Drumming is a complex and expressive art form that has a rich history and tradition. It requires physical coordination, musicality, and creativity.
Like any specialized field, drumming has its own unique language and terminology.
Whether you’re a beginner drummer or an experienced professional, it is important to have a good understanding of these terms in order to communicate effectively and deepen your understanding of the instrument.
In this glossary, we have compiled a list of essential terms used in drumming, ranging from common terms to less known ones. We hope that this resource will help you learn more about the world of drumming.
In music, an accent refers to a particular note or group of notes that are played with slightly more emphasis or intensity than the surrounding notes.
In drumming this is generally referring to a stroke that is played louder than its accompanying strokes.
The term "accent" comes from the Latin word "accinctus," meaning "girded" or "tightened," and is used to describe the way in which an accented note is brought out or highlighted in relation to the surrounding notes.
Acoustic drums, also known as membranophones, create sound through the vibration of a stretched membrane or skin over a frame, also known as a drum shell.
These drums do not require any external amplification or electronic equipment, as the sound is produced solely by the vibration of the drumhead and the resonance of the drum shell.
Acoustic drums are a common instrument in many types of music and are played using drumsticks or other percussion implements.
In samba music, a metal bell, or a pair of bells, is often used as an unpitched percussion instrument.
These bells do not produce specific pitches like a tuned instrument, but rather produce a bright, ringing sound that adds excitement and energy to the music.
The bells are typically played by striking them with a mallet or by shaking them, and are often used in combination with other percussion instruments to create intricate rhythmic patterns.
Air drumming is a form of percussion that involves pretending to play a drum kit using only hand and arm movements, without the use of actual drums or drumsticks.
This can be a fun and interactive way to learn and practice drumming techniques, and is often used by musicians as a way to warm up or visualize their drumming patterns before playing on a real kit.
Air drumming can also be a creative outlet for music enthusiasts who may not have access to a drum set, or for those who simply want to express their love of drumming in a more imaginative way.
In a drum set, this refers to a second snare drum that is typically placed to the left of the hi-hat cymbals.
This auxiliary snare drum is often used to provide an additional snare sound, giving the drummer more options and flexibility in different musical situations.
The sound of the auxiliary snare can be varied by using different drumheads, adjusting the tension of the drumhead, or using different stick techniques.
This allows the drummer to choose the snare sound that best fits the music and adds depth and complexity to the drum parts.
This type of drum is a percussion instrument that is made from a hollow gourd with beads woven around its body.
The gourd is typically dried and hollowed out to create a resonant chamber, and the beads are attached to the outside of the gourd using a series of cords or strings.
When the drum is played, the beads produce a distinctive rattling sound that adds rhythmic interest to the music.
This type of drum is often used in traditional and folk music from various parts of the world and is typically played by striking the gourd with the hand or with a small stick.
The tempo or speed at which a piece is played is often measured in Beats Per Minute (shortened to BPM).
The BPM indicates how many beats occur in one minute of music - for example, a song in 4/4 with a tempo of 60 BPM would have 60 beats in one minute (1 beat per second).
In drumming the term "backbeat" can refer to a strong accent placed on an upbeat note.
When used to describe a 4/4 drum pattern, the backbeat typically consists of accents on beats two and four in order to create a steady pulse.
The ball joint allows a cymbal arm or tom-tom arm to rotate 360 degrees. This allows the drummer to easily adjust the position and angle of the cymbal or tom-tom.
A basket, also known as a snare drum basket, is a cradling mechanism that holds the snare drum in place.
The basket is typically made of metal and allows the drummer to adjust the snare drum to different heights and angles to accommodate their preferred playing position.
The bass drum is a large, low-pitched drum that is typically played with a foot pedal.
It is the lowest-pitched drum in a marching band and is also known as the kick drum when used in a drum set.
This drum is played using a bass drum pedal and is an important part of the drum set as it is often used to provide a steady pulse or rhythmic foundation for the music.
A bass drum pedal consists of a beater attached to a foot pedal that allows drummers to play the bass drum with their foot. This frees up their hands to play other drums and percussion instruments.
The batter head (aka batter drumhead or top head) is the membrane on an acoustic drum that is struck by the drummer to produce sound.
Traditionally, batter heads were made from animal skins, but today most drum skins are made from a plastic composite material.
The batter head is attached to the drum shell using a series of tension rods and can be tightened or loosened to adjust the pitch and timbre of the drum.
In addition to being struck by the drummer, the batter head also vibrates in response to the vibration of the drum shell, contributing to the overall sound of the drum.
The Batá drum is a double-headed drum that originated in Nigeria and has a distinctive hourglass shape.
It can be played by resting it on the lap of the drummer or by wearing it around the neck with a strap.
A beam is a line used in music notation to connect a group of notes and indicates a rhythmic grouping. This notation can help make music easier to read.
Eighth notes are typically connected with a single beam, while sixteenth notes are connected with double beams, and thirty-second notes are connected with three beams.
The part of the drum shell that the drumheads sit on (both batter and resonant heads).
Beat displacement is a musical technique that involves shifting the placement of the beats in a measure, creating a feeling that the pulse is shifting against the rest of the music.
A beater is a type of percussion implement that is used to strike membranophones (acoustic drums) and idiophones (instruments that produce sound through the vibration of the entire body of the instrument, rather than through a stretched membrane).
Some examples of beaters include drumsticks, mallets, rods, and wire brushes. Drumsticks are the most common type of beater used on drums and are typically made of wood or plastic.
Mallets are another type of beater that are often used on percussion instruments such as xylophones and vibraphones, and are typically made of materials such as rubber, felt, or yarn.
