Tam-tam: instrument composition, history of origin, sound, use

Tam-tam: instrument composition, history of origin, sound, use

The instrument, the language of which was able to understand the ancient African tribes, belongs to the family of gongs. His “voice” informed the district about the birth of boys – future hunters and successors of the family, he rumbled triumphantly when the men returned with prey or hummed gloomily, condoling with the widows of the dead soldiers.

What is tam-tom

Percussion musical instrument made of bronze or other alloys in the form of a disk. To extract the sound, wooden beaters with felt knobs or sticks are used, as when playing a drum. There-there is hung like a gong on a metal or wooden base. Varieties in the form of drums are installed on the floor.

When struck, the sound rises in waves, creating a colossal sound mass. The sound depends on the technique used. The instrument is not only struck, but also driven with sticks around the circumference, sometimes bows are used to play the double bass.

Tam-tam: instrument composition, history of origin, sound, use

History of origin

The oldest tom-toms were made from coconuts covered with buffalo skin. In Africa, the tool had an extensive purpose, including ritual. In the scientific world, discussions about the origin of the most ancient idiophone do not cease. Its name goes back to the languages ​​of ethnic Indians, in China more than three thousand years ago such instruments already existed, and representatives of the African tribe Tumba-Yumba considered the Tam-Tam big drum to be sacred. Therefore, there is still no scientifically based conclusion about the place of origin.


Among the Africans, the tom-tom was a signaling instrument that announced the need to gather for battles, and was used during ritual manipulations. With the help of a drum, the tribe caused rain in a drought, drove away evil spirits. If necessary, it was used as a means of communication with other tribes, since the sound was heard for tens of kilometers.

In classical music, tam-tam found application much later, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. The first to use it as part of a symphony orchestra was Giacomo Meyerbeer, a German composer. The sound of the African idiophone was perfect for conveying drama in his operas Robert the Devil, The Huguenots, The Prophet, The African Woman.

Tam-tam voices the tragic climax in Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Scheherazade. It enters into an orchestral sound during the sinking of the ship. In modern music, it is used in ethnic and rock compositions, used in military bands, complementing the brass band.

Там там танец

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