WW/Brass Considerations: 

Wind players must develop finger, tongue, and air independence. This is accomplished through routine practice of tenuto, staccato, legato, and marcato articulations. The type of tongue action required for a legato note is drastically different than the type of tongue a marcato note uses. Interestingly, similarities may be found between the action of the tongue on a reed or in a mouthpiece and the action of a percussion implement on a surface.

Percussion Considerations:


Legato (fully-supportive grip, smooth & connected wrist stroke and lift)

Staccato (firm grip, quick wrist stroke and lift

– looks similar to upstroke

Tenuto (fully-supportive grip, heavy arm stroke with little rebound)

Marcato (firm grip, quick arm stroke and lift)

– combination of staccato grip and stroke, but with tenuto arm


Same considerations as the strike instruments. Think of the moving crash instrument as the implement and the motionless instrument as the striking surface.

For example, legato notes on hand cymbals require a moderate hand speed that begins with the cymbals apart and ends with them apart while maintaining a fully-supportive grip on the straps. A tenuto note requires a fully-supportive grip and a moderate hand speed where the cymbals begin apart and end very close together.


Shake instruments, such as sleigh bells and shakers, manipulate their articulations largely by changing their attack qualities with proportional variations of velocity and height. The faster the instrument is moved, the harder the impact of the shaker beads on the inside-wall of the instrument, resulting in a sharper, more articulate attack. A softer attack and longer note is created when these instruments are moved slower. Additionally, the larger the motion, the louder the sound. The smaller the motion, the softer the sound.


Articulations on scrape instruments, such as guiro or brushes on a drum, are performed by changing the length of the scrape action. Short scrapes result in short sounds. Long scrape result in long sounds. Dynamics can be altered through implement pressure on the surface in addition to scrape speed. A fast speed results in louder sound. A slower speed results in a softer sound.


Click here for a sample articulation exercise:

articulations for percussion