The Beat of a Different Drummer With 7 Types of Drums

Drums, Percussion, International Drum Month

The Beat of a Different Drummer With 7 Types of Drums
By Kym Gordon Moore

How does the beat of a drum speak to you? Drums are the most commonly recognized and used instruments in the percussion family. Drums set the tone for the soul of music styles performed for their audiences. Literally, we tend to use any surface to drum on, but the true essence of the heartbeat of the drum is manipulated by the drummer and the type of drums they play. Before the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) moved and relaunched International Drum Month to May in 2014, it was originally celebrated during the month of November.

Different cultures bring diverse beats to a variety of drums, at different times. They set the mood for the type of celebration, ritual, entertainment, military action or communication they coerce, through the use of specially designed sticks, mallets or their hands. Tension of the skins stretched over drums are fastened by ropes or chords, and help to deliver varying sounds for performances.

Due to the weight of certain types of drums, they are either suspended from ropes or placed on specially designed pedestals. The type of clothing players wear, gives them the ability to perform with synchronous movements and showmanship.

1. Timpani or kettledrums are typically used in orchestras, bands and other musical ensembles. They are designed in the shape of a bowl, has the sound of thunder and is believed to have Arabic origins.

2. Taiko (big, fat drums) are Japanese percussion instruments that use thicker drum sticks called Bachi sticks. Many types of Taiko can weigh as much as three tons.

3. Bongos are Afro-Cuban drums. They are a pair of small open-bottomed, lightweight drums of various sizes.

4. Djembe or goblet drums are originally from West Africa and are played with the bare hands. They can weigh as much as twenty-nine pounds.

5. Pahu, found in Polynesia are considered sacred instruments. They are carved from a single log and stretched with shark skin on the playing end. These drums are played with the fingers or bare hands. Their sounds are familiar in the musical accompaniment of traditional Hawaiian dance.

6. Steelpan drums originate from Trinidad and Tobago, and are made from fifty-five gallon drums. These drums do not contain a membrane stretched over the surface like many other drums

7. Marching Percussion include snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums that have a smooth white PET film head. These instruments are commonly seen in marching bands.

The smaller the drum, the higher the pitch. Drums with larger heads have a deeper sound. The drumlines of marching bands, orchestras or other performance ensembles execute precision and theatrics with every beat of the drum. The percussionist has a seductive way of connecting their sound to the audience’s spirit.

Kym Gordon Moore, author of “Diversities of Gifts: Same Spirit” and “Wings of the Wind: A Cornucopia of Poetry” is an award winning poet, author, speaker, philanthropist, certified email marketing specialist and an authority in strategic marketing communications. She is the Founder of Poets for Hunger, co-founder of Favorite Things for a CAUSE and was selected as a World Book Night Volunteer Book Giver for three consecutive years.

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