About Drum Sets
A drum set or drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments that are played by a single drummer. Originally, drums and cymbals were played separately by several percussionists using handheld sticks - one drummer would play the snare, another would play the bass drum, another on crash cymbals. However, the rise of New Orleans jazz prompted drummers to develop methods that allowed a single drummer to do the job of multiple percussionists. Around 1894, Edward "Dee Dee" Chandler invented a wooden pedal, so that he could sit and play the bass drum with his foot while playing the snare drum with his sticks. This technique was called "double-drumming." Drummers also began to use their other foot to keep time with a "low-boy" or "sock cymbal." These drum sets were called "trap sets," a shortened version of "contraption." Warren "Baby" Dodds was one of that era's most prominent trap drummers.
Development of the modern kit
Throughout the early 1900s, drummers experimented with all sorts of pedals. One early pedal was called an "overhang pedal," which was widely used by ragtime and Dixieland bands. In 1909, the Ludwig & Ludwig Co. patented the first workable bass drum pedal system, which gave rise to the evolution of the modern drum kit. By the 1930s, jazz drummers were playing streamlined kits, typically four-piece drum sets with a bass, snare, tom, and floor tom, along with hi-hats, a crash cymbal, and sometimes a separate ride cymbal. By the 1960s, the advent of rock music sparked a trend toward larger drum sets.
Anatomy of a drum kit
Drum sets contain three basic types of drums: a bass drum (sometimes called a kick), a snare, and toms. The bass drum is the lowest-pitched drum in the set, played by a pedal operated by the drummer's foot, and is used to provide the basic pulse. The snare drum, which can be tuned tightly for a high crack or loosely for more of a thump, is mounted on a stand between the drummer's knees. It delivers a counterpoint to the bass drum and can also be used to create stylistic accents. Tom-toms (toms for short) are tuned to different pitches and used for fills, solos, and adding tonal color. Drum kits can contain any number of toms.
A drum set wouldn't be complete without cymbals. A basic setup includes ride, crash, and hi-hat. The ride cymbal is used most often for keeping a constant-rhythm pattern. The hi-hats, which sit atop a stand and are controlled by a foot pedal, serve a similar function to the ride cymbal. For this reason, the ride and hi-hats are rarely played simultaneously. Changing between the two is frequently used to mark a change in musical passages (i.e. from verse to chorus). Crash cymbals create an explosive sound and are used for creating bold accents. Other cymbals, such as splash and China cymbals, are used to create effects and accents. Learn More
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