Drum Types, Drumming Styles, Definitions 

Definition of Drum: It is a percussion musical instrument, consisting of a membrane/skin called a drumhead that is stretched taut over a cylindrical tube or frame that is open at the other end. The membrane/skin is struck, either with the hand or with a drumstick/beater, and the tube or frame forms a resonating chamber for the resulting sound. The sound of a drum depends on how the drum is constructed.

Frame drums are among the oldest and most versatile of drums. Most cultures have some type of frame drum; the Egyptian Riq, the Brazilian Pandeiro, the Kanjira from south India, the middle eastern Tar and Bendir along with the Native American versions are but a few of the available frame drums. The frame drum we as Westerners may be most familiar with is the simply Tambourine, which has jingles while any of others do not. There are a variety of playing techniques both with the hands and beaters/drumsticks, based on different styles from various cultures. Generally frame drums have one side covered by a skin membrane with a shell depth less that the measure of its head diameter.
Frame Drums Types

Riq: an Egyptian tambourine, usually 6 to 8 inches in diameter, usually with five brass jingles. Traditionally outfitted with fish skin, sometimes with goat, and increasingly with plastic, they have a cutting tone, high pitch, and good projection.

Daf is a large-sized frame drum with jingles used to accompany both popular and classical music in Iran. One of the most ancient frame drums in Asia and North Africa. In Iran and Kurdistan, Sufis use Daf during their Zikr (spiritual chanting) rituals. Although the Daf is mainly used in sufi music of the Yarsanî Kurdish cult, it has recently been used in classical and folk Kurdish music, and in recent years Persian musicians have successfully integrated it into popular Persian music.

Bendir is a percussion instrument typical in Morocco and Algeria. Snares attached to the underside of the head to give it a characteristic buzz, it is played upright like the Tar. The membrane of the Bendir is made of animal skin on a frame of wood with a thumbhole in it. Three or sometimes 4 strings are attached on the back to make a resonant sound. The characteristic unique thick sound - a combination of resonance and low drum comes by the snares that make a buzz when the drum is struck.

Bodhrán (IPA or ; plural bodhráin) is an Irish frame drum ranging in anywhere from 10" to 26" in diameter, with most drums measuring from 14" to 18". The sides of the drum are 3 1/2" to 8" deep. A goat skin head is tacked to one side (although nowadays synthetic heads, or new materials like kangaroo skin, are sometimes used instead). The other side is open ended for the left hand to be placed against the inside of the drum head to control the pitch. ...

Native American frame drums are really in a separate class, these drums are played with a beater, and they are suspended to resonate freely, held from behind by leather or rope straps. They are very resonant, and can be quite loud. The sound is rich in harmonic content, and if you're interested in, say, meditating on the sheer sound, this may be a good choice. Different tribes have different traditions about the drum and how to play it, but the basic construction is very similar in most tribes: a wooden frame or a carved and hollowed-out log, with finely tanned rawhide deer or elk skin stretched taut across the opening by sinew thongs. Traditionally these drums are large, two to three feet in diameter, and played communally by groups of men who stand around them in a circle. However, there were also some tribes in which each drummer had his own instrument, and it is possible to buy a smaller hand drums for either musical or decorative purposes. This type of drum is sometimes called "tomtoms" by non-native people and contrary to popular belief, (tomtom is not an Indian word, but rather an old British word for a child's drum toy.)


Types of Frame Drum Structure
Daf Frame Drum
1. Frame is wooden. The diameter of the frame is 48-53 centimeters. The width of the frame is 5-7 centimeters.
2. Skin is glued on the frame. The most popular is goatskin.
3. Pins are applied in behind part of the frame in order to keep the skin on the frame tightly.
4. Hooks are applied in order to hang the rings in the inner part of frame.
5. Rings are the jingles of Daf.
6. Leather band is applied in order to help the player for long duration performances.

Irish Bodhrán
1. Frame - The Frame should feel solid and well-made. Find the joint where the hoop of the body was closed; if it looks ill-joined, stay away from that drum.
2. Tacks - should be snug to the body, and the skin should be held firmly. If the skin appears to be tearing away from the tacks, shop elsewhere.
3. Skin - Goatskin - Look at the corner, where the skin turns over the rim. If the corner is sharp, then the skin will tear easily. Good drums have smoothly curved corners.
4. Crossbars - Many Bodhran come with or without them, some even have removable sets.

Native American Frame Drum
1. Frame - wooden = pine, cedar, mahogany, beech, birch and maple. Wood is only limited to the makers enviroment and spiritual needs. Sizes from 10" to 18" as hand drums and 20" to 36" as powwow drums. Shapes are round and 6 - 13 sided which are used for hand drums.        
2. Skin - Rawhide Deer, Elk, Buffalo, Horse and Cow although Deer, Elk and Buffalo are preferred. 
3. Lacing - Same as skin and perferrable from the same hide and lacing patterns range widely from tribe to tribe and maker to maker.   
4. Decoration - I added decoration here because I belive the spirit and intent of the drum and its owner are often seen through the decoration placed upon it, be that painting, staining, beading, etc. 
5. Beater - As with the decoartion the beater is a part of the drum and must be considered as important as all the other parts.  
Djembe Drum
One of the oldest and most popular of the sophisticated West African drums. It's a goat-skin-covered drum shaped like a large goblet and played with bare hands
A djembe is a goat skin covered drum shaped like a large goblet and meant to be played with bare hands.
Today companies Like REMO DRUMS, MEIDL, COOPERMAN, TAOS, MOUNTAIN RHYTHM, LP DRUMS make synthetic headed drums that are very affordable and user friendly...  


A hand drum is any type of drum that is typically played by striking it with the bare hand rather than a stick, mallet, hammer, or other type of beater
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