Drum: what is it, design, use, how to play

Drum: what is it, design, use, how to play

The drum is a popular ancient Russian musical instrument.

Description of the tool

The class is a percussion idiophone. It is characterized by self-sounding – the sound appears due to the vibration of the instrument itself. The sound is loud and dry. The people also bears the name of a shepherdess, a shepherd, a shepherd.

Outwardly, it is a wooden board with a drawing of a symbol. The symbol was associated with folk beliefs. The most common is the rotisserie.

Drum: what is it, design, use, how to play

Related Russian instruments: tambourine, gander, tulumbas.

Construction of drums

Production material – wood. Tree type – fir, spruce, pine. The choice of special tree species is not accidental – a sound-conducting material is required.

A wooden board acts as a body. The most common shape is rectangular. Length – 50-100 cm. Width – 25-40 cm. Thickness – 150-200 mm.

The peculiarity of the shepherd’s drum is that it is not a music master who is engaged in manufacturing, but an ordinary shepherd. Before manufacturing, a board of the desired wood species is taken and dried. The dried wood was cut as thinly as possible so that the sound was sonorous and high.

If the board sounded bad, holes were cut in the center. The number of holes is 5-6. In rare cases it could be more. The sound resonating from the carved holes sounded louder.

The manufacture of the drum itself was followed by the creation of beaters. Material – apple tree, oak, maple. The common length of a large mallet is 25-35 cm. A small one is 15-30 cm. Thickness is 250-350 mm.

The design of the shepherdess is sensitive to humidity. When stored in a damp room, the sound of the instrument deteriorates.

How to play the shepherd’s drum

When playing the drum, the musician hangs the instrument around his neck through a belt. The shepherd is opposite the stomach.

Drum: what is it, design, use, how to play

The beaters are used as percussion sticks. Basically, 2 beaters are used, less often one. With his right hand, the musician strikes the central and lateral parts of the board. The left one taps out double short parts. The left hand usually sets the rhythm. The sound produced depends on the place of impact, material and thickness of the sticks.

There are 2 types of shepherd drumming. Types differ in pace. The pace of a normal Play is 100-144 beats per minute. Fast pace – 200-276 beats.


The history of the shepherdess began in the days of the Old Russian state. Shepherd was used by shepherds while working in the field. Shepherds believed that the sound of the instrument improved the milk yield of cows. Also, with a rhythmic ringing sound, predators were scared away from a herd of cattle.

Later, the instrument began to be used in the performance of folk songs. It is used as an accompaniment to the singing of ditties. The drum had an important role in the performance of the rites on Yegoriev’s day.

Русский народный музыкальный инструмент барабанка. Голубев Сергей Ефимович

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