Guide to 3 Different Types of Drums


Drums are an essential musical instrument for world music. The drummer is key to synchronizing music timing and adds rhythm to the music. Drums are basically percussion instruments and make sounds when a player strikes a drum head with his hands or with drum sticks. For most of the drum’s history, drum heads were made from animal parts such as goat skins but today’s drums are made of plastic composites for the drum head. If you are interested in playing drums and want to know more about it, here’s a guide to 3 different types of drums.


The Modern Drum Set


The modern drum kit is used for rock music, pop music, R&B, hip hop, and jazz. The modern drum set is made up of the following components:


1. Kick Drum

The large drum sitting on the floor produces bass sounds and is also known as the kick drum. The sounds are made by pressing the foot on a foot pedal to produce a deep sound.


2. Snare drum

The snare drum is a trebly drum that features metal snares wire running beneath its lower drum head. The snare drum is placed at the side of the drummer’s non-dominant hand. The snare drum is a key instrument in marching band music.


3. Floor Tom

The floor tom produces a low-pitched tom-tom sound and stands on legs near the drummer’s dominant hand.


4. Rack Toms

The hi-tom and low-tom are a pair of tom-tom drums



5. Tambourine

The tambourine is an optional part of a drum set. It is mounted as a standalone instrument or placed atop a high hat. It has a drum head with metal discs attached to the circumference producing jingle sounds together with the drum.


6. Cymbals

Dram kits include cymbals such as the hi-hat, ride and crash. These are idiophones and they make sound by vibrating the entire instrument.


Common African Drums


Africa has produced many different types of music and instruments, in particular the various types of drums.


1. Talking Drum

The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum that consists of drum heads on either end. The talking drum gets its name from the notion that it can imitate the sounds of human speech.


2. Slit Drum

It is also known as a log drum. A slit drum is an idiophone that is made from a hollowed log and not a membranophone.


3. Djembe

The djembe is a goblet-shaped African hand drum that is played by resting between the player’s knees.


Afro-Cuban Drums


There is a deep relationship between the drum traditions between West Africa and the Caribbean. Many membranophones originated in West Africa have found popularity globally in a variety of music styles collectively known as salsa. Famous Afro-Cuban drums include:


1. Bongos

Bongos are hand drums that come in different sizes but are smaller than congas. A bongo drum produces a higher pitch than a conga.


2. Conga

Congas produce deeply pitched sounds as they are tall and stand on the floor or on a study chrome hardware where the drummer uses his hand to play.


3. Cajon

The Cajon is a hollow wooden box that usually features internal snares on one side. The player sits on the Cajon and strikes it with their hands. Cajon is also now a popular percussion instrument in modern bands.


If this article piqued your interest in learning drums to play world music, Ritmo Music Studio runs percussion lessons in world rhythms. Get in touch with us for a trial class.



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