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Drums by Kasin Hunter, 2001

Membranophones. Percussion. Drums. Every culture known to man has used some form of drum. Membranophones (a drum using a membrane like leather) have sounded to announce comings and goings, ceremonies, births, deaths, to rouse the libido, provide sounds at Yoruba religious cult worship and divinations, and have been played for simple soul-fulfilling enjoyment.

In the latter part of September, 2001, I decided to challenge myself a little and make my first drum. I made a simple conical drum and was hooked. Eight more followed. Surprisingly, through a little research, I found there are catagories of drum shapes. So I set out to sample those for my collection, all from gourd of various shapes. You see them below.

First, the Cylindrical drum. It typically has straight sides, can have one or two heads. The drum below has soft suede membranes, rather than rawhide, which dull the sound. To my ear, they make this drum more subtle and low toned. I like the result. This Cylindrical drum was fashioned from a small zucca gourd. Cylindrical drums are usually made from a hollowed out log.
Cylindrical Drum

Next, the Barrel drum. Buldging sides, one head. Bottom is open or closed. I chose to keep this one closed. It has a lovely deep tone. If I were to say which of the drums sound like an "American Indian" drum, this would be it. This Barrel drum was fashioned from a basket gourd. Design on membrane - dreamcatcher.
MuDrumDreamCatcher.jpg Barrel drum, side

My Goose drum. Of course there was no catagory for this shape of drum, since I dreamed it up. The rawhide membrane is attached with shells and beads. Even though I opened the animal's mouth for the sound to exit, t sounds terrible. I may have to place holes along the sides near the "wings" for it to sound any better. It may sound terrible, but it was a fun experiment and quite a conversation piece! This Goose drum was fashioned from a lump-in-the-neck gourd.

Hourglass shaped drums are exactly that - pinch-wasted with two heads attached together with laces. This one was fashioned from a Mexican bottle gourd.
Hourglass drum

The Matraca or clapper drum is one you might have seen on the toy shelf for kids. Easy to play by a simple twisting motion of the handle, the beads swing around and respectively strike the side membranes. In my explorations, I found a similar drum made from two human skulls. It, too, was played by a twisting motion of the wrist. It was sounded by small internal sounding devices, probably pebbles or grains. This Matraca drum was fashioned from a small dipper gourd.
Matraca Drum

Drums, row two


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