Drum Set

Drum Set, often referred to as "drum kit, trap set," or simply "drums," an integrated collection of musical percussion instruments, including various drums and cymbals, played by a single musician. The drum set is played with drumsticks or with wire or plastic brushes or mallets. It may include other percussion instruments, such as cowbells and woodblocks, and various electronic devices, such as electronic drum pads and synthesizers. Different genres of musicand different drummers within each genreoften use unique drum set configurations. The drum set is the most widely used percussion instrument in jazz and in most forms of popular music, including rock music, rhythm-and-blues (R&B) music, country-and-western music, and worldbeat.


The drum set typically is made up of one

The drum set typically is made up of one bass drum, one snare drum, two tom-toms, a hi-hat cymbal, a ride cymbal, and a crash cymbalall held together with metal hardware. Metal stands hold the drums and cymbals, and accessory brackets and fasteners hold smaller percussion instruments. Tension screws also are used on each drum to secure the drum heads to the shell of the drum.

The bass drum is usually the largest member

The bass drum is usually the largest member of the drum set and produces a low deep sound. It is operated with a foot pedal attached to a beater that strikes the drum head and comes in sizes ranging from 46 to 66 cm (18 to 26 in) in diameter (drum head size) by 36 to 46 cm (14 to 18 in) deep (shell depth). The snare drum is a shallow cylindrical drum that produces a distinctive higher-pitched sound. It has a band of metal wires, called snares, pulled across the bottom head of the drum, which produces a buzzing or snapping sound when the drum is struck, depending upon the technique used. The most common snare drum is 36 cm (14 in) in diameter by 13 cm (5 in) deep. The tom-tom drums add a variety of sound to the set and are commonly 20 to 46 cm (8 to 18 in) in diameter by 15 to 46 cm (6 to 18 in) deep. A drum set usually has two tom-toms: one mounted on the floor with a stand, and a smaller one mounted to the bass drum.

Cymbals are usually 15 to 56 cm (6 to 22

Cymbals are usually 15 to 56 cm (6 to 22 in) in diameter and are composed of various combinations of metals, each producing a unique sound when struck. The most important cymbals in the drum set are the large ride cymbal, the bright-sounding crash cymbal, and the horizontally mounted pair of cymbals known as the hi-hat. The upper hi-hat cymbal is struck with sticks, producing sounds that vary as the pair of cymbals are open or closed with a foot pedal. Other cymbals include splash, China, sizzle, and special-effects.


The first drum sets were assembled in

The first drum sets were assembled in the late 1800s after the invention of the bass drum pedal, which enabled all of the basic percussion instruments used in a military band (snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals) to be played simultaneously by one person. In the late 1920s the drum set evolved further when drummers who played in the nightclubs of New Orleans, Louisiana, began using the drum set to provide creative accompaniment for other jazz musicians. The set quickly expanded with the additions of instruments such as African-derived tom-toms, a variety of Turkish- and Chinese-style cymbals (the two types are shaped differently to produce different sounds; Turkish cymbals are standard in most Western music), and the hi-hat cymbal, one of the most important innovations. These and subsequent refinements led to new techniques pioneered in the 1930s. American Gene Krupa, one of the greatest jazz drummers of the big-band era ( "see "Jazz: "The Big-Band Era"), featured the tom-toms prominently in his playing and established the drum set as a featured solo instrument.

In the 1940s American Max Roach

In the 1940s American Max Roach, another great jazz drummer and innovator, tuned his drums higher (by tightening the drum heads) and shifted the rhythmic emphasis from the bass drum to the cymbals, particularly the ride cymbal. This technique allowed for more flexible use of the bass drum and other parts of the drum set. In the 1950s American jazz drummer Louis Belson popularized the use of two bass drums in his drum set, a technique revived in the 1960s by British drummers Ginger Baker, of the rock trio Cream, and Keith Moon, of the rock group the Who, and by American jazz-rock drummer Billy Cobham. This setup is still used by many rock drummers. In the late 1960s American Buddy Rich, considered one of the greatest big-band drummers in jazz history, demonstrated unprecedented speed and dexterity on the drum set.

In the 1960s the improved recording techniques

In the 1960s the improved recording techniques and greater amplification of instruments brought about by rock music enabled drummers to play much louder, no longer in danger of overpowering other instruments. With advancements in manufacturing technology, drums were made of stronger, more compact materials and were capable of being played even louder. Drum heads also were improved, with more durable and dependable plastic heads replacing calfskin.

The drum set continued to change throughout

The drum set continued to change throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and into the 1990s, influenced to a great extent by changes in popular music, along with advancements in technology. Modern rock-music drum sets may include four or more tom-toms as well as a variety of auxiliary percussion instruments. In addition, electronic drum pads are often used. When struck, the pads trigger reproductions of the stored sounds of the individual components of the drum set, such as the snare or bass drum. Electronic drum machines, in which sounds are triggered by pressing keys or buttons, are frequently used to supplement or even replace the sound of the traditional drum set, especially in musical recordings.

Recommended for you

Read more about the full history of the world

Jane Freilicher

Jane Freilicher, born in 1924, American painter, respected for her naturalistic landscapes, cityscapes, and still lifes created in an artistic era ...


Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931), Finnish painter, illustrator, and craftsman, who was a leader in the revival of traditional Finnish culture in t...


Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593?-1652?) Italian baroque painter ( "see "Baroque Art and Architecture), one of the few well-known female artists of her ...