Tulumbas: what is it, composition, sound, use

Tulumbas: what is it, composition, sound, use

In the explanatory dictionary, the word “tulumbasit” means “strongly beat with a fist.” Since the 17th century, the Turkmen, Turkish, Ukrainian, Iranian and Russian troops have used loud rhythmic sounds to signal and intimidate the enemy.

What is tulumbas

The word is translated as “big Turkish drum”. The instrument belongs to membranophones – the sound is extracted using a tightly stretched leather membrane. The closest musical relative is the timpani.

The sizes of musical instruments are different. The smallest of them was fastened in front to the rider’s saddle, and he knocked on it with a whip handle. It took 8 people to strike the largest drum at the same time to extract the sound.

Tulumbas: what is it, composition, sound, use


The drum consists of a resonant base in the form of a pot or cylinder, which was made of clay, metal or wood. A thick skin was stretched over the top of the resonator. For blows, wooden heavy beaters – bits were used.


Drums are characterized by a loud, low and booming sound, almost like a cannon shot. The rumble of several tulumbass, together with single strikes of the tocsin and the deafening crackle of tambourines, created a frightening cacophony.


Tulumbas did not take root among the civilian population, but it turned out to be very good for solving military problems. Its sound terrified and sowed panic in the enemy camp. The Cossacks of the Zaporizhzhya Sich, with the help of tulumbas, controlled the army and gave signals.

Запорозькі Тулумбаси. Козацька мистецька сотня.

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