Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Drum. The drum known to the Greeks was pre-eminently the instrument of the Earth-mother, Cybele. and was used in her worship. She was a Phrygian goddess, and the drum is probably of Phrygian or Syrian origin. According to one Greek legend, which also seems to have taken its rise in Phrygia, it was invented by the Corybantes (q.v.) to drown the cries of the infant Bacchus, when his father Zeus sought to slay him. These drums were, however, like the modern tambourine (q.v.) in construction, but some represented in vase paintings are (like the modern kettledrum) a hollow hemisphere of metal, across the opening of which is stretched a surface of parchment. The presence of the metal greatly increases the definiteness of the sound. The drum seems to have passed from Western Asia to India, and was introduced into European armies either by the Crusaders or the Moors of Spain. It is mentioned by Froissart at the entry of Edward III. into Calais (1347). Modern drums are of various types. The kettledrum, from its construction (see above), is the only kind that can be accurately tuned, or that can be said to give out definite musical notes. The side drum, the best known military type, consists of a hollow wooden or brass cylinder, with a head or membrane stretched tightly across each end and fastened round a hoop. A larger hoop presses this down, and cords which can be tightened connect the two heads. Cords of catgut, called snares, are stretched across the lower end (when the drum is hung vertically) and rattle against it when it is struck. At military funerals it is "muffled" by putting cloth between the snares and the membrane. The "roll" (two blows with the left drumstick followed by two with theright.and so oninrapid succession) requires a special knack in the drummer. The bass drum is a cylinder usually rather long in proportion to its breadth, played with one stick, commonly of whalebone. The sticks for side drums are of hard wood, terminated by a knob. Gong drums, in shape like a large tambourine, are occasionally used in orchestras. Though regular military drum calls expressed in musical notation exist, yet the drum is so imperfect an instrument in giving distinct sounds that the bugle is usually substituted. All the types are used in orchestral music.