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Percussion instruments are those that are sounded by striking, shaking, or scraping. There are two basic types of Percussion: tuned, such as xylophones and orchestra bells, and untuned, such as snare drums and tom-toms, shakers and cymbals.

Unlike Brass, Strings, and Woodwinds, which need to be blown and plucked, cajoled and coerced into making music, our relationship with Percussion is primal: it responds to simple touch. There is an “is-ness,” an ancient presence in percussive instruments; after the human voice, they were probably the first instruments we used. Unique to Percussion as well is the fact that its primary function is rhythmic, which connects it to Earth and body. Before melody and harmony there is the beating of the heart, the rhythm of rain on leaves, the recurrence of seasons, and the coming and going of life.

The Suit of Percussion is aligned with the element of Earth and the Root and Sacral Chakras. Cards within it deal with instinctive physical needs and drives: survival, shelter, sex. Furthermore, the suit addresses the manifestations of those needs and their place in our lives and the culture at large: money, health, the places we live, the company we keep. All that is tangible falls under the beat of the drum. Finally, Percussion addresses our sense of belonging. No doubt when one ancient started banging two bones together, another soon joined in: Percussion is tribal.

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