How Drums Are Integrated into Various Cultures

2018 07 20

Drums have been used throughout history in many different cultures throughout the world. In fact, they have formed part of the music and culture of almost every country in the world. They are a great percussion instrument and often used to convey emotions.

African Culture

Drums have been used for centuries in Africa and are central to several types of ceremonies - from births to deaths, in marriage ceremonies or religious ceremonies - in which ancient spirits are called upon. African music is well known for its heavy beat which, of course, inspires people to dance to the rhythm, sing in time, and beat the drums while engaging in their various ceremonies.

Today many smaller African communities open their doors to tourists to showcase their culture and use the instruments to exhibit their traditional dance and music. In the past they were also used as a communicative tool between villages, much like the native-American smoke signals, as the sound would carry over vast distances. This was useful for tribes that lived in dense rainforests.

This is also important in the aboriginal cultures of Australia, different tribes would use a variety of instruments, including drums, that were made using the skin of reptiles stretched out over hollow logs.

Africa

Asian Culture

Countries in Asia tended to use instruments in ceremonies and rituals as well. In the past, ritual drums were heavily associated with ceremonies in which humans were sacrificed. They were used in various orchestras and also as a part of military events; for instance, they were used to motivate soldiers during times of war. This tactic was also seen in America and Europe in war. This were seen during both the American and English civil wars.

American and European Cultures

Drums in North America and Europe play a necessary role in modern music today. The beat is an integral part of modern bands. In fact, the drummer is key in keeping time for the band and is often the person that the other musicians depend on. Drums help to give the timbre and determine the pace of the music. They became very prominent in the 20th century as modern rock, metal, pop and jazz bands gained popularity.

Drums are used in orchestra symphonies, although people do not often realize their importance in an orchestra. Three types are used in orchestras: concert toms, snare drums and bass drums. These help to give the music a particular feel to it.

European and American countries rely on drums in marching bands that perform at parades or at athletic events. It´s is interesting that even the military have marching bands that often perform at parades, such as the 4th of July parade in America. Many high schools have marching bands that perform at sporting events. These bands almost always have a drumline consisting of several drummers. There are even competitions in which schools battle against each other to see whose is best. Drums have always been important in different cultures, and their importance is still clearly evident today.

University of Melbourne