Instrumental History of the Drums
The first instrumental drum was called a timpani or kettledrums. This drums
origin is of Eastern origin. Small kettledrums were introduced into Europe as
early as the 13th century.
The European kettledrum , which is used in American orchestras also, derives its
special sound from the size and shape and diameter of its bowl. This bowl is
usually made of copper or fiberglass.
Another primary drum is the snare drum. It was developed drom double-skinned
drum of medieval times known as the tabor. This drum, also called a side drum ,
has its distinctive feature several gut or wire strings that stretch across the
instruments lower skin. The upperskin is struck with a drum stick, while being
struck the strings vibrate, giving this instrument its characteristic crisp
This small medieval instrumnet gradually increased size, about the 15th century.
It was so often combined in a performance with a fife that these two instrumnets
became closely associated with one another. A fife is a small flute having from
six to eight finger holes and it also has no key, used mainly with drums in
The tenor drum is closely related to the snare drum. It is somewhat larger in
size and it has no snares across its lower skin. This drum is played with sofft
felt covered sticks and it produces a huskier sound. While it is occasionally
used in the orchestra this type of drum is found more frequently in military
The largest drum in the percussion family is the bass drum. The bass drum of the
classical era, though not equiped with snares, was infact a very deep snare drum
that was set up in a horizontal position to be played. This instrument was
eventually replaced by the bass drum that is now familiar– a large and shallow
instrument with skins on either of its two sides. It is played in rock bands
with a foot petal,that when pressed down, makes a drum stick strike the drum.
I feel that all of the drums have evolved. They are also played in a variety of
places weather it is in a school marching band or a punk rock band. I think that
in this class I will learn a lot more about the instrumental history of the drum,
than I have while writing this paper.