Not every instrument that has the capability to produce multiple pitches should be used exclusively for melodic or harmonic purposes depending on the kind of musical piece you are trying to achieve.
While not every percussive instrument can play in a variety of pitches to make a melody – every melodic instrument can be used as a percussion instrument.
The best ways of doing so of turning a melodic instrument into a percussive instrument is to think of it like a drum:
- Have it keep the beat
- Have it employ rhythmic complexity with natural accentuation
- Have it focus down to one or two pitch classes (tonic and/or dominant)
- Have it be relatively staccato to avoid pitch ringing out
Having melodic instruments be more rhythmic/percussive can make your piece more “war-like,” have an accentuated groove, gain motion, and more.
If you feel like something is lacking in your piece, try it out and see what holes can be filled by simply having the melodic instruments at your disposal become rhythmic instruments.
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