Bass Drum

A very deep two-headed drum, stood or suspended either vertically or horizontally. 50cm - 2m diameters.

Beaters: Bass drum mallets range from hard to soft, as well as rute and other beaters .
Bass Drum:
Rute beaters:
Single hit
Pattern

Bongo Drums

Pairs of small single-headed drums with tapered sides
Beaters: Medium mallets, sticks or hand
Authentically played with the hands, but usually played with beaters in an orchestral context.
Bongos:
With beaters
With hands
Typical pattern

Djembe

North African hand drum, with an extended and outward-tapering resonating column.
Beater: Hands.
Plenty of sounds available on this instrument, and the addition of metal 'wings' add a buzz.
Djembe:

Djun djun

African double-headed drum, but normally played on one head only, with the other hand playing a cowbell attached to the body of the drum.
Beater: Medium bass drum beater.
Djun djun:



Lion's Roar

A single headed drum with a rosined cord through the head. Pulling the cord produces a distinctive roar.
Beaters: Hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snare Drum

Two-headed drum, with metal snares strung on one side and engaged or disengaged by a handle. Usually placed on a stand. Sizes range from 15-18cm for the standard orchestral instrument, to 45-90cm for the field drum and 8-10cm for the piccolo snare.
Beaters: snare drum sticks; brushes; hotrods; rute; soft vibes mallets. Snare drum technique provides the basis for most other sticking techniques in Western music. Be sure to specify snares on or off. It is a good idea to leave snares off when the drum is not being played, in order to avoid unwanted buzzing caused by the vibration from other instruments.
Snare drum:
Hits:
Rolls:
Snares on/off:
Single hit, snared
Rapid., measured hits
Roll
Loud roll
Roll <>, with snare
Roll <>, without snare
'Gallop' pattern, with snare
'Gallop' pattern, without snare
Snared roll and pattern
Short flam
Pattern, no snare
Classic military pattern, snared.

Surdo

Latin American bass drum, single-headed. Hits can be damped, or open, and a typical pattern would include rim hits.
Beater: Small bass drum beaters
The drum can be lifted with the feet to open out the sound.
Surdo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Talking Drum

An egg-timer shaped drum, with leather cords stretching the two heads. The drum is placed under the player's arm, and the skins struck with a wooden beater. The player squeezes the cords to adjust head tension, thus creating the 'talking' effect.
Beater: wooden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tambourine

A slitted hoop of wood, with skin stretched over it to form a head, and with jangles threaded through the slits.
Beater: Hand and any other durm beater.
Tambourine:
Hits:
Rolls:
Rolls <>:
'Wet' and 'dry' sounds:
Played fast, seated:
Played fast and loud, foot up on chair:
Rock tambourine:
Pattern
Faster pattern
Faster still
Pattern >
Single hit
Shake
Jingles only

Tenor Drums

A field drum without snares.

Beaters: bass drum or wooden beaters.
'Muffled' drum = cloth placed on head. N.B. this is not the same as a 'muted' drum.

The central beater depicted is usual. Tam-tams may also be bowed and scraped carefully with metal objects. Never use xylophone or wooden bass drum beaters on a tam-tam.
Tenor drum:
Some patterns:
Pattern 1
Pattern 2
Pattern 3
Pattern 4
Pattern 5

Tom-toms

Anything up to 6 small, straight-sided drums, either double or single-headed

Beaters: medium to soft mallets.

Tom-toms:
A typical tom-tom improvisation.

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at] bathspa.ac.uk