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FAQ Main Menu > World & Folk Drums

World and Folk Drum Information and FAQs


Atabal | Atabaque | Bandir | Bata (African) | Bata Drums | Bomba | Bombo | Bongos | Buleador | Caixa | Caja | Cajon | Congas | Cuica | Dafe | Daire | Darabuka | Dholak | Djembe | Do-Table | Dohol (Iranian) | Dohollah | Duf | Dumbeck | Dumbeg | Dundun | Emele Abo | Fa'Atete | Frame Drum | Gangan | Ghatam | Iyailu | Kultrun | Kundu Drum | Omele | Pahu | Pahu Tupa'L Rima | Pandeiro | Rebolo | Repinique | Repique De Mao | Samba Drums | Subidor | Surdo | Tabl | Tabla | Tabor | Taiko Drum | Talking Drum | Tambora/tanbora | Tamborim | Tambour | Tantan | Tapan | Tarambuka | Thavil | Timba | Timbales | Tonbak | Udu


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Definition: cylindrical double-headed bass drum of the Basque region; wider than tall.


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Definition: general term for a conical single-headed drum of Brazil; usually played in threes, each of different size.


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Definition: or Bendir; North African tambourine, round wooden 40 or 59 cm across, with two strings stretched under its skin to produce a buzzing sound, Morroco, Algeria, Tunisia.
Introduction: A wide, shallow frame drum usually with two gut snares played with the fingers and popular in the Maghreb area of North Africa. Somtimes played together with Darabuka. The player tensions/tunes the back of the skin with the fingers while playing.

Bata (African)

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Definition: set of three drums: the 'iyailu' or "mother drum", a talking drum; the 'emele abo' is the second drum, smaller and higher pitched; the 'omele' is the base of the set and consists of 3 or 4 small drums tied together.

Bata Drums

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Definition: set of three double-headed religious drums used in Cuba. The Iya, Itotele and Okonkolo.


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Definition: Drums used for Bomba music in Puerto Rico, Ecuador and probably other areas with African traditions. In Puerto Rico there are two drums played together for the Bomba, the Buleador(bass) and the Subidor or Primo (lead)


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Definition: large sheepskin drum. from Spain and South America. The latin American type is made from a hollowed tree, and played with a stick and a mallet.


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Definition: Two small drums, one larger (and lower pitched, usually by about a fifth) than the other which are held between the knees and played with both hands. Traced back to Cuba in the late 1800s, and probably originating from Africa.
Introduction: Two small drums, one larger (and lower pitched, usually by about a fifth) than the other which are held between the knees and played with both hands. Bongo drums have been traced back to Cuba in the late 1800s, and are still largely associated with Latin music. There is some evidence to suggest that bongoes were brought to Cuba from Africa by slaves under the Spanish, and were previously used by some African tribes in religious ceremonies.
Read the full Bongos FAQ Page.


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Definition: Bass drum used for Bomba music in Puerto Rico.


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Definition: Samba drums from Brazil, usually with metal body approx 12" head. Caixa Tarol is shallowest, Caixa Malacacheta next and the Repinique is the biggest.


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Definition: Frame drum, sometimes with snare, of Spain and the New World.


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Definition: Cuban box drum, made from a wooden box.
Introduction: The Cajon is the Spanish/Latin American percussion box (the word cajon means box). It has become very popular this century partly because the tone of the box is clean and does not ring on and so works very well to accompany stringed instruments, for instance a flamenco guitar. The player sits on the cajon and plays the front plate with the tips of the fingers and the palm of the hand.
Read the full Cajon FAQ Page.


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Definition: The Congas are a tall pair of wooden framed hand drums also known in Cuba as Tumbadora.
Introduction: The Congas are a tall pair of wooden framed hand drums also known in Cuba as Tumbadora. They are made from staves of wood like a barrel. They usually are played standing, with the drums held upright side by side in a stand, but can also be played seated with the drums on the floor. The player uses both the fingers and palms of the hand. Sometimes two pairs of Congas are used together.
Read the full Congas FAQ Page.


