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Drum History

Drum History

Drum - lets look closer, what is drum, why people did invent drum, in this article we will be discussing everything about the drum, like drum history, drum anatomy, drum tuning, why one drum has one skin and another drum has two and all the little details about the wonders of the drum.

African Drum

A little about Drum !

Drum is a musical instrument in the percussion family , technically classified as a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drumskin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with parts of a player's body, or with some sort of implement such as a drumstick, to produce sound. Drums are among the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has been virtually unchanged for hundreds of years.
The shell almost invariably has a circular opening over which the drumhead is stretched, but the shape of the remainder of the shell varies widely. In the western musical tradition, the most usual shape is a cylinder, although timpani for example use bowl-shaped shells. Other shapes include truncated cones (bongo drums) and joined truncated cones (talking drum).
Drums with cylindrical shells can be open at one end (as in the timbales) or, more commonly in the Western tradition, they can have another drum head. Sometimes they have a solid shell with no holes in at all though this is rare. It is usual for a drum to have some sort of hole in to let air move through the drum when it is struck. This gives a louder and longer ring to the notes of the drum, so drums with two heads covering both ends of a tubular shell often have a small hole halfway between the 2 drumheads. The membrane is struck, either with the hand or with a drumstick, and the shell forms a resonating chamber for the resulting sound. The sound of a drum depends on several variables including shell shape, size, thickness of shell, materials of the shell, type of drumhead, tension of the drumhead, position of the drum, location, and how it is struck.

Log Drums

The oldest drums were made out of hollowed logs. The bigger the log, the louder sound would be made and thus the farther it could be heard. A long slit would be cut in one side of the tree trunk. Next, the log would be hollowed out through the slit, leaving lips (wooden ledges) on each side of the opening. A drum could be tuned to produce a lower note and a higher note. For that it would need to be hollowed out more under one lip than under the other.
The drum's lips are hit with sticks, beating out rhythms of high and low notes.
The message-sending logs are not drums at all from the technical point of view, since they do not have a skin or membrane that would vibrate as they are beaten. Instead, the entire log vibrates like a big cylindrical gong, so musicologists call this type of instrument a slit gong.

Modern Drums

Some cultures improved the log drums with animal skins and hides which were were stretched over the end of a log, thus creating a device bearing more resemblance to the modern drum. The drum often has a narrow neck between the drum heads, across which stretch the sinews holding the skins; the drum will be held under one arm, which is squeezed down on the sinews to vary the tension in the drumheads and therefore the pitch of the sound. In this way several tone registers, as well as contour tones, can be replicated.
Among the most famous talking drums are the drums of West Africa, where they were invented. From regions known today as Nigeria and Ghana they spread across Africa and to America and the Caribbean during the slave trade.
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