The first instrumental drum was called a timpani or kettledrums. This drums origin is of Eastern origin. Small kettledrums were introduced into Europe as early as the 13th century.
The European kettledrum , which is used in American orchestras also, derives its special sound from the size and shape and diameter of its bowl. This bowl is usually made of copper or fiberglass.
Another primary drum is the snare drum. It was developed drom double-skinned drum of medieval times known as the tabor. This drum, also called a side drum , has its distinctive feature several gut or wire strings that stretch across the instruments lower skin. The upperskin is struck with a drum stick, while being struck the strings vibrate, giving this instrument its characteristic crisp staccato.
This small medieval instrumnet gradually increased size, about the 15th century. It was so often combined in a performance with a fife that these two instrumnets became closely associated with one another. A fife is a small flute having from six to eight finger holes and it also has no key, used mainly with drums in playing marches.
The tenor drum is closely related to the snare drum. It is somewhat larger in size and it has no snares across its lower skin. This drum is played with sofft felt covered sticks and it produces a huskier sound. While it is occasionally used in the orchestra this type of drum is found more frequently in military marching bands.
The largest drum in the percussion family is the bass drum. The bass drum of the classical era, though not equipped
with snares, was infact a very deep snare drum
that was set up in a horizontal position to be played. This instrument was eventually replaced by the bass drum that is now familiar-- a large and shallow instrument with skins on either of its two sides. It is played in rock bands with a foot petal,that when pressed down, makes a drum stick strike the drum.
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