Rods and wire brushes are other types of beaters that are used to create specific sounds and textures on drums and other percussion instruments.
A type of percussion instrument that consists of tuned metal bars mounted on rectangular frames - they are similar to Marimbas, Glockenspiels, and Xylophones.
Blast beats are a type of rhythmic pattern that involves rapid and alternating strokes on the bass drum and snare drum. They are typically played using single stroke rolls.
These beats are often used in extreme metal and other heavy music genres to create a sense of speed and intensity and are played at a very fast tempo.
The Bo Diddley beat is a rhythmic pattern that was popularized by the famous blues guitar player Bo Diddley.
It is characterized by a driving, insistent pulse and is derived from early forms of Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms, specifically the clave.
This beat has been used in a variety of musical styles and has been a prominent feature in blues, rock and roll and other forms of popular music.
The bodhran is a traditional Irish drum that is often used in folk and traditional music. It resembles a tambourine without jingles and is typically played with a small beater or stick.
The bodhran has a simple, shallow frame that is usually made of wood, and is covered with a stretched drumhead made from animal skin, most commonly goat skin.
The Bolero rhythm is a type of ballad that is characterized by a slow, romantic tempo and a distinctive rhythmic pattern.
It originated in Cuba and is often associated with the Bolero dance, a sensual and intimate style of ballroom dance that originated in the 19th century.
Bones (aka Castanets) are a type of percussion instrument that consist of two small wooden clappers that are held in the hand and clicked together to produce a rhythmic sound.
A bongocero is a musician who plays the Bongos, a pair of small, hand-held drums that are typically played with the hands.
Bongos are a pair of Afro-Cuban drums that are played with the hands. They are typically smaller and higher-pitched than Congas and have a single drumhead on each drum.
The Bongos are played by striking the drumheads with the fingers, palms, or fists, and can be used to create a variety of rhythms and textures.
They are often played in combination with other percussion instruments, such as congas, timbales, and shakers, to create complex and dynamic grooves and are a popular instrument in many styles of music including Salsa, Latin Jazz, and Afro-Cuban Folk Music.
A boom is an arm that extends from a cymbal stand, allowing the cymbal to be positioned in a wider range of locations around the drum set.
Boom arms are typically adjustable, allowing the drummer to move the cymbal to different heights and angles.
Bossa Nova is a style of music that originated in Brazil in the 1950s and is characterized by a relaxed, smooth, and sophisticated sound.
It is named after the Portuguese phrase "bossa nova," which means "new trend."
Bossa Nova is a popular style of music in Brazil and around the world, and has influenced many other styles of music, including Jazz, Pop, and Latin music.
A Brekete is a type of drum that originated from Ghana and is shaped like a cylinder and is typically played with a stick or the hand.
Brushes are a type of percussion implement that consists of wire bristles attached to a handle.
They are often used for traditional Jazz drumming and are played by holding the handle in the hand and sweeping the bristles across the drumhead to produce a soft, subtle sound.
They can be used to create a relaxed, laid-back feel in the music and are sometimes used in other styles of music such as Blues, Rock and Pop.
A buzz roll is a drum roll that is played by letting the drumsticks bounce multiple times on the drumhead to create a "buzzing" sound.
It is typically played on the snare drum, but can be played on any drum or percussion instrument.
Unlike other types of drum rolls, such as the double stroke roll or the open roll, the buzz roll doesn't have a set number of bounces per stick - instead the drummer is looking to create a tight and consistent "buzzing" sound.
A Cabasa is a percussion instrument from Africa that is made by placing metal chains (often with metal balls) around a wooden cylinder with a handle.
It is played by shaking the cylinder which causes the chains to rattle against the wood.
Also known as "Cable hats" or "Remote hi-hats" these are hi-hats which can be played remotely via a cable and a foot pedal.
This means the hi-hats can be placed somewhere on the kit where a traditional hi-hat stand wouldn't fit while still allowing the drummer to position the foot pedal in an easily accessible location.
The Cajón (aka Cajón de Rumba) is a percussion instrument that originated in Peru - it is a hollow wooden box with internal snares on one side.
To play the Cajón a musician sits on the box and strikes it with their hands, using a variety of techniques to create different sounds.
Castanets (aka Bones) are a percussion instrument that consists of a pair of handheld wooden idiophones. They are played by holding a pair in each hand and clicking them together.
Cha-cha is a style of dance music with Afro-Cuban origins. It is characterized by a medium tempo and has a distinct rhythmic pattern that is often played on percussion instruments.
Chimes are small bells that are usually played by "rolling" a drumstick or mallet across them. They are mounted one after the other on a stand and usually have different lengths to change the sound they make.
Also known as Chinese or Oriental cymbals, are inverted cymbals that and are typically mounted upside down on the cymbal stand meaning that instead of curving down they are curving up.
China cymbals have a quick decay which means they produce a sharp, short sound.
In drumming the term "chops" refers to a drummer's technical ability to play various patterns and musical phrases around the drumkit.
The classical bass drum is a percussion instrument that is similar in design to the bass drum found in a standard drum set, but it is larger in diameter and suspended from a frame.
It is played by striking it with handheld mallets, producing a deep, low-pitched sound.
The classical bass drum is often used in orchestras and other classical music ensembles.
Claves are percussion instruments that consist of a pair of wooden sticks that are played by striking one stick against the other.
They are a popular instrument in Salsa music, as well as in a variety of other Latin musical styles.
A clef is a symbol placed on the music staff that indicates the pitch range of the music. There are several types of clefs, including the bass clef, treble clef, and percussion clef.
