Showing posts with label Percussion Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Percussion Instruments. Show all posts

Saturday, May 12, 2018

DRUMS - Perhaps the Oldest of Musical Instruments

Some ethnic percussion instruments Français : ...
Some ethnic percussion instruments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The drum is perhaps the oldest of musical instruments, dating back thousands of years. Most civilizations, ancient and otherwise, have developed their own unique variations on the basic drum design. Over the centuries, these instruments have been used to create distinct, indigenous musical styles for nearly every region of the planet.

As drums and other percussion instruments developed, many of them became specific to certain functions. The snare drum, for instance, became popular through its military functions. These drums were often used for communicating on the battlefield, as well as for more formal military ceremonies.
Gradually, as this drum type became more popular, it was incorporated into the symphonic works of many of the 18th and 19th century's most important composers.

Other percussion instruments, such as the bass drum, various hand drums, and cymbals continued to develop along their own unique lines. Cymbals, originally an Eastern invention, began being manufactured for a number of sonic effects. African and Indonesian hand drums of all shapes and sizes began making appearances in European music during the "exoticism" movement of the late 19th century.

With the dawning of the 20th century, a new musical movement was beginning in the port city of New Orleans, Louisiana. A combination of African and European musical traditions, with a heavy emphasis on improvisation, jazz had become the first authentically American art form. Because rhythm and syncopation were integral to the music, the drummer was the heart of a jazz ensemble.

Most venues for jazz music, in the beginning, were small clubs that had limited stage space. A drummer was therefore forced into a small dilemma; what to bring and where to put it. This was the beginning of what we consider modern drum sets.

Drum sets were essentially an assortment of commonly used drums and other percussion instruments that could be set up in a way that took up a minimal amount of space. A standard trap kit usually consisted of a kick drum (originally a marching bass drum was used), snare drum, high-hats (two small cymbals that are hit against one another using a foot pedal), and a ride/crash cymbal. Despite improvements in drum technology, modern drum kits are still based on this standard design.

Since the introduction of jazz, popular music has continually required the use of a drum set. Within American and European pop music the instrument has become ubiquitous. Over the last century, the drum kit has also become a popular instrument in many other parts of the world as well. Because of the nature of the instrument, drum sets are one of the most versatile instruments in the world; an attribute that will help ensure that it has a long musical life ahead of it.

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for Web sites on gardening, parenting, and home decor. Her background also includes teaching, recreation, and fashion. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Types of DRUMS

The talking drum is an instrument unique to th...
The talking drum is an instrument unique to the West African region. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drums are percussive instruments built by stretching a membrane across an opening in a vessel. The most common property of various types of drums is their pitch. Drums are one of the oldest and the most omnipresent instruments. Even with the various types of drums present, the most common aspect is the origin of a sound. The sound in a drum originates from the vibration caused when you strike the membrane, called the head, with another object. Drumheads can be made from the skin of a goat, cow, antelope, or sheep, or even a synthetic material. The types of drums that exist vary as markedly as the people who use them for communication, ritual, or entertainment all over the world.

The common way of classifying drums into different types of drums is by their shape. Most drums fall into the following categories:
  • cylindrical, barrel, conga, waisted, goblet, or bowl.
A frame drum, with its squat hoop, and a long drum, which is thin and tall, are both the cylindrical variety. A barrel such as a Tabla, goblet such as a Djembe, and bowl such as a Nakari, are named for their shapes so they are easily recognized. The conga tapers at its bottom, and the waisted drum tapers in the middle, as with a Changko's cinched waist.

A further classification of the types of a drum is made on the basis of which side the drum might have a head. A drum may have a head at either end of the body or only on one. Drums like congas and bowls have one head, but frame drums have two. Some drums can be carried while walking or dancing while some drums are stationary, such as the Djembe from Mali.

Besides the categorization of various drums into types of drums, one should be aware that not all drums are specifically tuned. The drums develop their tone due to body shape or head size. Pulling a cord or shifting a peg to stretch the head can adjust the pitch of a drum.

The bendir, a frame drum from North Africa
The bendir, a frame drum from North Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The western world of rock music listeners is more familiar with non-pitched drums, such as a bass or snare drum in a drum set. These can be used in combination with any harmony or key.

