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Ceremonial drum from 3rd to 2nd century B.C.
Ceremonial drum from 3rd to 2nd century B.C.
A pair of conga drums
A pair of conga drums

The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone.[1] Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.[1]

Drums may be played individually, with the player using a single drum, and some drums such as the djembe are almost always played in this way. Others are normally played in a set of two or more, all played by the one player, such as bongo drums and timpani. A number of different drums together with cymbals form the basic modern drum kit.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ The Most Epic Drum Video We've Ever Made (Todd Sucherman)
  • ✪ Jimmy Rainsford - How To Learn Songs By Ear (FULL DRUM LESSON)
  • ✪ Shedding With Eric Moore - Drum Lesson (DRUMEO)
  • ✪ One Tip That Will Change The Way You Play Drum Fills - Drum Lesson (DRUMEO)
  • ✪ Carmine Appice: Linear Drum Beats - Drum Lesson (Drumeo)


- I can't say I'm not a little bit nervous. Especially because it's a little bit foggy. If you look around here, it's a it's a bit ominous. Bit of an ominous morning. And I am afraid of heights. - I'm just wondering how we're gonna do this but I know we're gonna do it so. I've played in some pretty dangerous clubs before. We'll see how this is. Danger that way so, we'll go that way. Just don't go that way. - This is how you get to a gig, Todd. - Cam's gonna give you all a quick passenger briefing. Just show you how the doors and everything else works. And then we'll be ready to go. - Thank You, alright. - Down and open, and you don't need to slam them like a car door, they'll just break. And you'll all have a headset on. - [Jared] So, what do you do if you're gonna puke? - We do have sick bags though it's going to be awkward for the guys in here because they're underneath the drum kits. - Todd, if you're going to puke, just puke and spew into here. - Right, Jared, the hands. - So we're gonna be headed from Abbotsford Airport here. We're gonna be heading straight north, going up the Stave Lake and I gotta couple of different options of where we're going depending on what the weather's looking like up there. Alright, check check, everybody hears me okay? - [Jared] Gotcha. - Good Morning, echo alpha kilo's on the ground at BC Helicopters requesting a northwest departure. - [Dispatch] Echo alpha kilo from the BC Helicopters take-off at your discretion. Clear to cross runway one-niner outbound by the northwest route. - [Jared] That is such a wild feeling, oh my word! That's so awesome, great with the fog. - [Mischa] Yeah, nice, eh? - [Jared] Beautiful. - Yeah, so if we go to the upper spot, it's like 4,000 feet. The lower spot is only around 800 feet. But the lower spot there's no snow, which is gonna make it nicer for just working stuff, for work conditions. It's also gonna be much warmer, and the view is absolutely spectacular. - [Jared] It's fantastic with the trees poking though like that, incredible. - Hi tower, it's echo alpha kilo, we are clearing for the northwest. - [Dispatch] Echo alpha kilo, thanks surveillance terminated clear runway. - Echo alpha kilo. Looks like a fun little rain storm in front of us there. Hopefully it's a short little patch. - So we're surrounded by waterfalls. - Yeah, it's incredible isn't it? It's really hard to beat this spot. - Alright so everyone always asks us why we do these types of shoots. You know, I've been on the hills of Germany. I've been in Switzerland, we've been in Japan doing crazy stuff with taiko drummers. And really, I think when you boil it all down, we do this to hopefully honor and inspire drummers. The drummers of today and the drummers to come. I think when it comes to choosing to play drums, it's