Every culture keeps its own beat, and there are as many types and styles of drums across the world as there are ways to make music. And the best thing about drums is that to pick them up is to play them. Just give them a whack and you’re a musician! Here are a few of the instruments you might encounter at a next drum circle.
Also called tumbadoras, these single headed, hollowed drums provide the beat for Afro-Cuban music. Derived from the Congolese makuta drums, they were initially made from hollowed logs and cowhides.
In the hands of experts, this drum does actually “talk.” Typically two-headed and held under the arm, leather strings lacing the heads together are pressed to alter the drum’s pitch and provide a “vocabulary” of sounds.
Invented in Cuba, the timbales became a staple of the Afro-Cuban orchestra in the 1940s. The timbales are two drums: the larger hembra and the macho. Like a snare drum, they are tunable and played with sticks.
The most well-known of the frame drum family, the Irish bodhran looks like a tambourine without the bells. It is played with a short two-headed stick that is often tapped against the wooden frame to create extra sounds.
This African drum, invented in Mali around the 12th century and introduced to the West in the 1950s, is fast becoming as popular as the congas. It has a wide sonic spectrum, which makes it an excellent solo as well as accompaniment drum.
A modern addition to the hand drum family, the tubano is a cousin of the conga drum and an excellent starter drum for kids and adults alike. Though a slender drum, the tubano has a large tonal range.
Also called dununs or dunduns, these are actually a group of three tunable, double-headed drums which were invented in West Africa about the same time as djembes. Sometimes played with sticks, they provide the melody in a drum orchestra.