It is the language of percussionists that is used to verbally describe the exact sounds that are produced by percussion instruments. It has syllables like "gank" (sound of an anvil falling on something), "spigida-bigida" (a sextuplet), "herrta" (a sequence of two eight-notes and two quarter notes played rather fast), "oosh" (big bass drum, tympani, or gong hit), "dut", "shika", "dak", "blook", "deek" (sometimes claves or a woodblock), "digida", "dup", "chup", and "diga".

There is an extension of drumspeak known as vocal percussion, practiced by college a cappella groups as well as some more famous groups like Rockapella. A vocal percussionist, using only his or her mouth and throat, strives to perfectly emulate the sounds of a drum kit. This has roots in rap as well as rock and roll, where a vocal percussionist is known as a "human beatbox". The difference is really only in the type of music (and specifically, the type of percussion in the original song)--as electronica seep into mainstream pop, more and more bands have no drummer, only a synthesized drum loop, and the "beatbox" moniker becomes more appropriate. A good vocal percussionist can also serve as a beatbox; this is similar to saying a combat fighter pilot can also serve as an airline pilot.

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