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Native American Hand Drums For Rustic Home Decorating

Aug 18, 2007
Native American hand drums are among the most famous cultural icons in the world. For centuries Native people relied on their belief in the special power of drums for the most important things in life. Hand drums have always been the most prized possession and Native instruments of choice in the areas of Native American spirituality and physical healing. Native hand drums can be very personal and carry deep trust by those charged with the responsibility of Native American healing ceremonies.

Just as each tribe is different, the Native American drums of each vary accordingly. In some tribes, hand drums are used only in secret ceremonies whereas in others, Indian hand drums are the focal point of the public ceremony. In both cases and in every aspect in between, the drum plays a key role. Hand drums are also used in sweat lodges as well as in dancing and personal meditation.

Indian American hand drums are probably most commonly called hoop drums because of their construction. Unlike pow wow drums or trunk drums made from hollowed tree trunks, Indian hand drums are made with a light weight ring of wood. In modern times man-made products have replaced the traditional materials but the most authentic hand drums are still made with wood and rawhide.

To create a traditional all natural hand drum like those used throughout Native American history, it is a bent wood ring that forms the drum circle. In native culture there were no frame drums cut with power saws or laminated wooden hoops. Authentic American Indian hand drums used a piece of wood cut from a downed tree trunk. The tree trunk for making a hand drum was carefully chosen for long straight grain and the absence of knots. When cut properly, the long thin strip of wood maybe two to six feet in length, depending on the size hand drum desired, curled to form a ring.

Once the drum ring was properly bent it was held with one end overlapping the other and secured in place with a piece rawhide lace. Allowed to dry slowly in the open air, the remaining moisture in the drum hoop would evaporate allowing the ring to shrink to the final size. Native hand drums are covered on either one side or both sides with stretched animal skin. Depending on the Indian tribe and their geographical location various woods and hides were used. The most common materials were pine, and goat skin. Goatskin rawhide was always the preferred skin because of it special stretching and sound quality. In modern days drum makers offer a variety of more exotic hides but in Native history it was the thin hide of goats that was the most desired. Thicker hides didn't perform as well because they didn't stretch as well and the sound was dull in sound quality. In contrast, a properly stretched goat skin rawhide hand drum can deliver powerful sound that can be heard on the wind for miles.

Hand drums also make outstanding Indian art for rustic decorating. Hanging on the wall in a cabin or rustic room or being used in a drumming circle, Native drums add a rich quality of life. If you are interested in authenticity and traditional values in drum making and drumming music or cultural decorations, you will enjoy owning and displaying genuine Native American hand drums in your rustic home decorating.
About the Author
Craig Chambers is an expert on Native drums and drumming. Extensive information on Native American hand drums is available at www.nativeamericandrums.net
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