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Classification Hand percussion, idiophone
Playing range
Single note

The Bock-a-da-bock is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is made up of two metal discs, usually steel, formed into a domed shape.


The bock-a-da-bock was invented by orchestral percussionist Billy Gladstone.[1] He shaped the discs such that they were 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in diameter and slightly domed. These discs were then mounted on sprung tongs which could be held by the drummer playing the instrument.

Sometimes the bock-a-da-bock was used to substitute a drum kit. Due to the recording limitations of the 1920s, drums were not always practical to be included in a recording.

Use and technique[edit]

The instrument is played with a stick in one hand, while the other hand (usually the left) controls the grip. The two metal discs are then pushed together to create a sound similar to that of a milk bottle being hit.


Noteworthy players of the bock-a-da-bock are Kaiser Marshall, who played it on several Fletcher Henderson records, and Chick Webb, who played it in the song "Dog Bottom".[1] Zutty Singleton from Louis Armstrong's Hot Five also played a bock-a-da-bock on Armstrong's 1928 recording of "West End Blues".[citation needed]

Songs that use audible bock-a-da-bock parts[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Bixography Discussion Group". Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. ^ A Student's Guide to AS Music by Paul Terry and David Bowman. Rhinegold Publishing LTD, 2005; ISBN 0-96890-90-0