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History of the Drums

The standard drum set we know now exists since 1935. It was 'invented' in the USA, in New Orleans. It consists of a few different parts. These are:
  • Drums:
    • 2 or 3 tom-toms (or just 'toms')
    • 1 snare drum
    • 1 bass drum
  • Cymbals:
    • 1 ride cymbal
    • 1 crash cymbal (2 on picture)
    • 2 Hi-Hat cymbals (not on picture)
  • And lots of stands to keep thing together!

But it took a while before a drum set looked like this one. A lot of different drums have been used in the past. Tribes in Africa took the trunk of a tree, hollowed it out and then spread the skin of an animal over it. If they wanted a more sharp sound, like our snare drum, they took the intestines of a pig and they stretched it under the skin. They used the drums for all kind of things. To alert the tribe for danger, or to pronounce things. Later, the Romans used drums in their armies.

      It was in the 16th century that the Europeans took their drums to America. When they tried to conquer The New World, they took their colonists and armies (with all the instruments) to America. Later, he blacks, living in South America, were not allowed to play and create their own African drums. So they tried to combine drums with an African origin, like the snare and the tom-toms (but nobody remembered those were African drums from origin!). That first set looked about this:

  • 1 snare drum
  • Chinese toms
  • A horizontally placed bass drum
  • Small cymbals
  • A low Hi-Hat
  • Chinese temple blocks
In the 20th century, people began to play on such drums. Everybody started to play those African rhythms. And because the beats were played more and more on the cymbals, the size of the cymbals increased. The Chinese toms were replaced for Afro/European drums and the Hi-Hat had been enlarged to make it easy to play with your sticks. So bit by bit the drum set got its shape as it has now. Since 1950, innumerable technical changes has been made by Gretch, Rogers and later Sonor, Pearl and Tama, and many others. Cymbal specialists began to make cymbals for the new drums (Zildjian (since 1623) and Paiste, Ufip Sabian). Personally I think   is the best. Visit their web-site at

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