We can also differentiate drums in a drum kit as types of drum. A drum kit consists of a collection of various types of drums and cymbals. It can also be accompanied by various percussion instruments such as cowbell, wood block, chimes or tambourines arranged in a suitable manner for the convenience of the drummer.

Differing music styles implement the components of a drum kit in different manners. Ride cymbals and hi-hats are usually preferred more in a jazz set-up, whereas a bass drum and snare drum is preferred more for rock music.

With the onset of technology another type of drum that gained popularity is the electronic drum kit. It was in 1980 that electronic drums were introduced. Today they can be easily used as an easy replacement for other various types of drums in acoustic settings.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

ELECTRONIC DRUM KITS Signify Modernization Of Music-Making

Electronic Drum Set
Electronic Drum Set (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drum kits have evolved significantly in recent decades from the classic bass-snare-cymbal combination into electronic devices that have essentially changed the way music is made. Electronic drum kits were first introduced in the early 1970’s as an innovative piece of equipment used to produce drum sounds electronically rather than acoustically. This occurs by hitting a trigger pad on the drum kit. The sounds are translated into digital waveforms from the electronic drum module and this, in turn, produces the desired percussion sound.

Beginning in the 1980’s, electronic drum kits began to see a wider fan base and it was becoming common to see bands incorporate them with acoustic drum sets. At the point of their first introduction in the 1970’s, and even into the early 1980’s, it was uncommon to see electronic drum kits used by themselves because they had not been perfected yet.

Bill Bruford of the band King Crimson was one of the first to introduce the electronic drum kit into his set. In fact, his usage of the drum kit almost completely abolished his need for acoustic drums because of the quality of his sound.

In the late 1980’s, electronic drum kits finally arrived at a near perfect image with a near perfect sound. Popular electronic drummer Akiro Kimbo uses the electronic drum kit in interesting and innovative ways, delighting and entertaining music fans all across the world. Music equipment companies such as Yamaha began manufacturing electronic drum pads that were mounted on acoustic drum kits to produce a synthesized sound. This new sound was able to maintain the original acoustic sound with an electronic twist that many considered to be an innovative addition to the world of music.

Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s premier drummer, is proof of the quality and success of electronic drum kits. After Allen lost his arm in a car accident, he had a special electronic drum kit made so that he was still able to play. Later on, he had a second kit made that would play back pre-recorded components of his acoustic drum kit whenever he struck a pad. Thus, while being new and original, the sound produced by Allen’s kit still maintained its classic acoustic sound.

Electronic drum kits have not witnessed universal success and usage. However, they were created to produce a ground-breaking sound above and beyond the capabilities of the classic drum kit. Although the preference of the majority of rock bands today is still the classic kit, the electronic drum kit has broken down the old-school barriers and have appealed to those wanting to add some creativity and vision to the world of music.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Percussion instruments3
Percussion instruments3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anthropologists and historians repeatedly speculate that percussion instruments were the first musical apparatus ever came into being. But with the utmost certainty, the human voice was the first musical instrument, and surely, percussion tools such as feet, hands, rocks, sticks, and logs came in second to the on-going evolution of music. When humans developed tools for hunting and agriculture, their knowledge alongside with skill, enabled them to produce more complex tools. They use slit drum, made from a hollowed-out tree trunk. For instance, a simple log may have been shaped to generate louder tones (log drum) and may have been pooled to create numerous tones (set of log drums).

As time moved on, so is the evolution of percussion instruments. In the early 10th century, it was known that most tribes in Africa use sorts of percussions such as djembe, macaras used in Latin America, karimbas in Asia and seed rattles in Australia for their recreational and worship rituals and sometimes used in sending signals.

Percussion instruments that are displayed in orchestra first came from Asia Minor. In the 15th century, people began migrating east and brought with them numerous instruments. Our percussion instruments got their initial stages there when the Crusades took back the drums that they found in the Middle East. From then on, an evolution of percussion and drums kicked up a notch and assortments of percussion instruments came into being.

Percussion is categorized by a variety of criteria at times depending on their cultural origin, construction and function within the musical orchestration. It is generally referred as ?the heartbeat? of a musical ensemble, often functioning close collaboration with bass instruments if present.

