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The Growth of Hand Drums

Nov 16, 2007
A hand drum is a kind of drum that is played primarily with hands other than using any sticks, mallet, hammer or any type of beater. Frame drum, a shallow, cylindrical shell with a drumhead attached to one of the open ends, is one of the early forms of this kind of drums. Tabla, mridangam etc. are the Indian forms of hand drums.

The types of drums vary from place to place. Like in the Middle and near east Tar, tambourine, daf, dayereh, ghaval, tonbak etc. are found. In Africa the most common form of hand drum is djembe, single headed, large drum, which is goblet in shape. Its other African types are ashiko that is similar to djembe that comes in the shape of truncated cone. While Bougarabou drums are made with cow skin heads.

In Latin America, congas and bongos are part and parcel of every kind of Latin American music. Especially Caribbean and South American regions use congas and bongas both in folklore like punta, rumba and popular music like salsa, latin jazz and others. The conga is a tall, narrow, single headed Cuban drum that is commonly played in Congo. The person who plays a conga is called a congureo. Congas are played in five basic types of strokes namely open tone, muffled tone, bass tone, slap and touch. Bongo drums or bongos are two small drums attached to each other. They produce high pitched sounds and are played holding between the knees with the larger drum on the side. They are played by striking the drumheads with the fingers and palms.

In Far East and India tabla, mridangam are an integral part of music. Not to mention ghatams and kanjiras equally accompany the mridangam in Classical karnatatic music. The term tabla is originated from an Arabic word which means drum. The majority of the tabla performers were Muslims, whose habitat was either near or at the center of Mughal cultural centers like Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Hyderbad and Lahore. Initially vocalists and instrumentalists accompanied tabla players. But gradually they developed a tradition of solo performances.

In Europe the Irish Bodhran sometimes is played with the bare hand. A goat skin head is attached to one side, though now a days new materials like synthetic heads or kangaroo skin, are sometimes used. The other side is open ended, so that the hands could be placed in the drumhead in perfect manner to control the pitch and timber. If we peep in history, we will find that the bodhran was used during the Irish rebellion of 1603 as a war drum or battle drum. The drum is usually played in a seated position, held vertically on the players' thigh and is supported by the upper body and arm.

The hang is the modern kind of hand drum that is played with fingers. The hang is played resting on a player's lap or sometimes on a stand. It was the result of many years of research and study of the wide variety of instruments across the world like gongs, gamelan, ghatam, drums, bells etc.

The world of hand drums is really very rhythmic and melodious. With the passage of time the evolution of hand drum seems to bring a sweet note on the technology driven life.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, and synthesizers. You can find the best marketplace for guitars, drums, and synthesizers at these 3 sites: guitars, bass guitar gears , drums, hand drum , and synthesizers, keyboards.
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