Drum to Drums, by Steve Benedetto



The drum has a rich history. Not only are they possibly the oldest instrument known to man, but they’re technically known as membranophones. Drums date back to when the first humans learned how to keep up with rhythm. But their drum set was nothing like ours; instead of an elaborate set it up, it was simply a hand drum they created out of some sort of membrane or skin stretched over a cylinder with an open end like a shell. They first struck it with their hand and then later learned to use a stick to keep up with the beat.

The first historical record of the drum dates back to 6,000 B.C, but Mesopotamian excavations found small cylindrical drums that are dated 3,000 B.C. Drums are found all over the earth, meaning ancient civilizations incorporated some sort of music into their daily lives, whether it was for religious ceremonies, rituals or other parts of their social lives, including signals and war or battles. For centuries, the hand drum was prevalent, but then came along different types of percussion instruments. The cymbals were originally made in ancient China or Turkey, but they were also used in Egypt and Israel, dating all the way back to 1,100 B.C. The first modern snare drum goes back to medieval times, first appearing in Europe back in 1300. After, the bass drum was created in 1400, which was bigger than the snare, thought to have been brought to Europe by the Turks.

For a while, drums remained unchanged for a few years, but as more people started to explore the world, including Africa and Cuba, they found new types of drums, including the bongo drums in the 1800s. And as far as drum sticks, there’s a bit of evidence of early man using them in ancient days, but mostly hands were used to make the beat. But some of the earliest known drum sticks date back to 1,300 and were used to drum Tabors, which were snare drums made from wood. But then in the 1800s, drum sticks evolved and were commonly made from ebony and used for military drums. 

Before modern times, various percussion instruments were played by different people, but as music evolved, this way become quite expensive for an entire band. This prompted many attempts to try and consolidate all the drum-related instruments so that they can easily be played by just one person, which is how the modern drum set-up came to be.
Marching bands and musicians from the jazz era needed one percussion instrument and this led to the foot-operated bass drum in 1909 by Ludwig & Ludwig Co. This was the first time one’s hands were free to do other things, which only continued the experimentation for various drum set-ups. 

Then in the 1930s, dance bands became popular and a drummer called Ben Duncan figured out a standardized arrangement using one bass drum, snare and then a raised tom-tom combined with a floor tom-tom to create the modern drum set, which later became known as a kit.

It was the beginning of a new age in drumming and this set-up forever changed how drums are played. By the 1960s, modern drum kits were perfected, which had more cymbals and bass drums. In 1976, the first electric drums came out, even though his kit didn’t produce a quality sound like we have now, but the idea would spark a totally new type of drum kit. From there, the industry only looked to improve modern electric drums, which is what we see now.

Drums have come a long way from single hand drums and have evolved just as people have. But the history of drums is never lost upon those who are passionate about the instrument!



Drum to Drums, by Steve Benedetto Drum to Drums, by Steve Benedetto Reviewed by Respectful Beats™ on Monday, December 18, 2017 Rating: 5

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