Indian Drums

One the most important instruments in the life and ceremonies of the Native American tribe is the drum. There are as many different uses for the drum and rhythms of the drum as there were tribes across the Americas. Typically there are three types of (Indian drums: Shaman drums were one-sided, with a laced underside for holding; hoop drums were held vertically to drum on both sides; and pow wow drums were communal drums to be played by many tribesman at the same time.

The Shaman drums were also called spirit, or heart, drums and were used in ceremonies by medicine men that were taken into a trance-like state by the beat of the shaman drum. When they were in such state, they were able to interact with the spirit world to heal, to change the weather, and other such things that they spirits could control. The drums were made by stretching goatskin over the frame on one side to form lace on the back. The drum is played with either the other hand or a stick.

Hoop drums were used by the Tarahumara to call the people together for ceremonies, meetings, and celebrations. Yellow pine is used for the frame of the drum, and it is shaved think enough to bend into the shape of the drum. The goat hide is then stretched over both sides and laced along the sides. This allows the drum to be banged on from both sides. There is a raw hide string for hanging also on the side.

And powwow drums were used to dance. The beat of the powwow drum is the beat of the earth, and the Native Americans used this beat to celebrate and to dance. Powwow drums can be covered in buffalo, cow, or deer hide. Some tribes decorate their drums with pictures of animals, some with patterns. Some put something personal of value inside their drums.

Native American Indian drums can still be purchased today. These are used many times in ceremonies depicting early American scenes. Sometimes they are wanted by individuals who prize the Native American artistry in their drum making. Some love the richness of sound. Whatever the reason, one can certainly appreciate the heritage that has been passed down, one of rhythm and appreciation of percussion and artistry, from the Native American drummer to the musicians of today.

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