The percussion clef is used specifically for notating non-pitched percussion music and is represented by two vertical lines or a vertical rectangle placed at the beginning of each line of the staff.
A click track is a metronome used in the recording studio or live performance setting to help keep the rhythm section and other musicians in sync.
It is set at a predetermined tempo and is played through headphones or earpieces so that the drummer and other musicians can hear it.
Click tracks are useful for maintaining a consistent tempo and helping musicians develop good timekeeping skills.
Common time is a musical time signature that indicates there are four beats per measure (aka 4/4 time or 4/4 time signature).
Comping is a term used in Jazz music to refer to the act of accompanying or complimenting a soloist or group of musicians. It typically involves providing a supportive rhythmic and harmonic foundation for the soloist or group to improvise over.
Congas are tall, deep-pitched drums that are typically played with the hands. They can either be mounted on a steel stand or placed directly on the floor.
Congas are a popular instrument in Latin American music.
A cowbell is a hollow metal percussion instrument that belongs to the idiophone family of instruments.
It gets its name from the similar device that is sometimes hung around the necks of domestic cows.
Cowbells are played by striking them with a drumstick or a hard mallet and are used in a variety of musical styles, such as Latin American music and Rock to add accents and create various rhythms.
Crash cymbals are a type of cymbal that is used to create accents and punctuate rhythms in music.
In contrast to a ride or hi-hat cymbal they are generally not used for keeping the tempo or establishing patterns. This is because they are thinner, which produces a brighter, more resonant sound and can cut through other instruments.
This is not always the case however and you might see drummers switch to their crash from the ride or hi-hat during the climax of a song - especially in heavier music styles such as Metal.
Crash cymbals are available in a wide range of sizes.
Cross stick (aka rim click) is a drumming technique in which the snare drum is played by striking the rim with the shoulder of the drumstick while simultaneously pressing down on the drumhead with the palm of the hand.
This creates a hollow, wood-block-like sound that is useful for changing the feel of the backbeat.
Sometimes refered to as "Antique cymbals", Crotales are a set of small pitched cymbals.
Each of these cymbals is around 4" (10cm) in diameter and are generally mounted on a straight bar slightly overlapping each other.
They are generally used in Classical music.
See quarter note.
The Cuíca is a type of percussion instrument that originated in Brazil.
The name Cuíca comes from the Portuguese word for the gray four-eyed opossum, which is known for its high-pitched cry - similar to the drum's high pitched sound.
Cymbal felts are round pieces of felt that are used on cymbal and hi-hat stands to protect the cymbals and improve the sound.
They are placed both above the cymbal (under the wing nut) and underneath to stop it rubbing against any metal or plastic parts.
A plastic attachment that sits on top of the cymbal stand - the cymbal seat is passed through the hole in the middle of the cymbal and protects them from rubbing against the metal which the wing nut is threaded on.
Metal stands to hold cymbals in place around a drum set. These stands allow drummers to position and adjust the height and angle of cymbals as needed.
Cymbals are percussion instruments that are made of thin, usually round plates of different types of copper-based metal alloys such as bell bronze, malleable bronze, brass, and nickel silver.
They are commonly used in drum kits, which usually include at least a crash, ride and a pair of hi-hat cymbals.
Musicians who play cymbals are known as cymbalists.
The Djembe is a type of African drum that has a goblet shape and is played by hand. It is usually held between the knees of the player and is commonly used in traditional and contemporary African music.
In music notation, a dot placed after a note or rest which increases the duration of that note or rest by 50%.
Traditionally this refered to two bass drums with two separate pedals, nowadays however to save both on space and costs many drummers use a single bass drum with a specially designed double bass pedal which allows them to play the single drum with both feet at the same time.
Playing the double bass can generate a powerful sound and allows drummers to match the speed of their hands with their feet.
It is often used in Hard Rock, Progressive Rock and Metal - but you can find it in other musical styles as well.
A double-stroke roll is a drumming rudiment in which the player strikes the drum or cymbal twice in quick succession with one stick, followed by two strokes on the other sticks.
The drummer continues this pattern with both hands - and this is often played at a speed which makes the strokes sound like a continuous "roll" hence the name.
Describes the range of the drumstick as it moves from up high in a downwards motion, hits the drumhead and is stopped at a low position (about an inch above the drumhead).
The downbeat can refer to the first beat of a bar, or the main pulse of a bar.
As an example - for a 4/4 time signature the downbeat is on beats beats 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Also known as the hi-hat clutch, this is a piece of drum hardware that holds the top cymbal of the hi-hat in place and connects it to the pull rod of the hi-hat stand.
A drop clutch allows the hi-hats to be locked in the closed position, freeing up a drummers foot to play other cymbals or drums with their foot while playing the hi-hats with their hands (as if they were being held shut by a foot pedal).
You will commonly see drummers that play double bass drums use this clutch.
The recurring drum pattern that drives a piece of music.
A drum dial is a tool that allows for quick and precise tuning of drums. It features a clock-like display and uses tympanic pressure measurement to achieve accurate results.
A short transition that deviates from the main drum beat a drummer has been playing.
It can be used to transition to other parts of the song, at the start or end of a song, or to add an interesting break from the main drum beat.
The method used by a drummer to hold drumsticks or other beaters. The two main drum grips are the traditional grip and the matched grip.
Matched grip also has 3 variations depending on the angle of the hands - German (palms down), French (thumbs up) and American (halfway between German and French).
Often used interchangeably for drum beat.
