The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums may be played individually, with the player using a speed dating in Birch 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.
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 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. Drums acquired even divine status in places such as Burundi, where the karyenda was a symbol of the power of the king. 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. Single-headed drums typically consist of a skin stretched over an enclosed space, or over one of the ends of a hollow vessel. 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. 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.
Take, for example, the modern Tom-tom drum. 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.
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. Moche ceramic vessel depicting a drummer. In literary records, drums manifested shamanistic characteristics were often used in ritual ceremonies. The bronze Dong Son drum was fabricated by the Bronze Age Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam. They include the ornate Ngoc Lu drum.
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. 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. 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. 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 soldier’s morale is employed to change the result of a major battle.
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. 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». Handscroll detail of a Chinese percussionist playing a drum for a dancing woman, from a 12th-century remake of Gu Hongzhong’s 10th-century originals, Song dynasty. The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States.