this thing that dominates an entire room in your house, maybe two rooms. Drummers will actually choose vehicles based off of will this hold my drum set? So when you think about coming out here and taking two helicopters, by the way, big thanks to Mischa from BC Helicopters, we take these two beautiful helicopters out to this gorgeous mountain in the middle of beautiful BC, it's really to honor drummers. We haul this drumset up here, it's raining, the drumset is currently tarped while we kinda wait for the weather to pass, but really it's to say Thank You to all of you. I hope you all enjoy it. I hope you can share it with your friends and help spread the word because what we really need is to inspire more drummers. Inspire the drummers of today to continue playing, continue practicing, and inspire the new drummers of tomorrow. - [Jared] Do you want Todd up here or what? - Well, no, uh, not until we're ready to go. - You want handwarmers? - Yeah, maybe. - It says it takes 15 - 30 minutes. - [Todd] I just heard something go bloong! - Please put your seatbelts on. - [Todd] Yes! - [Jared] Guys are strapped and ready? - [Todd] We're all born with the same potential. It's just up to us what we do with the drive and how we spend our time and how we commit to what we want to do and what we want to become. When I was growing up, I never felt like I was wasting any time playing the drums. It was what I loved to do the most. And when you work on something like a musical instrument, that's a noble pursuit, that's a noble effort, with your time as a human being alive on this planet with this one life that we get. So if you're enthusiastic about music and you're enthusiastic about the drums, the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek enthos which means "The god within" which tells me that that's the universe's way of saying you're right. You are right to want to spend your time here. You are right to look at drum catalogs and look at things online and study and watch videos. So you can study with me here at Drumeo with a rock drumming Masterclass: a 26 week course where every week you'll get a new streaming lesson with new ideas, new grooves. New ideas for the hands, new things to think about how you're going to approach music. And I'll coach you along the way. I'll guide you, you'll be able to write me. And we can do this together. So click on the link below, and let's get started together. - Alright so this is Mischa from BC Helicopters and I just wanted to give him, number one a huge shout-out for getting us here, this has just been absolutely incredible. - Yeah it's been awesome having you guys. - So tell me a little bit just a story about what you do here with BC Helicopters. - Yeah, so I own BC Helicopters with my brother and my wife. We bought it back in 2008 so about ten years ago now. And we're a flight school so we teach people how to fly and you guys teach people how to drum so it's pretty cool. - That's why I always thought it was great how we connected, because we're both, I'm passionate about drumming and you're passionate about flying and now somehow we wound up here with Todd and a drumset on the side of a mountain. You also have a YouTube channel where we can check out some videos you've uploaded. - Exactly, yeah, so if you guys wanna check out PilotYellow on YouTube, I do all kinds of awesome videos on teaching how to fly helicopters, and then just crazy stuff. We just got back from a trip around the world. We spent 96 days and flew around the world so that was pretty awesome if you guys wanna check that out too. - Awesome, well thanks again for getting us here. This has been, it's been rainy and cold, but it's also been the most epic shoot. - That's what makes it BC and so beautiful, right? I mean look at the surroundings we have here.



