General information and resources for students and adult learners.

Kinds of drums


Snare Drum /Side Drum
The snare drum was orignally used ti give signals on a battlefield. It has two heads or skins, one at each end of the drum. These are made of animal skin or plastic. Metal wires called snares rest against the lower head. They rattle when the drum is struck.
The snare drum is sometimes called the side drum because in marching bands players carry it at their side. It was developed in the 16th century and is still carried the same way on a sling that hold it on the players's left side. just below the waist. Both hands are left free to hold a pair of sticksand the side drummers play using both sticks together.
In the orchestra and as part of the modern rock drum kit, the side drum is held on a stand at waist height in front of the player.

Tom-toms
Tom- toms were first played in the Caribbean hundreds of years ago. European visitors gave them the name tom-tom, after the sound they made.
Tom-toms are part of the drum kit and they are played with hard wooden sticks which produce a powerful sound. There are always at least three tom-toms in a drum kit. The two smallest tom-toms share a stand with the bass drum. Sometimes tom-toms are played in orchestra too.

Bass drum
The bass drum is the deepest sounding member of the percussion section of the orchestra. The modern bass drum is up to 100 cm in diameter and has a calfskin or plastic head on each side.

The note a bass drum plays is altered by the tension of the head. The tone of the drum is altered by the kind of beater the player uses. The soft beater produces a dull, deep note, a hearder one makes a louder sound.
  • In the orchestra, the bass drum is usually hung on a large stand, which allows it to be moved easily and to be swivelled into the best position for playing. It stands at the back to stop it drowning out the other instruments. The drum is so large that drummer must stand to play it.
  • In jazz and rock drum sets, the bass drum is mounted on the floor and the bass drum is not played by hand, instead the drummer uses player uses a foot pedal to operate the beater. The bass drum is the biggest drum in the drum kit and has the deepest tone and it rests on its side.

Around the drum kit
Modern drum kits include several types of drum, so that the drummer can produce different sound.
The basic drum kit is referred to as the five piece kit. There are actually more than five pieces, the five refers just to the number of shells. The drum kit includes the following:
  • Snare drum
  • Floor toms
  • Bass drum
  • Cymbals
  • Tom toms

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