History of Drums

Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

The history of drums are as old as mankind. A drum is called a membranophone, or an instrument that creates sound by striking a stretched membrane with some type of object, usually a rounded stick. Drums consist of a hollowed-out piece(called the body), a membrane stretched over the end of the drum, and tuning keys or pegs which tighten or loosen the membrane to achieve different tones. While most may think that the body of the drum produces the sound, it is in fact actually the membrane and its vibration that creates the sound when struck.

Drums first appeared as far back as 6000 BC. Mesopotamian excavations unearthed small cylindrical drums dated 3000 BC. Several wall markings found in caves in Peru show drums used in various aspects of societal life. The American Indians used gourd and wooden constructed drums for their rituals and ceremonies. Drums have always been used for more than merely creating music. Civil uses, messaging, and religious uses are but a few.

History of the origin of the drum kit

Drum kits, a grouping of various toned drums, originated in marching bands and parade bands in New Orleans. It was found that one drummer could play more than one drum simultaneously. This is known as double drumming. Cymbals and Tom Toms, which were invented in China, were added to drum kits. Percussion additives such as cowbells, wooden blocks, and chimes were incorporated as well. By the 1930's the standard drum kit had taken shape. The Kit consisted of a bass drum and foot pedal, snare, tom toms, hi-hat cymbal, and large hanging cymbals.

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 the 1960's rock drummers began the expansion of drum kits that are the norm today. More toms and cymbals, as well as the addition of another bass drum to increase speed were added. Electronic drums were also developed to create sounds that traditional drums were unable to produce. These brought about the synthesized drum sounds used in many modern styles of music.

The history of the modern drum kit

The modern rock drum set-up in rock is called a “kit” which can come in many different and highly personalized configurations.

A typical kit is centered on the snare drum on which the player plays in time with the music. It has wires running across the skin stretched across the bottom of the drum, giving it a sharp sound that cuts through most other instrumentation. The snare is used in conjunction with the bass (or kick) drum, which sits on its side and is played with a food pedal.

The bass drum sits its side on the floor and is played with a foot pedal.

Kits will usually have one or more tom-toms of different diameters and depths, which are used to provide additional sounds. Mounted toms sit atop the bass drum or on special stands. Floor toms have their own legs and stand on the floor.

Drummers will use a variety of cymbals. Crash and ride cymbals of various sizes, weights and materials are suspended from stands so they may ring freely. Hi-hats (which first appeared in about 1926) consist of two cymbals sitting on top of each other and are used along with the snare and the bass drum to provide the foundation of the beat. Hi-hats sit in a special stand with a foot pedal that allows the drummer to separate and clash them together for rhythmic effect. Drums can be made from wood, metal and various synthetic materials such as fibreglass and acrylic in a variety of sizes and weights. Each material and size comes with its own sonic properties. The sound of a drum can also be influenced by the thickness and material of the head. Tightening the head (i.e. increasing the tension) will produce a higher pitch. Tom-toms with heads on the underside can be tuned to create an even wider variety of sounds and tones. Other determining factors in the sound of its drum are the thickness, length and diameter of the shell.

Timeline of Drums

5500 BC
Drums in ancient culture
Drums have been found in China which date back to ancient times. The drums were often used in religious rituals or ceremonies.

1100 BC
The cymbals
Cymbals are typically made of metal and used to make a dinging or tinkling sound. They were originally made in ancient Turkey or China, but were also used in Israel and Egypt.

The drums of war(684 - BC)
Drums have been used to set a marching beat for soldiers, as well as to motivate soldiers, for thousands of years. A battle between Qi and Lu in ancient times was noted to have a significantly changed outcome because of the use of drums.

500 BC
Drums as signals
Sri Lankan history shows that drums were once used as a form of communication between cities or tribes. The pattern or tone of a drum beat might mean a variety of messages.

The snare drum(1300 AD)
For many years there were a variety of drums made out of whatever materials the builder could find. The first modern snare drum was created in medieval Europe.

The drum stick
There is little evidence of man using drum sticks from the ancient days; however, it is likely they were used. Some of the earliest known drum sticks were from the 1300's, used to beat snare drums called Tabors, and they were made from wood.

The Timpani
The timpani drums are a group of drums that each have a different pitch. They were brought to Europe sometime during the 1400's, but weren't used widely until the 1600's.

The Bass drum
Another modern drum is the bass drum. Bigger than the snare drum, it was brought into Europe during the 1400's, and is sometimes called the Turkish drum.

Drum sticks evolve
Over time, different woods were used for different drums. Beef wood was popular in the 1700's, and throughout the 1800's a popular choice for military drums was ebony.

The bongos
Drums remained mostly unchanged for many years, but new drums were found when modern people began exploring more and more of Africa and Cuba. The bongo drums are traced to these cultures, and are always a set of twin drums.

The drum set
Today a popular item is the drum set. People can now purchase sets of drum, and the first kit began selling in the early 1900's.

Drum sticks evolve
Musicians often complained that the tips of their drum sticks wore down. A man named Joe Calato invented a drum stick with a nylon tip to help prolong the life of a drum stick, and the idea was a success.

Modern drum sets
As individualism took hold of America and the world, drums sets became even more popular. The modern drum set emerged with more cymbals, and bass drums.

The first electric drums
A man named Karl Bartos invented a new type of drum—the electric drums. His invention did not produce a quality sound at the time, but it was an idea that would grow and take hold of musicians in the future.

Modern electric drums(1997 and beyond)
The electric drum has continued to evolve over the years. Major electronic brands such as Yamaha jumped on board with electric drums, and Roland introduced its now-famous TD-10 model in 1997.

Virtual Drums
Play for free on virtual musical instruments, virtual drum kit, drum machine, drum toys for children on the Internet using the keyboard and mouse.

Source: Virtual musical instruments

Date: 2017-12-12 | Views: 13615