Bar & Boos drumcircle
making & repairing
Maybe the best known Chinese drum is the large bassdrum used to accompany the Traditional Lion Dancing and Wushu and is called the Datangu. (Gu is Drum) The Datangu is played in a low stance with the knees bent and is therefore very hard work! When walking in a parade, it takes four people to carry it on sticks through the rings. Great accenting is made by hitting the rim of the drum.
Another great sounding drum is the double headed Tang Gu and is also used for Lion dancing, ceremonies, parades and festivals. The Tang Gu is played with sticks and on both sides. Great effects can be made by dampening the skin, while hitting it on the other side. Even the 'twangy' sound played by a gong that one can hear on liondance music can be achieved on this instrument.
The Gong is an integral part of Asian religious and ceremonial festivities, not only in China, but all over the Far East. In China it's used strongly in the Lion Dance Music. A good quality Gong in a horizontal frame with elasticated cord can give an amazing unexpecting twangy sound when struck in the right way. Other effects can be made by dampening the Gong on the back.
INDIAN & NEPALI INSTRUMENTS
In India these double headed drums are called Mrindangams, in Nepal Madals. Depending on region they vary in shape and size. They sound much like the tablas, they give a lot of cheer to the processions and parades that the drums are used for.
The most famous Indian drums are the Tablas, the big aluminium drum is called the Bayan and the smaller wooden one is called the Dayan. The Bayan sounds very low, but with 'claying the skin', you can make water-like sounds. The Dayan has a very high, singing sound.
Another quite well know drum is the Dholak and it's little brother the Hudak.
They sound like 'talking drums'. The ropes of the Hudak can be tensed by the hand while playing to alter the tone of the drum.
These rather unusual drums are called Ghatam and Matka.
They are quite like the Nigerian Udu. The sound of these claypots with holes give a wide range of notes, though very subtile and combines well with the introcate indian rhythms with uneven timescales. An Indian percussion student has to learn to sing a rhythm before actually playing it.
These Nepali cymbals are called Jhayalis and are extremely loud and heavy, because they are built up out of layers of different kinds of metals. These different metals give, with their own resonances together, an almost chord-like effect. Jhayalis are mostly used in processions and other religious occasions.
JAPANESE TAIKO DRUMS
The most popular taiko drum in the modern Kumi-Daiko drumming is the Nagado-Daiko (Long Bodied Taiko) or Miya-Daiko. It's got a deep reverberant sound and can be played in many ways and positions.