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.
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.
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
Hourglass shaped drums are exactly that - pinch-wasted with two heads attached together
with laces. This one was fashioned from a Mexican bottle gourd.
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.
Drums, row two
2001 Drums by Kasin Hunter, main page