A portable metal tool used to adjust the tension of drumheads. Drum keys are used to turn the lugs of a drum either to tighten or loosen the heads.
An electronic musical instrument that is designed to imitate the sound of drums and other percussion instruments.
It can be programmed to play a pre-set pattern or sequence of drum sounds, or it can be played live by a musician using buttons or pads.
Drum machines have become an important part of many genres of music, including hip hop, electronic dance music, and pop.
Foundational (aka rudimentary) patterns that are used by drummers to build their co-ordination, technique, speed and musicality.
Some basic drum rudiments include single stroke (RLRL), double strokes (RRLL) and paradiddles (RLRR).
Also known as a "Drum Kit" - a number of percussion instruments grouped in a way they can be played by a single drummer.
Generally this refers to a kit that includes a snare drum, bass drum, cymbals and other drums such as tom drums.
Drum sets are often referred to by the number of drums they include, excluding cymbals. For example a 4-piece drum set will include one snare drum, one bass drum, one mounted tom and one floor tom.
The circular shell of the drum over which drumheads are fitted. Drum shells can be made of various wood species, metal alloys or acrylic.
A drum solo is a section of a piece of music where a drummer performs a solo, sometimes accompanied by the rest of the band.
Drum solos can be improvised or pre-written, and can be a showcase of the drummer's technical skill and musicianship.
Short for "drum tablature", aka drum sheet music.
Drumheads are circular pieces of plastic, mylar, or other materials that are stretched across the top and bottom of a drum to create the drum's sound.
They are held in place by a metal rim, and are divided into batter heads (the head that is struck by a beater) and resonant heads (the opposite side of the drum, that resonates and creates the drum's tone).
Drumheads come in different thicknesses, such as single-ply or double-ply, or clear vs coated finishes, which can affect the overall sound of the drum, depending on the tuning and the material of the drum shell.
A drumline is a musical ensemble that primarily features percussion instruments, such as snare drums, bass drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments.
Drumlines are commonly found in marching bands, drum corps, and indoor percussion ensembles and are popular in US High Schools and Colleges.
A two-handed drumming technique that creates a sustained sound, often played on the snare drum, also known as a buzz roll.
The pair of sticks used by drummers to play drums - they can are usually made from wood but you can find drumsticks made from carbon fiber, plastic or aluminum.
Some drumsticks also have a different material for their tips, for example you can find wooden drumsticks with nylon tips.
Drumsticks are identified by a number and letter, for example 5A and 7A drumsticks.
Refers to the relative volume level at which a section of music or individual notes are played.
Effects cymbals are a type of cymbals that are specifically designed to produce unique and specific sounds that are not typically associated with traditional cymbals. They are used to add more variety and color to a drum kit.
Some common effects cymbals include splash cymbals and china cymbals.
Egg shakers are small percussion instruments that are shaped like eggs and are filled with small beads or pellets. They are played by shaking them, which causes the beads inside to collide and create a rattling sound.
They come in various sizes and can be made of different materials such as plastic, wood or gourd.
Eighth notes, also known as quavers, are musical notes that are half the duration of a quarter note meaning that two eighth notes together are equal in duration to one quarter note.
They are written as a filled-in oval with a flag or beam extending to the right.
A type of musical instrument that uses digital technology to produce sound.
Electronic drums typically consist of a set of drum pads or triggers that are played in a similar manner to an acoustic drum set. However, instead of producing sound by striking a drum head, electronic drum pads send a signal to a sound module or computer which then produces the corresponding drum sound which is then amplified and played through speakers.
Refers to a technique where the bass drum is played with very light strokes - it's often used in jazz drumming to add a sense of subtlety and nuance to the rhythm.
See drum fill.
Finger cymbals, also known as zills, are small metal cymbals that are worn on the fingers and played by striking them together.
They are typically used in belly dancing and other types of Middle Eastern and Central Asian dance, as well as in some forms of Western folk dance.
A flam is a drum rudiment and a drumming technique that is used to create a unique sound.
It involves striking with both sticks at the same time, but with one stick hitting the drums slightly before the other. Usually the first hit is played as a grace note (softer hit) and the second hit as a full-volume note.
The result is a "flamming" sound, hence the name "flam".
A floor tom is a type of drum that is typically larger than a tom-tom and smaller than a bass drum. It is a cylindrical drum that is mounted on legs and is usually placed on the floor and played while seated.
The floor tom is known for its deep, resonant sound and is often used to provide a lower-pitched accent in a drum set.
A component of a hi-hat or bass drum pedal that the foot is placed on to operate the pedal mechanism.
A musical term that indicates that a particular passage of music should be played loudly or with emphasis. It is the opposite of piano, which indicates that a passage should be played softly.
The word forte is Italian for "strong" or "loud," and it is often abbreviated as "f" in sheet music.
Fortissimo is a musical term that indicates that a particular passage of music should be played very loudly or with strong emphasis (louder than forte).
The word fortissimo is Italian for "very strong" or "very loud," and it is often abbreviated as "ff" in sheet music.
Frame drums are a type of hand drum that have a circular frame and a drumhead stretched over one or both sides. They are played with the hands, using techniques such as striking, slapping, and muting the drumhead to produce different sounds and rhythms.
Popular frame drums include the Tar, Daf, Bendir, Tambourine and Bodhrán.
The point on a drumstick where the stick balances and pivots when played (between the thumb and pointer finger). The position of the fulcrum can affect the sound and feel of a drumstick, as well as the level of control and precision that the drummer has when playing.
A hand-held percussion instrument from Brazil, typically made of metal, that produces a rattling sound when shaken, commonly used in samba music.
