Drums Information

The drum is a member of the percussion group of music instruments, technically classified as the membranous. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a drumstick, to produce sound. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the "Thumb roll". Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Most drums are considered "untuned instruments", however many modern musicians are beginning to tune drums to songs; Terry Bozzio has constructed a kit using diatonic and chromatically tuned drums. A few types of drums such as timpani are always tuned to a certain pitch. Often, several drums are arranged together to create a drum kit.

The shell almost invariably has a circular opening over which the drumhead is stretched, but the shape of the remainder of the shell varies widely. In the western musical tradition, the most usual shape is a cylinder, although timpani, for example, use bowl-shaped shells. Other shapes include a frame design , truncated cones , goblet shaped , and joined truncated cones .

Drums with cylindrical shells can be open at one end , or can have two drum heads. Single-headed drums normally consist of a skin which is stretched over an enclosed space, or over one of the ends of a hollow vessel. Drums with two heads covering both ends of a cylindrical shell often have a small hole somewhat halfway between the two heads; the shell forms a resonating chamber for the resulting sound. Exceptions include the African slit drum, also known as a log drum as it is made from a hollowed-out tree trunk, and the Caribbean steel drum, made from a metal barrel. Drums with two heads can also have a set of wires, called snares, held across the bottom head, top head, or both heads, hence the name snare drum.

Wikipedia, Drums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drums (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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