Djembes for sale at a market in Ghana
Image credit: © ZSM, 2012
by Philina Richardson
On November 21, 2014, Evans Library and The Love Hut will offer an evening of music, history, and fun on the first floor of the library. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to play and listen to a wide assortment of drums, including: West African djembes, African djun djuns, Middle Eastern doumbeks, and Native American frame drums. Selected drums will also be available for purchase.
Want to hear the drums in action? Watch the video below!
Djembes (or Jembes, see above photo), are goblet-shaped drums (Blades et al., 2014) that are of particular cultural significance in the West African counties of Mali and Guinea (Charry, 2014). Played with bare hands, the drum head is usually made of goatskin and kept under high tension.
Image credit: © Libertad y Saber, 2011
Djun djuns (or dunun, or dundun) are cylindrical drums that are often played together with djembes (Charry, 2014).
Image credit: © Kevin Hartnell, 2007
Doumbeks are another form of goblet drums, this time originating in the Middle East (Blades et al., 2014).
Image credit: © Quadell, 2005
Just like their name implies, frame drums utilize a frame over which one or two drum heads are stretched and attached. These drums may be hand-beaten, or may be played with a stick.
Drums are some of the most widely used instruments, being found in nearly every culture across the world (Blades et al., 2014; Drums, 2014). As we saw above, drums can be made in many shapes and forms, including bowls, tubes (which can be cylindrical, barrel-shaped, double-conical-shaped, hourglass-shaped, spherical, or goblet-shaped), and frames. Cylindrical drums can be found in nearly all parts of the world, and goblet drums are of particular significance in West Africa (Blades et al., 2014). The drums described here, (unlike the bass and snare drums most of us are familiar with) can be tuned; by changing the tension of the drum head, a drummer can increase or decrease the drum’s pitch (Blades et al., 2014).
Drums are incredibly versatile instruments that are featured in the music of nearly every culture on earth. We hope that you’ll join us on November 21st to join us in our drum circle, and to learn more about djembes, djun djuns, doumbeks, and frame drums!
Errata: The title was edited to correct the event time.
Blades, J., Page, J.K., Bowles, E.A., … Holland, J. (2014). “Drum.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/51410>.
Charry, E. (2014). “Jembe.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/42013>.
Drums. (2014). In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Retrieved from http://search.credoreference.com.portal.lib.fit.edu/content/entry/heliconhe/drum/0