In drumming, ghost notes are quiet, subtle notes that are played on the snare drum or other drums.
They are often used in conjunction with louder, more accented notes to create a sense of contrast and to add a sense of complexity and interest to the drumming.
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument that is similar to a xylophone, but with smaller and higher-pitched metal bars. It is played by striking the bars with mallets, producing a bright, clear and bell-like sound.
The instrument is typically made of a set of tuned metal bars that are arranged in a chromatic scale and mounted on a frame.
A gong is a type of cymbal that produces a deep, sustained sound that can vary greatly depending on the size and shape of the gong and how it is struck.
Gongs are typically circular in shape and can range in size from small hand-held gongs to large, mounted gongs that are several feet in diameter.
There are many different types of gongs, including tam-tams and Chinese gongs.
See drum grip.
Describes the rhythmic feel of a piece of music, and it is often used to describe the sense of swing, flow, and fluidity in a performance. It is the combination of the elements that make a piece of music feel good to listen to and dance to.
For drum grooves see also drum beat.
A güiro is a percussion instrument from Latin America, particularly from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other Caribbean countries.
It is a hollowed-out gourd or a cylinder-shaped container with parallel notches carved into one side. The instrument is played by scraping a stick or other object (such as wire brushes) along the notches, producing a characteristic scraping sound.
A half note, also known as a minim, is a musical note wtih a duration equal to two quarter notes, or half the duration of a whole note.
Percussion instruments that are played with the hands, rather than sticks or mallets.
Some common hand drums include Congas, Djembe, Bongos, Frame drums and the Bodhrán.
Hand percussion refers to a wide range of percussion instruments that are played with the hands, rather than sticks or mallets.
These instruments include a variety of drums, shakers, tambourines, and other percussion instruments that are played by striking, shaking, or rubbing the surface of the instrument to produce a sound.
A metal bell attached to a handle - played by holding them in one hand and striking the bell with a mallet to produce a sound.
See rack toms.
Short for Hi-hats.
A headless tambourine is a type of tambourine without the drumhead, it typically consists of a circular frame with small metal jingles attached to it.
It is played by holding it in one hand and striking it with the other hand or by shaking it to produce a sound.
Hi-hats are a type of cymbal used in drum kits - they consist of two cymbals that are mounted on a stand and can be opened and closed using a foot pedal.
When the pedal is pressed down, the two cymbals come together and produce a "chick" sound, when the pedal is released, the two cymbals separate and produce a "sizzle" sound.
The drummer can also play on them with drumsticks and control the sound produced by the cymbals by opening or closing the cymbals.
Idiophones are a class of musical instruments that produce sound primarily by the vibration of the instrument itself, rather than a membrane (as in drums) or strings (as in string instruments). These instruments are also known as "self-sounding" instruments.
Common idiophones include cymbals, bells, cowbells, cajon, marimbas, glockenspiels and xylophones.
Independence in drumming refers to the ability to play different rhythms or parts with each limb independently, while still maintaining coordination and cohesion in the overall pattern.
This skill allows drummers to play complex rhythms and patterns, and to add layers of rhythm and syncopation to their playing. Independence is a key skill for any drummer.
Refers to the act of improvising music without prior preparation, usually in a group setting with other musicians. It can also refer to a session where musicians come together to play informally.
As a drummer, you can also jam by yourself or with a recorded track, creating new drum parts on the spot.
Jamming is a way for musicians to explore new ideas, improve their improvisational skills, and to develop a sense of spontaneity and creativity in their playing.
An alternative spelling for Djembe.
See Timpani drum.
See bass drum.
Sometimes used interchangeably with the term "drum fill", a lick is a drum pattern or groove. Note: drum fills can sometimes be composed from multiple drum licks.
Drumming patterns in which single notes are sequenced one after another and never played at the same time.
For example a standard rock beat is not linear drumming as the hi-hat is played at the same time as the bass or snare drum. Playing a paradiddle around the drums however is a linear sticking pattern as each note is only played by one limb.
A percussion instrument made from a hollowed-out log, usually played by striking it with a mallet or stick. It is also known as a slit drum.
Lugs are small metal fittings attached to the drum shell which secure the tension rods. Lugs come in two main types: tube lugs and imperial lugs.
Tube lugs are cylindrical in shape and have less surface touching the drum shells, imperial lugs have a more complex and vintage shape.
Mallets are tools that are used to strike a variety of percussion instruments, such as xylophones, marimbas, vibraphones, and glockenspiels.
Mallets are typically made of wood or plastic, and typically have a round or cylindrical head. The head is often covered with rubber, yarn, or felt.
A percussion instrument that originated in Latin America. They consist of a hollow gourd or shell, which is filled with small beads or seeds, and is then sealed shut. The gourd is then attached to a handle, which is usually made of wood.
Maracas are played by shaking them back and forth, which causes the beads or seeds inside to rattle and make noise.
A marching band is a type of musical ensemble that performs while moving on foot and are most commonly associated with American high school and college football games, parades, and patriotic events.
The band typically consists of woodwinds, brass, percussion, and color guard (flags, rifles, sabers) performers. The band members usually wear uniforms and march in formation while playing their instruments.
The style of music played by a marching band is typically upbeat and includes a variety of genres such as classical, jazz, and popular music.
Similar to a Xylophone, however the Marimba has wooden bars instead of metal bars which gives it a deeper, warmer tone. It is played by striking the wooden bars with mallets.
See drum grip.
Commonly referred to as a thumb piano, the Mbira consists of a wooden board with metal or bamboo keys that are plucked with the thumbs or fingers.
