Drum Set Anatomy
Drum Set Anatomy. The purpose of this article is to give a general overview of the drum set anatomy, and explain the sound, feel, and durability of each drum in a drum set
1) - Snare drum or side drum is a tubular drum made of wood or metal with skins, or heads, stretched over the top and bottom openings.
A cluster of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, or animal gut is stretched across the bottom head. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom head. This produces a short, distinctive, snap-like sound. The snares can be disengaged if this effect is not required. Snare drums come in many different sizes as well, that ultimately change the way the drum will sound. Snare drums that are shallow in size will give a higher "crack" sound while the deeper ones will give a heavier and thicker tone. Many drummers opt to have more than one on their drumset for a more dynamic setup.
2) - Bass drum, also known as a kick drum, is a large, heavy drum that produces a "thump" of low but indefinite pitch. It is used in orchestral music, marching music, and throughout 20th century popular music as a component of the drum set.
In popular music, the bass drum is used to mark time. In marches it is used to keep the march even (marching bands march to the beat of the bass). A basic beat for rock and roll has the bass drum played on the first and third beats of a bar of common time, with the snare drum on the second and fourth beats, called "back beats". In jazz the bass drum plays less of a timekeeping role and serves more to punctuate the music. The same is true in classical music, though the styles are dramatically different.
3) - Bass Drum Pedal
4a, 4b) - Tom-tom (a and b) is a cylindrical drum with no snare.
The tom-tom supposedly originates from Native American or Asian cultures. The African drum known as the djembe is some times called a tom-tom.
Tom-Toms can be fitted with an adjustable mounting for a floor stand, or attachment to a bass drum or marching rig. They can be single or double-headed.
Shell depth standards vary according to the era of manufacture and the drum style. Diameters usually range from eight to 20 inches, with heads to fit.
The tom-tom drum was added to the drum kit in the early part of the 20th century. These first drum kit tom-toms had no rims, the heads were tacked to the shell. Jazz drummers used the heat from a match and water (or whisky depending on the venue) to tune them. The best were imported from China.
As major drum manufacturers began to offer tunable tom-toms with hoops and tuning lugs, a 12" drum 8" deep became standard, mounted on the left side of the bass drum.
Later a 16" drum 16" deep mounted on three legs (a floor tom) was added. Finally, a second drum was mounted on the right of the bass drum, a 13" diameter drum 9" deep. Together with a 14" snare drum and a bass drum of varying size, these three made up the standard kit of five drums for most of the second half of the 20th century. Later, the mounted tom-toms, known as hanging toms or rack toms, were deepened by one inch each, these sizes being called power toms. Extra-deep hanging toms, known as cannon depth, never achieved popularity. All these were double-headed.
Today two "power" depth tomtoms of 9x12 (9" depth by 12" diameter) and 10x13 is the most common hanging tom configuration, and would be considered standard by most drummers. Also popular is the "fusion" configuration of 8x10 and either 8x12 or 9x12, and the again popular "classic" configuration of 8x12 and 9x13, which has never fallen from favour with some jazz and retro drummers. However a wide variety of configurations are commonly available and in use, at all levels from advanced student kits upwards. A third hanging tom is often used instead of a floor tom.
Single-headed tom-toms have also been used in drum kits, though their use has fallen off in popularity since the 1970s. Concert toms have a single head and a shell slightly shallower than the corresponding double-headed tom.
5) - Floor tom is a double-headed tom-tom drum equipped with legs (usually three) mounted along the side.
Not all drum kits include floor toms, but when used they are almost always the largest and lowest tuned tomtoms in the kit. By far the most common size for a floor tom is 16x16, that is 16" in depth and 16" in diameter. In almost all student kits that feature a floor tom, this is the size. Other common sizes are 14x14 for some jazz kits, and 16x18 (16" deep and 18" in diameter) which is the most common size for a second floor tom, tuned below the 16x16.
The floor tom was popularised by Gene Krupa in the 1950s, using a 16x16. At first he placed it between his two bass drums, on the far side of his snare drum, but quickly moved it to its now traditional position to the right of his right leg. A second 16x18 floor tom, to the right of the 16x16, appeared in the late 1960s and was popularised as part of the extended kits used by progressive rock bands in the 1970s.
6, 6a) - Hi hat and the pedal. Hi-hat or hihat is a type of cymbal and stand used as a typical part of a drum kit by percussionists in jazz, rock and roll, and other forms of contemporary popular music. It consists of two cymbals mounted on a metal stand, with a pedal-and-spring mechanism designed such that the cymbals can either be brought together by pressing the pedal, or raised to a predetermined (but adjustable before playing) distance by releasing the pedal. The hi-hat can be played by striking it with a drumstick or brush with the cymbals brought together ("closed"), or apart ("open"), or by using the pedal to forcefully bring the cymbal together.
The hi-hat stand has changed little since its invention. When struck closed or played with the pedal, the hi-hat gives a short, muted percussive sound. Adjusting the gap between the cymbals can alter the sound of the open hi-hat from a "shimmering", sustained tone to something similar to a ride cymbal. When struck with a drumstick, the cymbals make either a short, snappy sound or a longer sustaining sandy sound depending on the position of the pedal.
7) - Cymbals are used in modern orchestras and many military, marching, concert and other bands. They are one of the two instrument types that form the modern drum kit, the other of course being the drum, and as such are a basic part of much contemporary music. Even the most basic drum kit normally contains at least one suspended cymbal and a pair of hi-hat cymbals.