...Where is this clarification, that percussion instruments must be membranophones?
A percussion instrument (according to this) is a musical instrument where sound is produced by one object hitting another, and under Hornbostel-Sachs, both idiophones and membranophones are typified as percussion instruments. Therefore, xylophones/marimbas/etc. are perfectly legal. I believe there's even a National clarification that says anything listed under idiophone or membranophone on Hornbostel-Sachs is allowed.
The PVC instruments you mentioned are also considered percussion, as they are struck to produce sound through vibration of a column of air (which is caused by the vibration of the PVC). To be considered aerophones, the vibration of the air must produce the sound, and the instrument itself should not vibrate.
Teams should not be penalized for making ideophones, as they are perfectly within the rules (also, making 27 pitched drums to cover the entire range would be a HUGE pain). However, dulcimer-like instruments may or may not be legal, depending on the judge's interpretation of "percussion".
Do you think that if you made a less common instrument (and pulled it off) then you'd score more points?I would love to make a mello, because I would just rock the event, but the one brass instrument I saw this year, a trombone, had a horrible tone. I think flute is simply the easiest instrument to make, so that's why everyone does that.
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