The Talking Drums
Music Assignment Module 9
The talking drum is a West African Hourglass drum whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. Other talking drums of conical or tubular construction exist around Africa, but they are rather known by their particular names "talking drum".
The history of the “Talking drum” and the region from which it comes
centering on the talking drum. Many variants of the talking drum exist, with essentially the same construction. Interestingly, this construction is limited to within the contemporary borders of West Africa.
The cultural significance of the “Talking drum”
The use of talking drums as a form of communication was noticed by Europeans in the first half of the eighteenth century. Detailed messages could be sent from one village to the next faster than could be carried by a person riding a horse. They will get send their message from village to village and they will get it faster is ways a way of communication they had.
The construction of the “Talking drum”
Various sizes of hourglass talking drum exist, with the dimensions of the drum differing between ethnic groups, but all following the same template. The pitch of the drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drum head the opposing drum heads are connected by a common tension cord. The waist of the drum is held between the player's arm and ribs, so that when squeezed the drum head is tightened, producing a higher note than when it's in its relaxed state. The pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note. The drum can capture the pitch, volume, and rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.