History of Drum Sets (Complete Guide)

Drum sets are one of the most popular instruments in music today. They can be heard at concerts, parties, and even elementary schools. Sailors on ships first used drum sets to communicate with each other before they had radios. It is said that drumming was an activity for the officers only since it required good coordination and skillful hands. The instrument has come a long way from its humble beginnings, but it will always hold a special place in our hearts as the symbol of rhythm and beat for all worldwide musicians.

History of the Snare Drum

The snare drum is believed to have been developed in European culture during the 17th century, with one of the first written mentions being 1628. A dry spell followed until the 1840s when it became common for concert orchestras to include a single percussionist, who played snare drum and triangle, among other instruments.

One popular legend concerning snare drums concerns their variety of uses on battlefields before the gun powder was invented. Sentries used large two-headed drums for border security or as alarms. Snared drums were also used onboard ships before cannon made noise travel over great distances so that sailors could be awakened without early warnings about incoming boats out at sea. 

History of the Bass Drum

The bass drum is one of the most recognizable instruments in music today. As with many other instruments found in traditional western percussion, historians and scholars still heavily debate the origins. Drums were present at 8,000 BC sites; however, they were not mentioned in texts until much later, around 3,500 BC.

During this time, drums played a vital role in cultural practices like funerary rituals. They formed an essential component for religious worshiping ceremonies or different forms of shamanism (one example would be Taiko Drumming). 

History of the Tom-Toms

Created in Africa, the tom-tom drum was initially made from animal skins stretched over a round frame using sticks. It’s believed that this is where timbale came from because timbales are essentially bundles of cooks’ tongs with a metal hoop at the end to hold the skins tight to create an open or closed sound.

The use of animal skin has since been replaced by felt pads which are glued onto the metal rim and tightened around it like fingers over an open hand (this traditional way is still practiced today). 

History of the Hi-Hat

The hi-hat, a part of the standard drum kit, is a two-piece cymbal consisting of a pedal or footboard that produces one of six sounds—closed short choke, open short rough pulverizing crash, closed long coarse splashy fill, available long smooth swish ride explodes and tread tap—and a top cymbal which typically remains stationary. In the 20th century, it became an essential element in some new jazz styles.

The origin of the name “hi-hat” is unclear. One theory says the inventor was named Hiscox from England around 1900 tried making the new device for military use but didn’t make it work well enough to be sold to troops, so he marketed them as a new instrument instead.

History of Cymbals

The cymbals we use today are derived from small hand drums initially intended to be played with the fingers. These membranes were generally made of leather or some vegetative membrane, often absorbing up to half their weight in oil. This drum was known as the “ride cymbal.”

The animal skin would eventually dry out and shrink, causing a different sound than the rest of the ride cymbal sounds typical of heavier playing. Drummers adapted by changing their style slightly, which evolved into an upstroke/downstroke pattern on either side during play-more akin to what’s used now.

The two sections, still separate but more stable, were then given names for ease in identification.

Most Common Types of Drum Sets

A drum is a percussion instrument. “Drum” is often used as an uncountable noun, meaning the tools themselves, though, like most other instruments on this list, drums are limited to one set consisting of some number of pieces. There are two types of drum sets – acoustic drum and electric drum.  

Acoustic Drum Kit

An Acoustic drum features no electric or electronic amplification and produces its sound entirely acoustically using skin vibration. The tensioned head (typically made from animal skin) faces the player and can be played with a hand or a pair of sticks if desired. Still, it does not allow for any muffling because the only thing that separates it from direct contact with surrounding air is a metal hoop around its widest point. This allows the sound to completely reverberate and be amplified by any speaker or microphone, giving off a purer tone.

If you want to get high-quality audio, then you can use electronic drums instead.

Electronic Drum Kit

An electronic drum kit is a powered electronic musical instrument. It’s an integrated system made of triggers, amplifiers, and speakers to create both natural-sounding percussion sounds as well as the full range of musical instruments generally played by percussionists. The trigger systems are commonly used with traditional acoustic drums, percussion instruments, and hybrid kits. This type of configuration usually produces more organic sounding sounds than those made using just synthesizers or sampled drum sounds. Another often-overlooked benefit is that it provides instruction on playing traditional percussive music with its own set of techniques for hands alone without any need for conventional drum sets, which can be expensive investments today. 

The history of the drum set is a long and complicated one, but it all started in Africa with animal skin drums. These were eventually replaced by hand-held percussion that evolved into the African djembe. As time went on, these drums became part of military bands before being adopted in American jazz music. From there, they found their way to rock ‘n’ roll, country music, funk, and soul ensembles – even pop groups have incorporated them at some point! Nowadays, you can find drum sets anywhere from small street corner performances to large arenas where world famous artists perform live concerts. What’s your favorite style or genre? Do you think this instrument would work well within your band? Comment below for your insights.

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