Drums and percussions, as well as bass, are known as the rhythm section of the most popular music genres. Most classical pieces written for an orchestra since the time of Mozart and Haydn are schemed to put emphasis on strings, brass, and woodwinds. However, time and again they include a pair of timpani (kettle drums) although not played continuously. But moderately, they serve to offer additional accents when needed.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, more percussion instruments (like the cymbals or triangles) came to being and frequently, again moderately and cautiously played in general. The massive uses of percussion instruments become more recurrent in the 20th century, on classical music.

In almost all types of music, percussion plays a fundamental role. In a military parade, it is the strike of the bass drum that holds the soldiers' instep and at a normal speed, and it is the snare that endows that crisp, vital air to the tune of a troop. In traditional jazz, one almost instantly thinks of the distinguishing rhythm of the hi-hats or the ride cymbal when the word "swing" is uttered. In more current popular music genres, it is almost impossible to name at least three or four rock, hip-hop, rap, funk, punk, techno, grunge, alternative and blues songs that don?t have some kind of percussive beat maintaining the tune in time.

Because of the mixture and wide assortments of percussive instruments, it is not unusual to find large musical gathering composed wholly of percussion. Rhythm, harmony, and melody are all evident and alive in these musical factions, and in live performances, they are quite a spectacle to see.

Friday, January 5, 2018

DRUM Tips - Why didn't you get the Gig?

bubenník (ilustrácia)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you been auditioning for different bands and not getting the gig?  Musicians are very critical of the other musicians they play with, although they will probably not be brutally honest about what they see and hear.  We don’t want to hurt your feelings so we say something nice and then never call you again.  I have auditioned many, many musicians who never got a call back.  Here are some the most important aspects of an audition - mistakes musicians have made when auditioning for one of my bands: 

1)  Skill - can you keep up?

I have auditioned many guys thought they could play but couldn’t keep proper time or didn’t know what chord changes were going on, got lost in every song – just couldn’t keep up musically.

2)  Listening – are you paying attention?

I have played with a few really skilled musicians who paid absolutely no attention to what was going on around them. It was like they had spent years practicing by themselves in their bedroom. They could play amazing things but what they played made no sense in the context of the band.  The notes you play should complement what everybody else is doing and the song should work as a whole.

3)  Personality – are you a nice person?

This is a big deal – I have played some shows with great players who live their life a sentence or two from a punch in the face.  Remember when you were a kid and folks told you “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I have met many great musicians who desperately need to revisit that concept.  They were so full of negativity that it was really hard to be in the same room with them for very long.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DRUM Tips - Dealing with BASS DRUM "Creep"

A Yamaha bass drum pedal on a Tama drum set.
A Yamaha bass drum pedal on a Tama drum set. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bass drum creep does NOT refer to the scary guy with the bass drum, it's the term used to describe the frustrating situation when your kick drum starts sliding further and further away from you with each stroke of your bass drum pedal.

Setting up your kit on a good thick rug or a carpet that the spikes at the end of your bass drum legs can sink their teeth into will generally help keep bass drum creep at bay. (If your bass drum legs don't have spikes, replace them with ones that do. Any decent drum shop will carry replacement bass drum legs at a reasonable price.)

Make sure your carpet is large enough to fit your whole kit, including your throne. The weight of your body on the throne will help keep the bass drum from sliding away with the whole carpet.
Adjust the bass drum legs so that the front of the drum is an inch or two off the ground and the drum is resting at a slight angle. This shifts more of the weight of the drums onto the legs themselves and helps the spikes dig in more effectively, which should put an end to most bass drum creep problems.

Sometimes, especially for those of us kicking the drum pretty hard in loud situations, setting up on a carpet is just not enough!

Here is an additional little trick that will END bass drum creep problems.

Take a three foot long 2"x4" piece of wood. I have some nice fabric glued around it to make it look pretty, provide some protection to the drums, and prevent splinters. Now mark your carpet where you want the front of your bass drum to sit. Drill three quarter inch diameter holes through the wood - one hole in the middle and one near each end.

Using some nice, big, 2 inch washers and 1/4 inch thick bolts - actually bolt the wood to your carpet at the front edge of your bass drum. Make sure to put the flattest part of the bolt on the underside of the carpet so that your carpet still lays pretty flat.  I also like to put a layer or two of gaffer's tape over the end of the bolt so that it does not scratch up any nice wooden floors that happen to be underneath the carpet.