Membranophones are a class of musical instruments that produce sound by vibrating a stretched membrane.
They are the most common type of drums, and include instruments such as the snare drum, bass drum, tom-tom drums, bongos, congas, timpani and djembe.
A memory lock for drums is a device that is used to secure the height and angle of a drum or cymbal stand. They're especially useful for drummers who frequently move their kit around (e.g. for gigs).
A metronome is a device that produces a steady pulse or beat, usually at a specific tempo, to help musicians keep time.
The tempo is usually measured in beats per minute (BPM) and can be adjusted to match the desired tempo of the music.
The pulse is produced by a mechanical or electronic mechanism, and can be heard through a speaker or visualized on a display.
Short for microphone.
See half note.
The Moeller Stroke (or Moeller Method) is a drumming technique named after its founder, Sanford A. Moeller. It is a method of drumming that emphasizes the use of a specific technique for playing the drums, known as the "Moeller stroke."
The Moeller stroke involves a snapping motion of the wrist and arm to strike the drum, which allows for efficient, relaxed and powerful playing.
This method also emphasizes the use of the "bounce" technique, which involves letting the stick rebound off the drumhead after each stroke rather than using the hand muscles to "pick" the stick back up.
Moongel is a brand of dampening gel that is used to reduce unwanted overtones and sustain by sticking it to the drumhead.
The Mridangam is a percussion instrument that is commonly used in Indian classical music, particularly in the South Indian (Carnatic) tradition.
It is a double-sided drum that is made of wood and is covered on both sides with animal skin. The drum is played by hand and is held on the lap of the performer.
The Ngoma drum is typically large, with a cylindrical shape and a hollow body made from wood. It is usually played with the hands, although in some cultures it is also played with sticks.
Notation is the system of symbols and conventions used to represent music in written form. It allows a musician to read and play a piece of music that they have never heard before.
In music, a note is a symbol that represents a specific pitch and duration of a sound.
Notes are typically represented on a musical staff, which is a set of five lines and four spaces used to notate music. Each line and space on the staff corresponds to a specific pitch, with the higher pitches on the staff represented by higher lines and spaces, and lower pitches represented by lower lines and spaces. In drum notation the height corresponds to which drum or cymbal the note should be played.
Notes can also be represented by other symbols, such as letters or numbers.
The duration of a note, or how long it should be played, is represented by the shape of the note.
Octobans are a set of small, cylindrical drums that are usually made of acrylic or wood. They have a diameter of about 6 inches and a depth of about 8 inches and are tuned to specific pitches.
Odd time refers to a musical time signature that has an odd number of beats in a measure, as opposed to an even time signature. Examples of odd time signatures include 5/4, 7/8, and 9/8.
These time signatures can create a syncopated or irregular rhythmic feel, and are often used in jazz, progressive rock, and other forms of experimental music.
The off-beat refers to the rhythmic accent that falls between the main beats in a measure. It is the opposite of the downbeat and is often used to add syncopation to a groove.
See also upbeat.
Orchestral crash cymbals are a type of hand-held cymbals used in orchestral, concert band music and marching bands. They come in pairs and are played by striking them together or "sliding" them together.
Orchestration is the art and technique of arranging music for an orchestra or other ensemble. In drumming terms this relates to how patterns are played across the drum set.
An ostinato is a repeating melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern that serves as the background or accompaniment to the main melody in a piece of music.
In drumming this is played by repeating a pattern with one or more limbs while playing on top of it with the other limbs.
Pan drums, also known as steel drums or steel pans, are a type of percussion instrument that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. They are made from metal drums that have been cut and shaped into a musical instrument.
The steel drum is played with mallets or sticks, and is capable of producing a wide range of musical notes, making it a versatile and unique instrument.
The pandeiro is a type of hand-held frame drum, similar to a tambourine, from Brazil.
A paradiddle is a drum rudiment that alternates between the right and left hands. It consists of four strokes: RLRR ("right-left-right-right") or LRLL ("left-right-left-left").
See foot pedal.
A percussion instrument is any musical instrument that is played by being struck, shaken, or scraped. These instruments are often classified into two main categories: unpitched and pitched percussion.
Unpitched percussion instruments are those that do not produce a definite pitch, such as drums, tambourines, maracas, and cymbals. These instruments are often used to provide a steady beat or rhythmic foundation for a piece of music.
Pitched percussion instruments, such as xylophones, glockenspiels, and timpani, produce a definite pitch when struck and can play a melody or harmony.
In drumming, permutation refers to the process of taking a basic drum pattern or rudiment and changing the order or placement of the strokes to create variations or new patterns.
The way in which a drummer organizes and groups their beats, fills, and solos to create a sense of structure and musical expression.
Pianissimo (often abbreviated as "ppp" in sheet music) is a dynamic marking that indicates that a passage of music should be played very softly (softer than "Piano").
Refers to the musical notation (not musical instrument in this case) to play a piece of music softly. In Italian Piano means "softly" and is notated as "pp".
Refers to the number of layers a drumhead is composed of. Most drumheads are made from a single or double ply.
In music, "the pocket" refers to the rhythmic feel or groove that a group of musicians create when playing together. It is the sense of timing and placement that makes the music feel cohesive and together.
A band or ensemble that is "in the pocket" is said to be playing in a tight, unified, and rhythmic way.
A polyrhythm is the simultaneous playing of two time signatures in a piece of music.
For example, a simple polyrhythm would be playing a pattern of 3 beats against a pattern of 4 beats.
A practice pad is a small, portable device that is designed to simulate the feel of a drumhead. They are used by drummers to practice their technique and rudiments without making a lot of noise.