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Definition: Brazilian friction drum with a remarkable pitch range.


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Definition: Arabic Frame drum, sometimes has metal rings inside to make a jingle effect. Also known as Duf, and Daf (in Iran).
Introduction: Another very popular instrument across North Africa in into the Middle East and Turkey is the Dafe. This is a wide shallow hand drum often with brass jingles. The sides are often ornately inlaid. They are usually available in three or more different diameters. The Dafe is played rather like the smaller western tambourine.


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Definition: round, single-headed drum of south-eastern Europe, Asia etc.


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Definition: One-sided hourglass-shaped drum; Northern Africa, Middle East
Introduction: A goblet shaped drum with North African origins. Spread throughout Ottoman empire and now the universal drum of the Arab world and Turkey. The Pakistani dumbeck is of the same family. Made of metal, originally copper, but now often from aluminium or clay. It is played under the arm, with finger flicking movements to rap the edge of the drum. The head is usually of plastic, originally animal skin and clay darabukas with fish skin are popular in the middle east.
Read the full Darabuka FAQ Page.


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Definition: (or Dhol) double ended drum traditionally used in weddings across the Indian subcontinent.
Introduction: An Indian double ended barrel shaped drum, the Dhol is larger, played with sticks and very loud, while the smaller Dholak is played with hands, and capable of more sophisticated rhythms. They can be either rope or mechanically tensioned. They are used for banghra music, regional folk music and all elebrations and weddings. The Naal is very similar but thinner and longer and has a tabla style head.


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Definition: One-sided mushroom-shaped drum from west coast of Africa.
Introduction: The Djembe with its wide range of tones, produced by its thick goat skin, tight tuning and shape, is West Africa's most popular drum, originating hundreds of years ago. Today it is found throughout West Africa but it is traditionally from Senegal, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast amongst the Bambara, Mandingo, Malinka, Susu & Guru tribes. It is carved by artisans out of a solid lump of African hardwood into a goblet shape & has a goat skin which is tensioned with rope to a very high pitch.
Read the full Djembe FAQ Page.


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Definition: Iranian/Kurdish pair of brass drums, played with leather straps. Related to the Indian Tabla.

Dohol (Iranian)

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Definition: Iranian/Kurdish double ended drum played with sticks, used in ceremonies.


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Definition: the brass Tabla.


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Definition: A Mazhar but without the cymbals. Also known as Dafe in Egypt.


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Definition: small brass drum from Pakistan, similar to Turkish darabuka and Iranian Tonbak.


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Definition: (or Dumbeck) hour glass-shaped drum similar to darabuka.


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Definition: African; set of 4 drums, the 'iyailu' member is shaped like an hour glass and has a skin on each side, linked by tension strings (by pressing these, up to 2 octaves can be played); but only played one-sided.

Emele Abo

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Definition: Tahitian drum, covered in a tight, single membrane; distinst, high sound like a drum roll.

Frame Drum

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Definition: Frame Drum is a generic description of all drums with a skin stretched over a hoop of wood.
Introduction: Frame Drum is a generic description of all drums with a skin stretched over a hoop of wood. It is generally used to refer to thin wide drums often with a cross piece of wood or rope. The Frame Drums sold by Hobgoblin are round and rope tensioned with a knot of rope to the rear by which the drum is held. Multi-sided frame drums are also common. This type of drum is used by the native inhabitants of Siberia and North America, and is often associated with Shamanism.


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Definition: Nigerian drum, smaller than Dundun; played under the arm.


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Definition: South Indian clay pot; classical percussion.


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Definition: Talking drum from Southern Nigeria. Also spelt Iya-Ilu.


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Definition: Sacred drum of the Mapuche people in Argentina and Chile. Made of bark and animal skin with small sacred objects inside to rattle. It is played by a Shaman or "Machi" (usually female).

Kundu Drum

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Definition: The Kundu drum is the ceremonial drum of Papua New Guinea. Made from a length of hollowed out tree aproximately 1m, long, with a snake or reptile skin head.


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Definition: The baby drums in the Bata family.