Now when you set up just slide the front of the bass drum right up against the piece of wood you have bolted to the carpet, and it will not slide any further!

It works best if you get the wood wide enough that the legs themselves actually bump up against the wood block although it will work fine with the rim of the drum against the wood block - just be sure to cover the wood with foam or thick fabric to prevent the wood from damaging the rim and lugs of your drum!

Let me know how well it works for you.

Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Pick Out Snare DRUM STICKS

English: A snare drum. Español: una caja orque...
A snare drum.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Snare drum sticks are the objects that drummers hold and use to play the drums. Since there are different kinds of drums and styles of music, the sticks that drummers use to create their music can have a direct impact on the way they sound. As a result, it is important that drummers know the anatomy of a drumstick as well as how the characteristics of a drumstick can influence their sound.

Drumsticks can be made of many different types of materials but are usually made of wood. Common wood choices include hickory, oak, and hard maple. Each type of wood obtains unique characteristics that may make it more suitable in some musical situations than in others. Therefore, choosing the right wood for a performance is one key element to every drummer's unique tone.

Hickory tends to be the most popular wood used in drumsticks. It is denser, heavier and more rigid than the most types of wood allowing it to absorb a great amount of shock which helps reduce wrist and hand fatigue. Maple wood which is less dense and much lighter than hickory wood so it helps give the feel of a big stick without the extra weight of the hickory. Lastly, oak wood is very heavy and non-flexible causing the drumsticks made of oak to be some of the heaviest, hardest, and most durable drumsticks.

While the three types of wood mentioned above are the most common materials used to make drumsticks, other woods such as beech, hornbeam, lancewood, and massaranduba are also sources of snare drum sticks. It's important to note that sticks can also be made out of other materials including aluminum, plastic, and graphite, however, these are much rarer.

A snare drumstick has 4 basic parts but there will be 6 parts discussed in this article. First is the tip which is also known as the bead. It is located at the end part in which the head is being struck. It can be oval, round, acorn, or barrel-shaped. The shape of the bead can influence the way the stick rebounds off of the drum head after a stroke and is one of the most important aspects of a drumstick. Next is the neck of the drumstick. It is the small part of a snare drum stick that connects the tip to the shoulder. It is the thinnest part with the exception of some specialty drumsticks. The shoulder is the part where the stick starts to taper or slope into the neck. The closer the shoulder is to the tip, the less bounce and response you will get. The taper is used to identify the shape and the length of the drumstick shoulder. The shaft or the body is the biggest part of the stick which is used to hold and sometimes to produce specialty strokes. Lastly, the butt is the opposite of the tip which is the thicker, counterbalance end of the stick. Though it is not specifically designed as the part to play, some drummers flip the sticks to use butts for effects.

When picking out your first pair of snare drum sticks, be sure to consider the factors mentioned in this article. Determine what type of music you will be playing and decide what type of material will best fit that style of music. Next, determine what type of tip you want as well as what size drumstick best fits your hand. If you can feel confident making these decisions, you will have an easy time finding the perfect pair of sticks for your drumming experience!

    By Richard J. Klein
    Richard J. Klein is a passionate drummer and drum teacher who loves sharing his knowledge with people all around the world.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Different Types of METRONOMES

English: spring driven pendulum metronome Ital...
Spring driven pendulum metronome
(Photo credit: 
Metronomes are musical devices that produce regulated aural, visual or tactile sound beats or ticks. Popular among music composers, the use of metronomes enables them to get a consistent tempo for their musical compositions. They are very helpful to subdivide sound notes to create distinctive and unique musical sounds. They also give a musician the option to make musical time signatures as well. Because of their simplicity and accuracy, metronomes are much in demand among music composers today.

Metronomes can be broadly classified into three types and they are as follows:

Mechanical Metronomes: They are the most common types of metronomes that are available. This device comprises of an inverted pendulum rod that has an adjustable weight attached to its end. When the weight is slid up the pendulum the tempo increases and when it is slid down the tempo decreases. A second pendulum is hidden in the case of the metronome and this helps the production of a clicking sound with each oscillation. Mechanical metronomes are also commonly known as double weighted pendulums.

