When you think of musical instruments, the drums is probably not the first to come to mind. Be it in a band, an orchestra or the likes, you have definitely seen it before. Some schools even purchase different types of drums to provide enrichment as well as to expose their students to this well-known instrument and its rich history.
The drums produce no melody, being a percussion instrument. Nevertheless, it still has one of the most important roles in music. It provides a beat and creates tension which is useful in big orchestras or even cinematic music. It is used in many cultures’ music - so how did it come about?
Ancient drums were first recorded a millennia ago. They were found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, drums and cymbals are visible in ancient Greece and Syria. Humans from around the world found different ways to fashion drum heads from animal skins.
While there are many types of drums, the history of the classical drums starts from early Middle Eastern traditions. The kettle drums, otherwise known as the timpani, most likely came from Egyptian and Turkish cultures. Moreover, the classical bass drum stems from the Ottoman empire.
As for the iconic five-piece drum kit that has been an iconic part of almost every band, it contains drums that have been adapted from European classical instruments. The kick drums and double bass drums of today’s popular music used to be classical bass drums whereas the snare drums come from the side drums of marching bands.
And now you know the rough history of the drums. They are one of the most versatile instruments, playing integral roles in different cultures as well as the popular music you hear daily to this day. They have transcended time and have grown to become an incredibly significant instrument in music.