Drums are usually played by striking with the hand, or with one or two sticks. A wide variety of sticks are used, including wooden sticks and sticks with soft beaters of felt on the end. In jazz, some drummers use brushes for a smoother, quieter sound. In many traditional cultures, drums have a symbolic function and are used in religious ceremonies. Drums are often used in music therapy, especially hand drums, because of their tactile nature and easy use by a wide variety of people.[2]

In popular music and jazz, "drums" usually refers to a drum kit or a set of drums (with some cymbals, or in the case of harder rock music genres, many cymbals), and "drummer" to the person who plays them.

Drums acquired even divine status in places such as Burundi, where the karyenda was a symbol of the power of the king.


Drum carried by John Unger, Company B, 40th Regiment New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry Mozart Regiment, December 20, 1863
Drum carried by John Unger, Company B, 40th Regiment New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry Mozart Regiment, December 20, 1863

The shell almost always 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.[1] Other shapes include a frame design (tar, Bodhrán), truncated cones (bongo drums, Ashiko), goblet shaped (djembe), and joined truncated cones (talking drum).

Drums with cylindrical shells can be open at one end (as is the case with timbales), or can have two drum heads, one head on each end. Single-headed drums typically consist of a skin stretched over an enclosed space, or over one of the ends of a hollow vessel. Drums with two heads covering both ends of a cylindrical shell often have a small hole somewhat halfway between the two heads; the shell forms a resonating chamber for the resulting sound. Exceptions include the African slit drum, also known as a log drum as it is made from a hollowed-out tree trunk, and the Caribbean steel drum, made from a metal barrel. Drums with two heads can also have a set of wires, called snares, held across the bottom head, top head, or both heads, hence the name snare drum.[1] On some drums with two heads, a hole or bass reflex port may be cut or installed onto one head, as with some 2010s era bass drums in rock music.

On modern band and orchestral drums, the drumhead is placed over the opening of the drum, which in turn is held onto the shell by a "counterhoop" (or "rim"), which is then held by means of a number of tuning screws called "tension rods" that screw into lugs placed evenly around the circumference. The head's tension can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the rods. Many such drums have six to ten tension rods. The sound of a drum depends on many variables—including shape, shell size and thickness, shell materials, counterhoop material, drumhead material, drumhead tension, drum position, location, and striking velocity and angle.[1]

Prior to the invention of tension rods, drum skins were attached and tuned by rope systems—as on the Djembe—or pegs and ropes such as on Ewe drums. These methods are rarely used today, though sometimes appear on regimental marching band snare drums.[1] The head of a talking drum, for example, can be temporarily tightened by squeezing the ropes that connect the top and bottom heads. Similarly, the tabla is tuned by hammering a disc held in place around the drum by ropes stretching from the top to bottom head. Orchestral timpani can be quickly tuned to precise pitches by using a foot pedal.


Several factors determine the sound a drum produces, including the type, shape and construction of the drum shell, the type of drum heads it has, and the tension of these drumheads. Different drum sounds have different uses in music. For example, the modern Tom-tom drum. A jazz drummer may want drums that are high pitched, resonant and quiet whereas a rock drummer may prefer drums that are loud, dry and low-pitched.

The drum head has the most effect on how a drum sounds. Each type of drum head serves its own musical purpose and has its own unique sound. Double-ply drumheads dampen high frequency harmonics because they are heavier and they are suited to heavy playing.[3] Drum heads with a white, textured coating on them muffle the overtones of the drum head slightly, producing a less diverse pitch. Drum heads with central silver or black dots tend to muffle the overtones even more. And drum heads with perimeter sound rings mostly eliminate overtones. Some jazz drummers avoid using thick drum heads, preferring single ply drum heads or drum heads with no muffling. Rock drummers often prefer the thicker or coated drum heads.

The second biggest factor that affects drum sound is head tension against the shell. When the hoop is placed around the drum head and shell and tightened down with tension rods, the tension of the head can be adjusted. When the tension is increased, the amplitude of the sound is reduced and the frequency is increased, making the pitch higher and the volume lower.

The type of shell also affects the sound of a drum. Because the vibrations resonate in the shell of the drum, the shell can be used to increase the volume and to manipulate the type of sound produced. The larger the diameter of the shell, the lower the pitch. The larger the depth of the drum, the louder the volume. Shell thickness also determines the volume of drums. Thicker shells produce louder drums. Mahogany raises the frequency of low pitches and keeps higher frequencies at about the same speed. When choosing a set of shells, a jazz drummer may want smaller maple shells, while a rock drummer may want larger birch shells.


Moche ceramic vessel depicting a drummer. Larco Museum Collection. Lima-Peru
Moche ceramic vessel depicting a drummer. Larco Museum Collection. Lima-Peru

Drums made with alligator skins have been found in Neolithic cultures located in China, dating to a period of 5500–2350 BC. In literary records, drums manifested shamanistic characteristics and were often used in ritual ceremonies.[4]

The bronze Dong Son drum was fabricated by the Bronze Age Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam. They include the ornate Ngoc Lu drum.