Electronic Metronomes: These metronomes are modern and upgraded versions and they use a quartz crystal that is very similar to that used in wristwatches. The simple metronomes that are available in the market have buttons that can be pressed in order to produce the tuning notes. The sophisticated metronomes are advanced and they can produce two or three distinctive sounds. The tones and the pitch differ and hence diverse beats can be composed. The electronic musical keyboards that are available in the market have built-in metronomes in them for the purpose of producing signature sounds and beats.

Software Metronomes or Online Metronomes: With the advancement in technology software metronomes have entered the market and they produce multi-track audio sounds. They help in creating stand-alone music signatures and create enhanced music sequencing. They are very popular as film scoring applications in recording studios and they are of immense benefit in synchronizing musicians to the sound beats. These metronomes are the most used ones today and they can be easily downloaded online.

An online metronome is a quick and easy music tool that is very popular for practicing music. It is a type of software metronome that musicians can access online. They help in tempo selections and in creating music rhythm with ease. This device helps musicians to produce accurate pulses and beats. They help in understanding the time signatures of the music and help the musicians to play accurately in accordance with the notes. These online metronomes are easily available on the net and they can be used for music tuning and compositions. They are of extreme benefit to those who need to make signature music with the diversity of unique sounds and beats.

In conclusion, it can be said that metronomes have a vital role to play behind the successes of signature music beats. Musicians rely and depend on them for the composition of original and unique music scores as they provide accurate and synchronized pulse beats with ease.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Famous DRUMMERS - Bill Ward

Bill Ward, born in 1948 in Aston, Birmingham, England, is the drummer and one of the founding members of the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. His drumming is best characterized by rapid drum rolls in between guitar riffs.

Bill Ward's interest in music began as early as age 5 when he first played drums. At age 15, Bill was already playing gigs. His most influential drummers include Larrie London, Louie Bellson, Bernard Purdie, and Joe Morello. Prior to Black Sabbath, Ward became a member of the bands The Rest, Method 5, and Mythology, from 1963 to 1968. After the breakup of their previous band Mythology, Ward and guitarist Tony Iommi joined vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler and formed a group that worked under the names The Polka Tulk Blues Company, Earth, and finally, 

Bill Ward.jpg
Photo: Wikipedia
Black Sabbath. Ward was the drummer on all released albums from 1969 to 1980, including the quadruple-platinum album Paranoid in the 1970s. August 1980 saw his temporary absence from the band for personal reasons after the release of Heaven and Hell. He was then unable to participate in the recording of 1981s Mob Rules. In January 1983, Ward returned in time for 1983s Born Again, however, due to problems with his health, he once again left the band following the album's recording. He was out for about a year, returned once more in summer of 1984, and stayed with the band until September 1985. From then until 1994, several drummers took his place in the band, namely, Eric Singer, Bev Bevan, Terry Chimes, Cozy Powell, Vinny Appice, and Bobby Rondinelli. Ward made a short-lived return to the band in August 1994 for a South American tour, where he played for 3 dates.

Ward released two albums, Ward One: Along the Way in 1989 and When the Bough Breaks (Preview Release) in 1997, under his solo project, The Bill Ward Band, before finally reuniting with Black Sabbath. Before this reunion, however, Ward and the original Black Sabbath already did short sets for Live Aid in 1985, and at a Costa Mesa, California Ozzy Osbourne show in November 1992. For the full-blown reunion, the band did two shows at the Birmingham NEC on December 4th and 5th 1997, which gave them an opportunity to release a double live album, aptly titled Reunion, in October 1998. It was the single Iron Man from this album that gave Ward and the band their first-ever Grammy award for Best Metal Performance.

In the summer of 1998, just before the band's European tour, Bill Ward suffered a heart attack while in rehearsals, which led to his temporary replacement by Vinny Appice. Fortunately, Ward had a speedy recovery and was well enough to return, this time for good, in January 1999, during which the band headlined in the annual Ozzfest tour through summer of that year. After this tour, the band members each worked on solo material, and Ward also found time to work on Tony Iommi's solo album, Iommi, in 2000.

Ward was initially reported to participate in a tour with Iommi, Butler, and vocalist Ronnie James Dio in October 2006 under the name Heaven and Hell, however, he dropped out before the tour began, and was replaced once again by Appice.

Bill Ward married four times and is blessed with two sons, Nigel and Aron, and one daughter, Emily. He has a regular radio show, Rock 50, an internet-only college radio program which broadcasts from Cerritos College in California.

    Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands and musicians a rehearsal space in Long Island City, Queens, New York.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Monday, September 11, 2017

Proper Way To Care For Your DRUMS

Your drums are not just instruments that you set on a stage and play, and then take home again for practice without ever touching them for maintenance or cleaning. The truth is, if you don't want to take the time to clean them and keep them properly tuned, you are not true to your trade. Depending on the type of drums that you have, there way be variations on the maintenance that the manufacturer recommends. How you care for your set depends also on the material from which it is made.

Dave Weckl's drum kit @ Jazz Alley, Seattle, W...
Dave Weckl's drum kit @ Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA, 8th Dec. 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, if there isn't a rule regarding drum care, what do you do? As with your clothing, you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. When you buy a new outfit, you check the label for laundering instructions – or you should – and the same is true of your drum set. Cymbals for the most part can be cleaned with a window cleaner, but how you clean your drums needs to be depends upon a variety of factors including material of the skins and of the outside. Steel is not recommended, though sometimes used, and there will be a different method than other material, which is usually simply soap and water or even glass cleaner for a shine.

As a drummer, you should be proud of your skins and want to keep them clean in between performances. It doesn't take more than perhaps a half hour a day to keep your set looking in top condition, but you want to make sure that you know exactly what you need to do before you even take the set home. If you order your drum set online, be sure you read all of the instructions regarding care and maintenance before you ever set up the kit, because some kits require oiling before you ever use the drums for the first time. Failing to do that when required can result in your drums sounding out of tune or not blending in with the rest of the musical instruments in the band.

Bear in mind that your drums are a major investment, and if you want them to last you for years to come, you have to take the time to take care of them from the day you first own them. You do not simply leave them to collect dust when you are not using them nor do you only take them in for maintenance when they don't sound as good as they did when they were new. Regular cleaning and routine maintenance will be your drum kit looking and sounding new for many years to come. It is unnecessary to buy a new set every few years if you take care of what you have from the start.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

NATIVE DRUMS - How to Tune Your Native Indian Drum

Tuning Native Drums
If your drum tone sounds flat and dull then it needs tuning, before we go into the "How to Tune" part, let's discuss factors that affect rawhide. Rawhide by its nature shrinks or expands depending on certain conditions. In cold, moist and humid weather or these types of environments rawhide expands. In hot and dry weather or when exposed to a heat source rawhide shrinks.

2007 Powwow
Photo   by Smithsonian Institution
Now, armed with this knowledge about rawhide we can use it to our advantage to tune our drum to that perfect tone we want. When your drum tone is flat and dull and the rawhide appears to be loose then you need to get the rawhide to tighten. We now know that exposing our drum to a heat source shrinks the rawhide.

Warning! Over exposing your drum to heat can lead to permanent damage. Please re-read that again, because whatever heat source you use it's important to know this. So don't place your drum in front or next to a heat source and walk away and forget about it. Ok, now that we have got that out of the way let us look at some different methods we can use to heat our drum which causes the rawhide to shrink and gives us a better tune/tone from our drum.

Methods to tune your Drum
  • Hair dryer - the quickest and easiest way to tune a drum. Start in the centre of the drum and work your way towards the edges. Should only take a few minutes.
  • Heat lamp - Place the drum in front of the heat lamp, once again should only take a few minutes. Periodically play your drum to test the tone.
  • Heater or fire place- Using this method it's important not to place the drum too close to the heat. If it's too hot for your hand then you need to move the drum further away.
  • Campfire - The preferred method of Native Indians to tune their drums. Most of us have seen the image of Native Indians dancing around the fire beating on their drums. Just make sure you do not place your drum too close to the naked flames.

Each of the above methods works well, just make sure you do not over do it. By that I mean, leave the drum in front or too close to the heat source for too long. If you do, over time the rawhide will become over stretched and eventually lose its natural elastic quality.

Also, if you over do it the rawhide can shrink too much and damage the timber frame of the drum. Regardless of the method you use, test the tune of the drum as you go through the process by playing the drum until you are happy with the tone. Providing it's done correctly you can repeatedly use these methods without affecting the life span of the drum.

So far we have talked about ways to tune your drum if it sounds flat and dull. What if you have the opposite problem? On a hot dry day the drum may sound very high pitched; in this case, the best way to get the rawhide to loosen is by spraying or sprinkling small amounts of water on the rawhide.

