I'm trying to find the title for music containing all percussion instruments (pianos/xylophones not included) such as drum corps and marching band drum breakdowns. I'd basically like to listen to music completely consisting of drum beats. What would one call this genre? If I wanted to listen to this on Pandora, for instance, what would I put in the search field?

  • 1
    Well... Stomp is considered a musical. – crasic May 13 '11 at 9:17
  • A famous modernist piece that uses only non-pitched percussion is Ionisation by Varèse. Well, it has piano, but the players just beat on the strings inside, so I don't think that counts. – Pat Muchmore Jul 21 '14 at 18:00
  • A term used often in marching bands is a drum cadence. While they technically can include pitched percussion, they very often do not. – trlkly Sep 2 '14 at 22:20

Percussion, by definition, includes pitched percussion. So it sounds like you're looking specifically for "non pitched percussion music".

Some descripting terms that come to mind might be drum circle, drum line, rhythm music, street beats, african drumming.

  • Look for "percussion ensemble". – user1044 Aug 25 '11 at 2:48
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    @Wheat Percussion Ensemble instrumentation usually includes pitched percussion instruments such as marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, tubular bells, orchestra bells, and timpani. You're right that instrumentations without those instruments still might be labeled "percussion ensemble," but that won't help to exclude the pitched instruments. – NReilingh Aug 25 '11 at 3:12
  • "atonal percussion ensemble"? – naught101 Jul 11 '14 at 6:56
  • atonal music can still use pitched instruments - it just isn't based on a tonal centre or key. – bdsl Nov 28 '15 at 0:43

I would just call it "Percussion music". Google does seem to return results for that.


See also percussion ensemble and drum troupe.


I would start on Pandora searching for an actual percussion ensemble. A good start would be So Percussion. Then continue to like their music.

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