Temple block vs Wood block

spliglet52

Junior Member
I've been asked to play 'percussion' (mainly drum kit) for the Sound of Music. The equipment required includes a temple block. Is there much difference between these, a wood block and a cow bell?

Any comments much appreciated!
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
Yes, big difference between temple block and wood block. Wood block is going to be higher pitched and in most cases give more of a click sound. Temple block is going to be lower pitched and more open sounding perhaps what I would call "warmer" sound. Cowbell is a completely different instrument. It's a metal instrument and has none of the properties of the wood instruments and I wouldn't think of substituting that. I've usually found when doing shows that the part will call for the instrument they want for a reason. Only use the alternate when the prescribed instrument is not available.
 

crash

Member
Usually a wood block is just one item. That is a single sound. Temple blocks are usually in groups of five. That is 5 different pitches. If you're using plastic blocks, be sure to hit the block on an angle on the lip. Usually there is a built up place. With wood blocks you can tap the top. All this depends on the sound you need. A lot of times I play wood blocks and temple blocks with medium hard xylophone mallets, right on the top. I hope this helps.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I've been asked to play 'percussion' (mainly drum kit) for the Sound of Music. The equipment required includes a temple block. Is there much difference between these, a wood block and a cow bell?

Any comments much appreciated!
Pete Stoltman is dead on.

If you can't locate a temple block in your neck of the woods, use a lower-pitched LP Jam Block. It will get you that "clop" sound the composer was looking for. If you need multiple pitches, as in Chinese-style temple blocks (like crash was talking about), a set of the LP Granite Blocks works well, and costs about half as much as a set of real temple blocks. If the score calls for only two or three pitches of temple blocks, you could always get a few more Jam Blocks.

A cowbell is no substitute for a temple block or wood block.
 
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