Aside from human voice and animal sounds, percussion seems to be the oldest means of producing music. Virtually every culture and ethnicity has independently developed, adopted, adapted, and evolved percussion instruments and their playing techniques to express itself through sounds of music that signify its identity and its heritage. Percussion, thus, plays a pivotal role in almost every style and genre of music, often serving as the metronome that provides the heartbeat of musical pieces.
Most western classical music of the 18th and the 19th centuries uses percussion instruments only sparingly, merely in order to accentuate melodies, rather than giving percussion a continuously playing voice. Percussion instruments appear more frequently in the western classical music of the 20th century. Throughout, however, percussion has concurrently retained its prominent presence, not only in the music of other parts of the world, but in other styles of western music, such as folk, pop, rock, and jazz, as well.
The Zarbang ensemble was formed in 1996 in Germany to explore and promote percussion music globally. The vast diversity of percussion instruments and their playing techniques from around the world enables percussion to produce a plethora of rhythms that organically blend with and accentuate a broad range of melodies and harmony.
Obvious and subtle differences in techniques used in various cultures and by ethnic groups to play similar or even the same percussion instruments often stem from the nuanced sounds and rhythms honed by tradition to express their cherished musical heritage. Rooted in the ancient cultural heritage of Iran, Afghanistan, and Italy, and well-versed in western classical music, Zarbang musicians bring together a wide spectrum of skills, techniques, and traditions from different cultures. Tapping into this rich heritage of regional styles and experience, Zarbang both promotes lesser explored arenas of music from various regions of the world, and oglobal audiences fresh compositions that emerge through mutual symbiotic influences of those styles.