Practice pads come in a variety of sizes and materials, but most commonly they are made of rubber or silicone and are roughly the same size as a snare drum head (although they can be smaller).
Refers to the underlying and regular beat or rhythm that gives a piece of music its sense of movement and flow. The pulse can be thought of as the "heartbeat" of the music.
A time signature that has four beats in a measure. The most common quadruple time signature is 4/4, also known as common time. It is represented by a time signature of four quarter notes (crotchets) per measure.
Another quadruple time signature is 4/2, which has four half notes per measure. This time signature is not as common as 4/4, but it can be found in some classical music.
A quarter note (also called a crotchet) is a type of note that represents one-fourth of the duration of a whole note. It is represented by a filled-in note head with a stem attached, and is equal to one beat in a 4/4 time signature.
See eighth notes.
The smallest and highest pitched type of conga drum.
A quintuplet is a group of five notes that are played in the time usually occupied by four notes.
Rack toms are drums that are mounted on a stand or rack, typically above the bass drum in a drum kit. They are smaller than the floor tom and are used to provide a higher-pitched sound.
A long, narrow tube, traditionally made from cactus or bamboo, that is filled with small beads or pebbles. When the rain stick is turned or shaken, the beads inside fall and create a sound that resembles the sound of rain.
See cable remote hi-hats.
The natural vibration and sound that a drum produces after it has been struck, in other words the sound that continues to be heard after the initial impact of the drumstick.
A resonant head, also known as a bottom head, is the head of a drum that is not struck by the drumstick, but instead vibrates in response to the impact of the striking head.
In music notation, a rest is a symbol that indicates a period of silence. Rests indicate the length of time that a musician should be silent during a piece of music.
In music, rhythm refers to the pattern of sounds and silences that give music its sense of movement and flow.
It is the arrangement of beats, accents, and other elements that create a sense of timing and structure in a piece of music.
Rhythm is one of the fundamental elements of music, along with dynamics, form, harmony, melody, texture, timbre and tonality.
A larger, thicker cymbal that is commonly used in drum kits. Most drummers will place the ride cymbal on the opposite site of the kit to the hi-hats.
Drummers will often swap to playing on the ride cymbal instead of the hi-hats to change the sound of a groove for certain sections of songs.
In genres such as Jazz and Blues the ride cymbal is used as the main timekeeping element.
Also known as a "drum hoop", a drum rim refers to the metal ring that surrounds the drumhead of a drum. It is used to hold the drumhead in place and to provide a surface for the drumhead to be tensioned against.
Drummers also play rim shots against this, by hitting the rim and drumhead simultaneously.
See cross stick.
A technique in which the drummer hits the drumhead while simultaneously hitting the rim of the drum. This creates a louder sound and is often used for accents or the backbeat.
See drum rudiment.
A ruff is similar to a flam but instead of one grace note being played before the accent two grace notes are played.
Samba is a popular Brazilian music genre and dance style that originated in the late 19th century in the Afro-Brazilian communities of Rio de Janeiro.
The samba rhythm is characterized by a syncopated beat and is typically played on drums, such as the tamborim, pandeiro, and surdo.
See sixteenth notes.
See whole notes.
Typically a percussion instrument filled with small objects such as beads, which are shaken to produce the sound.
A shekere is a percussion instrument that originates from West Africa. It is traditionally made from a gourd that is covered with a netting made from beads or shells. The netting is then shaken or struck to create a jingling or rattling sound.
See drum shell.
In classical music a snare is often referred to as a side drum.
The single-stroke roll is a basic drum rudiment that involves playing a series of alternating single strokes (RLRL).
Sixteenth notes, also known as semiquavers, are musical notes that are one-sixteenth the duration of a whole note. They are typically represented by a filled-in note head and four flags or beams in sheet music.
In a 4/4 time signature each beat can be divided into four equal parts called sixteenth notes.
Sixteenth notes are played twice as fast as eighth notes, four times as fast as quarter notes, and eight times as fast as half notes.
See log drum.
A snare basket is a metal frame on the snare stand that the snare drum sits in.
One of the most important drums in a drum kit. The snare drum is often used to play the main groove, backbeat and grace notes.
What makes it unique are the snare wires under the resonant head, which create a slight buzzing sound when engaged and produce a brighter, snappier tone.
A snare strainer is a mechanism found on the side of a snare drum that allows the player to adjust the tension of the snares (the thin metal wires stretched across the bottom head of the drum) and control the sound of the snare drum.
Snares are a set of thin metal, carbon steel or nylon wires, that are stretched across the bottom head of a snare drum.
The snares are are held under tension by a mechanism called a strainer, which allows the player to adjust the tension of the snares to achieve different sounds.
When the top head of the snare drum is struck with a stick, the snares vibrate against the bottom head, creating a sharp, snappy sound that is unique to the snare drum.
A splash cymbal is a small, thin cymbal that produces a quick, sharp "splash" sound when struck. Splash cymbals come in various sizes and are typically 8 inches or smaller.
See pan drum.
Sticking is a term used to refer a drum pattern that also instructs with which hand each note should be played.
Commonly used in Brazilian music, specifically in the style of Samba the Surdo is a large, bass drum that is played with a mallet and typically mounted on a stand.
Swing can refer to the Jazz “spang-a-lang” pattern or to playing a beat with a more "human" and less "robotic" feel.
Syncopation is the technique of placing beats in unexpected locations - this can be done by stressing the offbeats or weak beats in a measure and de-emphasizing the strong beats.
