The history of marching drums

The sound of drums has been used in various contexts throughout history, from ancient rituals to war marches. However, one particular type of drum has a rich and fascinating history that has captivated audiences worldwide for centuries - the marching drum. Marching drums have been used in military and marching band music for centuries, dating back to ancient Rome. The drum was used as a way to keep soldiers in step and maintain a consistent pace during marches. As time passed, the marching drum became an essential part of military parades and ceremonies.

In the 19th century, the marching drum became particularly popular in the African American community. Bands like the Black Brigade and the Fisk Jubilee Singers incorporated the drum into their musical performances, creating a unique sound that soon became associated with marching bands.

The rich history of marching drums provides a sense of unity, rhythm, and excitement that captivates any audience. Whether you're watching a military parade or a halftime show, the sound of the marching drum is sure to get your heart racing and your feet tapping along. So next time you hear the sound of a marching drum, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and cultural significance behind this iconic instrument.

The first type of marching drum

The history of drums, in general, is said to date back to 3000 BC however, marching drums date all the way back to the 1300s. The drum that you see today is very different from the original that is known as a Tabor. The tabor drum was played by holding a piece of rope in one hand whilst beating the drum with a stick or pipe in the other.

The drum was double-headed and the bottom of the instrument was a snare. The tabor became the most popular during the 1400s which is when it was used for military purposes as part of the Swiss and Ottoman armies. The tabor drum then formed two new revolutionary instruments – the snare drum that you see today. Being used by bands as part of a full drum kit and of course the more modernised marching drum that you can put around you and march the streets with two wooden beaters.

How much do marching drums cost?

Whilst the use of a marching drum used to be traditional when performing a march. Nowadays, the older designs are more of an ornamental piece with antiquity value. These can be found on popular websites selling from about £50 to over £470. 

Modern uses for marching drums

Today, marching drums are used in a variety of contexts, from military parades to halftime shows at football games. Modern marching drums are made of lightweight materials and designed to be highly durable, making them ideal for use in outdoor performances.

More modern designed marching drums make great gifts for children. They are a fantastic starter instrument that can help your child learn basic concepts of music such as rhythm, creativity and expression. They are also suitable for use at festival style events. It is still difficult to believe that the roman soldiers would march for around 20-30 miles per day. The marching drum would have been used during the war to help military soldiers synchronise for the battle formation and to communicate commanding messages.

Are marching drums popular?

declining interest in marching drums

Whilst marching drums are seeing a decline in interest in the past 20 years. The percussion instruments are still being used worldwide and sound effects recorded from them are still being commonly used in aged and modern films. Marching drums have a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries and continents.

From ancient Rome to modern-day America, these instruments have played a critical role in military and marching band music, providing a sense of unity, rhythm, and excitement that is sure to captivate any audience. So next time you hear the thundering sound of a marching drum, take a moment to appreciate the long and storied history behind this beloved instrument.

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