Even if the bone flute, i.e. a wind instrument, is documented as the oldest musical instrument of man, it can be assumed that the drum is at least as old. But a drum made of a wooden frame covered with fur simply rots more than a bone. In this respect, there is no evidence of Stone Age drums. Probably the oldest image of a drum comes from a clay pot that is around 5000 years old.
But what is a drum? As already said, a wooden frame that is covered with fur. In the early days of mankind it was part of everyday life that the hides of the hunted animals were stretched in order to clean and dry them. Basically, this creates a drum.
This suggests that the first drums were simple frame drums. In many cultures the frame drum has been used as a shamanic drum to this day.
From its ritual use, the instrument also found its way into traditional music such as the Arabic Daf or the Irish Bodhran, which is characterized by a special striking technique.
If you take a bowl instead of the flat frame and cover it with skin, you get a kettledrum. Timpani were often used on campaigns, two pieces tied together could be placed over the horse's neck in front of the saddle and thus played on the horse. The timpani is still used in the orchestra today.
If you use a barrel that is open on both sides instead of the bowl, you can also cover the drum with two skins. These tall, cylindrical drums were often used as marching drums. Known from the Landsknecht period, they are still widely used today in historical parades.
If you decrease the height and increase the diameter at the same time you get a bass drum whose shape is also known as a davul. The davul is carried around the shoulder so that the drum hangs more vertically in front of the body and both sides can be played. Traditionally, a rod is used as a whip for the high side and a wooden mallet for the bass. The Davul is characterized by a very virtuoso playing. Later the Davul was integrated into the drums as a bass drum and provided with a pedal.
Tongue drums are a completely different type of drum. Here is it not a skin, which vibrate, but rather tongues cut out in wood or metal.
Old traditional tongue drums are made of wood. The origin lies in the South Pacific and the simplest variant is a hollow tree trunk. Usually it is a solid wooden box and tongues are cut out in the cover
plate which can be struck. They have a very earthy, archaic sound.
The Hapi Drum is a modern further development. Here the body is not made of wood but of a special metal alloy. The shape is round and flat. 8 tongues are cut out at the top, depending on the size of
the tongue, a different tone is created. So 8 different tones can be played. The tones are in a pentatonic scale, so the Hapi can be played freely, always creating a harmonious sound image.
The gently vibrating, somewhat metallic sounding tones are very calming and dreamy.
Similar instruments are the steal drum, the hang drum or the handpan.
We have different mallets in stock for the different drums. Hard wooden sticks for marching drums, soft leather sticks for shaman's drums, very soft sticks for gongs or singing bowls and also special tippers for the bodhran.
In addition to these drums, which are played more with mallets, there are also some variants that are played with the hands, the best known of which is the African Djembe. But we don't want to devote ourselves to these drums here.