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Definition: Tahitian bass drum; double-headed membranophone; Western origin; can be of hollowed out coconut trunks, covered by either sharkskin or calfskin.

Pahu Tupa'L Rima

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Definition: Tahitian single membrane drum, not unlike a tall conga.


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Definition: Either frame drum or tambourine of Portugal, Brazil and Galicia (Spain).


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Definition: Brazilian Drum.


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Definition: Brazilian samba drum.

Repique De Mao

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Definition: Brazilian drum.

Samba Drums

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Definition: A particular group of drums used to make up a Brazilian Samba band. Tamborim, Caixa Tarol, Caixa Malacacheta, Repinique and Surdo.
Introduction: Brazilian Samba

The instruments for carnival are very popular across the world, not just in Brazil. They comprise the Tamborim, 6" diameter tambourine usually with a fibre body, the Repinique 12"x12" aluminium shell, the Caixa Tarol 12"x 5" aluminium shell, the Caixa Malacacheta 12"x 8" aluminium shell and the bass drum, the Surdo which varies from 18" to 24" in diameter on a 24" deep rim - usually wood, but sometimes aluminium.
Read the full Samba Drums FAQ Page.


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Definition: lead drum used for Bomba music in Puerto Rico.


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Definition: Brazilian bass drum for Samba.


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Definition: A Middle Eastern/North African large bass drum almost identical to the


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Definition: (or tabla-bayan) - NB Indian: an asymmetrical pair of small, tuned hand played drums (of the kettle-drum type) of north and central India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; the tabla drum is of wood, the Bayan of metal.
Introduction: The Tabla is a pair of tuned drums used in Indian classical music and is a very important instrument in the sub-continent. It is played with the hands while sitting on the gound, the right drum is carved from wood and is called the dayan, daya or dagga. The left drum is larger and of bowl shaped metal and known as the bayan or baya.
Read the full Tabla FAQ Page.


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Definition: double headed rope tension drum from England, often played one handed with a 3 hole Tabor Pipe in the other hand.
Introduction: Tabor Drums are the traditional English drum, ideal for accompanying Morris and other dance displays. Mediaeval Tabor drums were made with a rolled and stitched skin and rope tensioned, modern designs use a more practical wooden tension rim. We stock drums with the wooden hoop, but the mediaeval type is available to order. Small handheld tabors are used when playing a tabor pipe.
Read the full Tabor FAQ Page.

Taiko Drum

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Definition: Japanese Taiko drums are typically made from one piece of hollowed-out wood, with a cow skin stretched over each end. They range in size from six inches to a massive six feet in diameter.

Talking Drum

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Definition: West African hourglass shaped double-ended drum carved from solid wood.
Introduction: The Talking Drum is an hourglass shaped double ended drum held under the arm. The player used a curved stick to beat one end while squeezeing the tension ropes which connect the two skins to vary the tone to emulate the pattern of human speech.
Read the full Talking Drum FAQ Page.


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Definition: double-headed drum of the Dominican Republic Used to play merengue rhythm


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Definition: handheld drum of Brazil, between 15 and 30 cm dia; played with a switch.


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Definition: French side drum, similar to English Tabor, the term covers other types of drum also.


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Definition: Brazilian drum.


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Definition: Double-headed drum 50 to 60cm diameter, rope strung. Found in Bulgaria.


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Definition: Bulgarian clay drum, similar to the Turkish and Arabic Darabuka.


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Definition: two-headed drum originating from Southern India; for festivals.


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Definition: Tall tapered Brazilian drum.


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Definition: Pair of metal-shelled, single-headed, cylindrical drums from Cuba


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Definition: drum used in Iranian classical music; carved from wood, open at the lower end, covered with goat or calf-skin at the wider, upper end; played with the fingers of both hands. Also known in Pakistan as Dumbeck.


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Definition: Clay pot with 2 holes, cupped alternatively; sound produced by compression and release of the air inside it.
Introduction: The Udu is a clay pot drum popular in West Africa. The two holes are cupped alternately with the hands and the sound is produced by compression and release of the air inside it.