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.
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.
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.
A drum that is designed to be played whilst moving is known as a marching percussion instrument.
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.