Animal drumming

Macaque monkeys drum objects in a rhythmic way to show social dominance and this has been shown to be processed in a similar way in their brains to vocalizations, suggesting an evolutionary origin to drumming as part of social communication.[5] Other primates make drumming sounds by chest beating or hand clapping,[6][7] and rodents such as kangaroo rats also make similar sounds using their paws on the ground.[8]

Talking drums

Drums are used not only for their musical qualities, but also as a means of communication over great distances. The talking drums of Africa are used to imitate the tone patterns of spoken language. Throughout Sri Lankan history drums have been used for communication between the state and the community, and Sri Lankan drums have a history stretching back over 2500 years.

Drums in art

Drumming may be a purposeful expression of emotion for entertainment, spiritualism and communication. Many cultures practice drumming as a spiritual or religious passage and interpret drummed rhythm similarly to spoken language or prayer. Drumming has developed over millennia to be a powerful art form. Drumming is commonly viewed as the root of music and is sometimes performed as a kinesthetic dance. As a discipline, drumming concentrates on training the body to punctuate, convey and interpret musical rhythmic intention to an audience and to the performer.

Military uses

Chinese troops used tàigǔ drums to motivate troops, to help set a marching pace, and to call out orders or announcements. For example, during a war between Qi and Lu in 684 BC, the effect of drum on soldiers' morale is employed to change the result of a major battle. Fife-and-drum corps of Swiss mercenary foot soldiers also used drums. They used an early version of the snare drum carried over the player's right shoulder, suspended by a strap (typically played with one hand using traditional grip). It is to this instrument that the English word "drum" was first used. Similarly, during the English Civil War rope-tension drums would be carried by junior officers as a means to relay commands from senior officers over the noise of battle. These were also hung over the shoulder of the drummer and typically played with two drum sticks. Different regiments and companies would have distinctive and unique drum beats only they recognized. In the mid-19th century, the Scottish military started incorporating pipe bands into their Highland regiments.[9]

During pre-Columbian warfare, Aztec nations were known to have used drums to send signals to the battling warriors. The Nahuatl word for drum is roughly translated as huehuetl.[10]

The Rig Veda, one of the oldest religious scriptures in the world, contains several references to the use of the Dundhubi (war drum). Arya tribes charged into battle to the beating of the war drum and chanting of a hymn that appears in Book VI of the Rig Veda and also the Atharva Veda where it is referred to as the "Hymn to the battle drum".


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Grove, George (January 2001). Stanley Sadie, ed. The New Grove Encyclopædia of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). Grove's Dictionaries of Music. pp. Volume 5, pp638–649. ISBN 978-1-56159-239-5.
  2. ^ Weiss, Rick (July 5, 1994). "Music Therapy". The Washington Post (Jul 5, 1994).
  3. ^ Drum Lessons -
  4. ^ Liu, Li (2007). The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-01064-0, p. 123
  5. ^ Remedios, R; Logothetis, NK; Kayser, C (2009). "Monkey drumming reveals common networks for perceiving vocal and nonvocal communication sounds". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 106 (42): 18010–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.0909756106. PMC 2755465. PMID 19805199.
  6. ^ Clark Arcadi, A; Robert, D; Mugurusi, F (2004). "A comparison of buttress drumming by male chimpanzees from two populations". Primates; Journal of Primatology. 45 (2): 135–9. doi:10.1007/s10329-003-0070-8. PMID 14735390.
  7. ^ Kalan, AK; Rainey, HJ. (2009). "Hand-clapping as a communicative gesture by wild female swamp gorillas". Primates. 50 (3): 273–5. doi:10.1007/s10329-009-0130-9. PMID 19221858.
  8. ^ Randall, JA. (2001). "Evolution and Function of Drumming as Communication in Mammals". American Zoologist. 41 (5): 1143–1156. CiteSeerX doi:10.1668/0003-1569(2001)041[1143:EAFODA]2.0.CO;2. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09.
  9. ^ Chatto, Allan. (1996). Brief History of Drumming. Archived March 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. (2006). [Handbook to Life In the Aztec World]

External links

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