Drums and toms in their various forms are the most important and rudimentary of percussion instruments.
The snare drum originates from the military and can be found in practically every type of today’s western music – from marching and wind bands to jazz, rock and pop. The instrument is also known as side drum because in military/marching bands it is placed at the drummer’s left hip and is beaten from the side. The snare drum covers the treble register within the orchestra percussion section, but has no definite pitch. The typical sound results from its batter (top) head in combination with the additional resonance head at the bottom of the shell that is equipped with snare strings.
The slimmer snare drum is called piccolo drum. The field drum (or tenor drum) has a larger shell than the snare drum and like the snare drum it is usually equipped with snare strings.
The bass drum covers the bass register within the orchestra percussion section and plays an essential role in almost all western musical styles. In military music it is played together with the cymbal, in pop, rock and jazz it is played with the bass pedal as part of the drum kit.
Concert toms are suspended tom-toms that are usually set up as batteries of four, six, or eight instruments. They have an open bottom and therefore no resonance head. As opposed to concert toms, roto toms have no drumshell – their heads are fixed on metal hoops that can be turned in order to change their tension and consequently their pitch.
The Taiko drum is a general term for various barrel-shaped drums that have a mythological origin in Japanese folklore.
The tambourine is a frame drum augmented with small metal disks in slots around the frame that is mainly played with the fingers, the palm, the fist or with mallets.
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