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Drums Throughout Humanity
Author: Sandra Stammberger

From the time when man was a savage, he learnt that by hitting an object sound could be generated. Drums are among the oldest musical instruments known. They have entertained and helped people over the ages. You may ask how helped? Well, the American Indians used drums as a means for communication. So did the Africans. Today, drums are used in all kinds of music starting from classical to extreme rock. Groups like Beatles, and now Linkiní Park all use drum sets in their music. Drums are a part of the group of instruments known as percussions. Where you need to strike to create sound.

Examining the structure of the drum, we can see a membrane stretched over a shell. This is known as the drumhead. By striking the drumhead with a stick or part of a human body, sound is generated. Shapes of shell can be tubular or round. Other shapes have been used as well. In some drums, 2 membranes are used on either side of a tube with a small hole in between. The shell over which the skin or membrane is stretched, is the sound chamber. It is responsible for the noise emanating from the drum.

Musical groups today, use drum kits. These drum kits contain a base drum, cymbals, tom-toms and a snare drum on a stand. The base drum is often played with a foot pedal. Today, a wide range of accessories is available for drum sets starting out from simple cymbals to complex electronic pads. In the 1980's, people assembled huge drum sets with many accessories. Today however, the sizes of drums have been reduced.

Towards the late 1970's, Yamaha and Roland started producing electronic drum sets. These are operated by pads and are different from the normal drums. These drums were a direct effect of the development of the synthesizers.

Drums have been used not only for music but also for communication purposes in the passed. The Africans used this instrument to send out messages between villages or call the people to a war. These African drums were hollowed out trees that had a great power to cover distances.

While buying a drum, one has to be careful to make a right choice. The material of the membrane has to be selected carefully and the service and repair for the instrument has to be assured. When you purchase a drum set, you don't buy it for a few years. This is a long term investment and care is needed.

Drums are not only used in music and communication but also in the army and in schools. They are used to lead the cheer leading team and for marching during solemn occasions. In the army, the troops are thought to obey the signals given by drums.

Over all, drums have played a key and important role in our history. People have associated with this instrument from a long time, as it is one of the oldest instruments around. The drum has seen dances, blood shed and death. It has seen war and peace. Indeed, it is an instrument in its own class with its own status.

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S. Stammberger is the editor of Drums Supply. A meeting place for drum enthusiasts, including resources, shopping guide, and a lot more.

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