Start from the edges of the drum and work your way to the middle. Let it rest for a few minutes then test the tone of the drum. Keep repeating until you have the desired tone. Avoid wetting the timber frame of the drum and just like the heating method don't over do it. In fact, use this method if you do over heat your drum to loosen the rawhide.

Other factors that affect the tune and tone of Native American Drums.
Besides environmental conditions, there are other factors that affect the tone and pitch of Native Indian drums. They are:
  • Size of the drum. Generally the larger the drum size, that includes the rawhide surface area, timber frame width and depth, the deeper the tone and more the tone resonates. Small drums tend to have a more sharp higher pitch. Although other factors come into effect which can affect the tune, tone and pitch, regardless of the size.
  • Rawhide thickness. In my experience rawhide thickness has the biggest effect on the tone of drums, particularly "Hoop Drums". The thicker the hide the deeper the tone and pitch. Thinner hides have a higher sharp pitch. So you can have a large drum with a thin hide which produces a high sharp pitch tune or a smaller drum with a thick hide that producers a deep long tune.

These are all important factors you need to take into consideration when selecting your drum.
Native Drums in Australia

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 3 Best DRUMMERS Ever

Drummers are a strange breed. They are the loudest instrument on a track and are notoriously difficult to get right. The drummer needs to keep the rhythm going and the other band members will be using the drummer to keep pace. All this pressure isn't for everyone and playing the drums is a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time, it is almost impossible for an untrained guy to be a good drummer. But who are the best three drummers? It is a tough decision but below are the best drummers of all time.

Mike Portnoy.jpg
Mike Portnoy“ von chascar

Mike Portnoy - Tattoos all over his arms, a beard and long hair. Mike certainly looks the part and his drummer isn't half bad either. The founder of Dream Theatre, Mike is a drummer like no other. He was born in New York and is mainly a self taught drummer. He is the youngest drummer in the drummer's hall of fame and has been the best progressive rock drummer in modern drummer magazines reader's polls an unbelievable 12 years in a row, simply phenomenal.

Benny-greb-souledge.png"Benny-greb-souledge" by VinylVictim

Benny Greb - Benny's gigs are selling outs every time. Benny doesn't look like a typical drummer. This tall, spectacle wearing, bearded bloke is another excellent drummer. Born in Germany in 1960 Benny has had a lifelong interest in all types of music but it is drumming where he excels. He was playing in his first punk band when he was just twelve and quickly became one of the best drummers in the world. Benny works extremely hard and can be found jamming with a wide variety of styles. As well as gigging Benny is an avid teacher offering his famous drum clinics to other would be drumming genius.

Jason Bittner -Jason was taught how to play the drums. Born in New York in 1970, at the age of ten Jason took drumming lessons. He was a natural and in 1988 he studied at Berklee music school. Jason has won numerous modern drummers magazine awards including up and coming drummer and best recorded performance. Jason's speed on the drums is unbelievable; sometimes it almost looks impossible the speed with which he plays complex drum patterns.

The drums are an essential instrument in any band but there is no doubt that drumming is a skill that is difficult to master. These three individuals have obviously put the hard work and practice in that is necessary to attain the levels they have reached.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Information About the MARIMBA

The Marimba has come a long way - both geographically and technically speaking. The proto-marimba has long been a part of Amazonian, West African, and Central American cultures. In our society, they are the epitome of a classy, well respected instrument usually featured in high culture circles (such as in academia and orchestras). Marimbas are one of the most beautiful sounding percussion instruments. While very long and heavy, marimbas are capable of making very low to high tones that add an ethereal quality to many music pieces.

People interested in percussion (and perhaps even piano, since the overall layout is somewhat similar) should study and master the marimba. While playing the marimba is standard on the collegiate level, not too many people play the marimba before or after college, which is a shame. Although high school students may briefly encounter the marimbas in marching bands and drum and bugle corps, it is usually an insufficient amount of time to truly appreciate the complexity and necessity of this instrument.

P1390942 Andrey Doynikov spielt Bach
Marimba - Photo   by     tottr  (cc)

The reason for the high concentration of marimba playing in college, as opposed to any other time, is that marimbas are very expensive instruments. Often running a couple thousand dollars, they are too expensive for the average person. However, many reputable music schools should have one or two of these at their disposal, and these places make for great practice areas (besides the fact that a professional will be teaching you proper technique). There are affordable ways to get behind a marimba - do it!

