percussion -- and tapered to a thin edge on the opposite end.

Green, foaming breakers reared up, steep sides glistening, then hammered an uneven percussion of spray against the riprap that fronted the harbor.

So, to one of the best tunes ever to come out of Europe, even with its timing adapted to the rigors of a disco percussion track able to make the bluest Thanatoid believe, however briefly, in resurrection, they woke, the Thanatoids woke.

Left behind the empty lots filled with malt liquor bottles, left behind the storefront tabernacles, the faded, weather-battered posters for Red Devil lye, which black men had used to conk their hair straight in the Malcolm X era, left behind the teenage rapper wannabees and bucket percussion ensembles in Marcus Garvey Park, the stands selling toys and sandals and bling and kente-cloth wall hangings.

The music swelled in a crescendo, cube-drums, ice-horns, percussion geodes, and more, all in perfect harmony.

With a smooth, flattened round stone, she retouched one long sharp edge, blunting it for a back and shaping a point at the narrow end opposite the bulge made by the impact of percussion.