A tabla is a percussion instrument that is commonly used in Indian classical music, as well as in traditional and popular music from the Indian subcontinent. It consists of two drums, the smaller drum is called the "daya" and the larger drum is called the "baya".
The daya is played with the right hand and the baya with the left hand. The tabla is played by striking the drums with the fingers and palms of the hands.
Short for "tablature" and refers to drum tablature or drum sheet music.
A talking drum is a type of drum that is used in West Africa, and it is known for its ability to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech.
It is typically an hourglass-shaped drum, made from wood and animal skin, and it is played with sticks. The drum is held under the arm, and the player can vary the tension of the drumhead by squeezing the rope that runs along the drum's sides with the non-playing hand which changes the pitch of the drum.
A tambourine is a percussion instrument consisting of a circular frame, typically made of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zills," attached around the frame.
The tambourine can be played by shaking it or striking it with the hand.
Temple blocks, also known as Chinese blocks, are a set of small hollowed-out wooden percussion instruments with a slit that are struck with a mallet.
Tempo is the pace or speed at which a piece of music is performed. It is typically measured in beats per minute (BPM).
A tenor drum is a percussion instrument that is similar in size and shape to a snare drum, but it is played with mallets rather than drumsticks. It is typically used in drum corps, marching bands, and military bands.
Tenor drums can be played as a single drum but often come in sets of 3 or more drums.
Long metal rods that are located around the circumference of a drum and used to adjust and maintain the tension of the drumheads on a drum.
The drum stool or seat that is used by drummers while playing.
The throne is typically a round, padded seat that sits on a height-adjustable metal rod. It is designed to be comfortable for the drummer to sit on for long periods of time and to be adjustable to the drummer's height and preference.
A throw-off is a mechanism found on the side of a snare drum that allows the player to quickly and easily disengage the snares (the thin metal wires stretched across the bottom head of the drum) and control the sound of the snare drum.
When the throw-off is engaged, the snares are in contact with the bottom head of the drum and produce a sharp, crisp sound. When the throw-off is disengaged, the snares are lifted away from the bottom head of the drum and the sound is more open and resonant.
Timbales are a pair of small single-headed drums that are commonly used in Latin American music. They are typically made of metal and have a cylindrical shape and are played with a pair of thin sticks called timbalitos and are known for their sharp, crisp sound.
A time signature is a musical notation that appears at the beginning of a piece of sheet music, and it indicates the number of beats in a measure and the value of the note that represents one beat.
The time signature is typically represented by two numbers, one written above the other, such as 4/4, 3/4, or 6/8.
Timpani drums, also known as kettledrums or timps, are a type of percussion instrument that have a cylindrical shape and are played with a pedal-operated mechanism that tightens or loosens the drumhead to change the pitch of the drum.
Also known as tom-toms or tom-tom drums, the toms are one of the main drum types in a drum set.
They are deeper and more resonant than a snare drum, but lower than a bass drum.
They can be mounted (rack toms) or stood on a stand on the floor (floor toms).
See zero ring.
See drum grip.
The triangle is a small percussion instrument consisting of a metal rod bent into the shape of a triangle, with one corner left open to be struck with a small metal beater. It produces a bright, clear and high-pitched sound.
A triplet is a group of three notes played within the duration of two notes of the same duration.
Tubular bells, also known as chimes or orchestral bells, are a type of percussion instrument that consists of a set of long, hollow tubes made of metal that are struck with a mallet to produce a bell-like sound.
The tumba is the largest and lowest-pitched drum from the conga drums.
A category of percussion instruments that are played with mallets and are capable of producing a specific pitch. These instruments include instruments such as xylophones, marimbas, vibraphones, and glockenspiels.
See drum key.
The udu is a percussion instrument from Nigeria, it is a vessel drum that is played with the hands. It is typically made of clay or ceramic and has a distinct hourglass shape.
It has a small hole on one side and a larger hole on the other, the smaller hole is used to play the higher pitched tones and the larger hole is used to play the lower pitched tones.
The upbeat is the opposite of the downbeat, it is the rhythmic accent that falls between the beats. It is the unaccented part of the beat, the "and" in "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and" in 4/4 time.
The upbeat is usually considered as the "weak" part of the beat, in contrast to the downbeat which is the "strong" part of the beat.
A vibraphone, also known as "vibes," is a percussion instrument that is similar to a xylophone, but it has a motor-driven mechanism that causes the bars to vibrate.
Whole notes, also known as semibreves, are the longest type of musical note in Western music notation.
They are represented by an open, circular note head and have no stems or flags.
A whole note is held for the duration of four beats in 4/4 time signature, or the entire duration of a measure in other time signatures.
X-hats are hi-hats that do not have a foot pedal. They can be locked in the closed or open position and can be positioned further away from the drummer (due to the lack of a pedal) and are often used as secondary hi-hats.
A xylophone is a percussion instrument that consists of a set of wooden or metal bars that are struck with mallets to produce sound. The bars are arranged in a keyboard-like fashion and each bar has a specific pitch.
Yé-yé is a style of French pop music that emerged in the 1960s. It is characterized by its upbeat tempo, catchy melodies, and lyrics that often dealt with teenage love and rebellion. The term "yé-yé" is an onomatopoeia that imitates the sound of a guitar or a vocalized "yeah."
A zero ring, also known as an "o-ring" or a "drum muffling ring," is a ring-shaped device that is placed on the drum head (near the rim) to reduce the sustain and the amount of ring of the drum.
It is typically made of foam, rubber, or other materials that are designed to absorb some of the energy of the drumhead when it is struck.
See finger cymbals.
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