The marimba is composed of metal keys of varying lengths hit by soft yarn mallets to produce varying tones. Many marimba players play using two mallets, or even using two mallets in each hand (resulting in four mallets being used simultaneously). Some of the more advanced players can use even more mallets...which is truly amazing. There are many techniques to striking the marimba, so a good deal of emphasis is placed on proper mallet holding methods. Depending on your personal style/capabilities and your teacher's personal preference, you may learn the "traditional grip", the "Burton grip", or the "Stevens grip", amongst many others.

The marimba is an octave lower (an octave is equivalent to eight complete notes) than its smaller counterpart, the xylophone. The main difference between the two instruments is the resonators featured on the marimba. These resonators (usually made of a light metal such as aluminum) are of different lengths and widths to help the marimba achieve its varying sounds. For the lower sounding notes, the resonators beneath the keys sometimes have to bend so as not to go straight through the floor!

Although many people are more familiar with the xylophone, the marimba serves as a sort of backbone in orchestras, ensembles, and bands. They are currently very popular in percussion ensembles, jazz ensembles, and marimba concertos. Any musician with serious musical aspirations simply must explore this wonderful and challenging instrument.

Are you interested in all things involving music?...

    By James J. Jones
    For the best variety of sheet music, click here to find everything you are looking for!
    If you want to peruse the largest selections of musical instruments, DJ equipment, or recording devices, click here!
    (7.2017 - Links not working)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Secret History Of DRUMS: The Role Of The Military Drummer

The role of the military drummer is a fascinating chapter from the hidden history of drums.

Hidden, because most people are unaware of the vital role played by the military drummer in communicating strategy and keeping the machinery of battle oiled.

English: Grenadier drummer, 1756-1762 Русский:...
Grenadier drummer, 1756-1762
(Photo credit: 
Battle Stations

In the 17th century, in preparation for battle, before the head on clash between rival armies, considerable time was spent manoeuvering men into position.

The drums were used to convey orders - each 'beat' having a specific meaning instantly recognisable to the soldiers.

When the drummer's 'Call' was heard, the men dropped what they were doing and immediately regrouped by their lieutenant or platoon commander to await further signals.

The Captain's order to beat the 'Troop' was a signal to shoulder muskets, advance pikes and close rank and file.

The 'March' was a signal to advance, faster or slower according to the beat of the drum, to the point of rendezvous.

The 'Preparative' signaled the men to advance in rank and file to within skirmishing distance and be ready to engage battle.

At this point the company drummers would run to where the Colonel stood (or sat on horseback) beside his own side-drummer and the standard bearer.

English: Drummer of bombardier regiment, 1757-...
Drummer of bombardier regiment, 1757-1758
(Photo credit: 
Engaging The Enemy

On the Colonel's order the drummers would beat the 'Battaile' or 'Charge'.

This was described by Colonel William Barriffe to mean 'pressing forward in order of battle without lagging behind, rather boldly stepping forward in place of him that falls dead or wounded before thee...'

In the thick of battle, with the sound of cannon and musket, the neighing of horses, the screams of the dying and wounded, the Colonel's voice would not be heard and the beat of the drum continued to play a vital role in communicating orders to the troops.

From his vantage point the Colonel would command his drum-major to instigate various manoeuvers. If it was required to withdraw in an orderly fashion - for relief, or to gain a vantage point, or to lure the enemy into an ambush - the 'Retreat' would sound. The soldier, fighting for his life, was well prepared - the meaning of the different beats had been literally 'drummed' into him time and time again in training.

At the onset of battle, the roar of the assembled drummers would surely instil courage in the hearts of the men (and fear in the hearts of the enemy). Possibly, in the heat of battle, the beat of the drum, detached and ethereal, took on a spiritual quality, helping the combatants to distance themselves from the horror and suffering all around.

The drummer clearly carried a huge responsibility in the orderly conduct of war. In recognition of this it was considered highly dishonourable to knowingly strike or wound a drummer in battle.

    Charles Armstrong

    Hugh Barty-King 'The Drum - A Royal Tournament Tribute to the Military Drum' 1988
    ISBN 0 9513588 0 4