Vocalism principle

Drum is the most frequently used musical instrument. It can give people the most direct and shocked feelings. When U-Theatre is playing the drum, the role played by "drum" is usually used to strengthen the rhythm, increase the sound and improve the atmosphere. The changing timbres can always affect people and resonate with nature. What vocalism principle does the "drum" use? The following is the comparison between big drum and snare drum by our team “Thunder King of Drums”.

The comparative statement of vocalism principles and sounds:

Type Snare drum Big drum
Photo 小鼓 大鼓
Photo credit: http://www.nipic.com/show/1/37/14cfa7381dd3c8f9.html http://www.baike.com/gwiki/胶东大鼓
Vocalism principle
Two drum heads are placed on the cylinder-shaped drum body. When the upper drum head is beaten by drum stick, the lower drum head will shake with it, and the steel wires below the drum bottom will also shake, thus producing rustle of metal wires.
Big drum is the biggest in the drum instruments. At ordinary times, Big drum is played on the wooden support. The players often use two sticks playing the drum to produce sounds. The performance method includes click, double click, pause click, frowsy click, press click, shake click and roll.

It is also named as "small Tanggu", "war drum", "high toms", and "hall drum". Its volume is small, and the lingering sound is short. The diameter of drum head is about 6 or 7 inches. The sound it produces is solid and flexible, which is suitable to play intensive sound-type.

The sound made by big drum is deep, and the sound made by drum edge is high and solid. The sounds produced by different circles from the drum center to the edge are different but profound. It is mainly used in instrumental solo, ensemble, and accompaniment of dance and opera.

The vocalism principle of drum is beating the tight diaphragm to make it produce gradual decay of the vibration. The greater the power used in beating drum, the greater vibration is, the louder the sound is. The vibration of drum head will cause the vibration of air. The inherent frequency of drum is designed similar to the frequency of drum head vibration, which leads to resonance (air resonance, also known as consonance), so the sound intensity is greatly strengthened. Such drum structure is called "resonance cavity."



  1. https://hk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080312000051KK01653
  2. http://zhidao.baidu.com/search?word=鼓的发声原理
  3. http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/36935222.html



Functions of drum

Drum is first used to convey military orders, religion, communications, folklore, rituals and other related activities, which are all out of practical function. Drum can make sounds, so it can be used to deliver visible or intangible signals through sounds or shapes, with functions of welcoming gods and expelling evil spirits, alarm, deterrence of the enemy or status symbol, etc. For example: the big drum in Drum Tower of Beijing was made in the Qing Dynasty. It was designed for public time service, which can make Beijing residents hear the time. In the following, some ancient functions of "drum" will be introduced:

Functions of ancient drum 


Introduction to functions: Photo:
Military drum In ancient armies, the sounds of drum were often used as orders to command troops.
  Photo credit: http://image.so.com/i?src=rel&q=古代战鼓图


Introduction to functions: Photo:
Morning drum Ancient people did not have clock, so they used drum or wooden fish to tell time.
  Photo credit: http://view.inews.qq.com/a/SHC2015091503609103


Introduction to functions: Photo:
Drum tower Big drum was placed on higher position of the buildings. It was beaten on time to inform opening hours.
  Photo credit: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/西安鼓樓


Introduction to functions: Photo:
貨郎鼓 Like children playing the rattle-drum, Street vendors often held rattle-drums. They shake the drum to replace peddling. Rattle-drum was also known as drum-shaped rattle.
  Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums


Introduction to functions: Photo:
Honor drum The government officials of each place made honor guards as the forerunners to show their prestige.
  Photo credit: https://read01.com/kx6Pee.html


Introduction to functions: Photo:
Mileage drum In ancient times, there was the legend of heating drum to record mileages. It was said that when people pass a mile, the one holding drum stick will beat drum once.
  Photo credit: http://www.chinanews.com/auto/2012/01-19/3615939_5.shtml

With time passing by, in modern times, drum has less function in the wars. Gradually, rich sounds and distinctive rhythms become an instrument for performing arts. Although drum has only one pitch, it sounds like playing rhythms. It also makes songs sound more rhythmic. In musical treatment, drum is often used for its tactile property and convenience in use. Therefore, singers will "integrate" drum into music. The earsplitting sound of drum increases songs' levels and shocks people. There are introductions of function of two modern "drum".

Functions of modern drum 


Introduction to function: Photo:
In performances, drums are used for beats. Sometimes, drums with different pitches are used.
Such as U-Theatre
  Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums


Introduction to function:


Pop music Modern singers will also include sounds of drum and dance in songs to play, making use of drums, singing, musical instruments and dance to win public praise.
Such as the song "Huo Yuanjia" by Jay Chou
  Photo credit: https://youtu.be/wr-6wwt8RXk


According to the above materials, we can find that in ancient times, the drum was a practical tool to meet demands, such as the war drum used in wars to issue order, and even to expel ghost. In modern times, with social development and progress, there are more and more drums with wide functions. Drum has become a kind of performance of art or music. It has also gradually become the art of folk culture. Both ancient and modern drums are put into an important position by people. Drum is inseparable from our life.



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