Drums form a central part of all types of music developed globally. The drum belongs to the percussion instruments family. It is usually made of a stretched membrane (known as the head), which covers one or both ends of the drum’s hollow body (known as the shell). This is where the sound is produced when the stretched membrane is vibrated.
To produce sound, you must rhythmically strike the drum with various devices. Some drums such as the Bongo drums are struck manually while for others, beaters are used. Wooden stick beaters are used to play smaller drums and padded wooden mallets are used to play larger drums.
There are various types of drums worldwide, but the most commonly used is the modern drum set. This one consists of a drum head, drum shell, tension rod, tension rod washers, rim and mounting lugs. A standard drum kit also includes the cymbals, which produce sound through self-vibration method without the need for a membrane.
So what raw materials are used to make drums?
There is a range of materials that are used to make the modern drum kits. The materials used have varied over the years in the past century. Prior to 1950s, drum heads were normally made using animal skin. However, in recent times, the majority are made using plastics such as polyester or Mylar. The most common type of polyester used is polyethylene terephthalate, because of its tough nature and resistance to moisture, sunlight, and heat. Polyethylene terephthalate is made of chemical compounds which include ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid which are obtained from petroleum.
Drum shells are normally made out of maple, birch, and poplar wood. However, metal and synthetic alternatives are also available and are taking over in some parts of the world. In other cases, steel, aluminum, brass, and bronze are also frequently used in the assembly of the shells while plastic is used in synthetic shells.
This usually refers to the equipment needed to hold and support the drum in place. Some parts of the hardware also work as tonal adjusters. The material generally used is brushed aluminum while the mounting lugs are made of die-cast metal such as steel.
Other parts of the hardware can be assembled from brass, strong plastic or wood. Drum hoops or rims are made of both metal and wood. Lastly, metal rims are constructed using aluminum while wooden rims are made from maple or birch.
Most cymbals are normally made from an alloy of tin, copper, and silver. Depending on the weight, the alloys are shaped in an oven burning at about 815°C. Once the metal softens, it is then rolled and flattened.
The cymbal is then cut to a certain diameter and shaped by a hydraulic cylinder. Dents are then formed on the metal which enhances the sound effect. Afterwards, an edging machine finishes the process by smoothing out the edges. After all is said and done, you now have your complete drum set!