Bass Drum Facts

Bass Drum Facts
The bass drum is a large drum-shaped instrument in the percussion family that produces a low pitch when struck with a mallet, or beater on a pedal. The earliest version of the bass drum was the Turkish davul (tabl turki) that existed in the 1300s. In the mid-1700s many of these drums were brought to Europe and soon became a popular addition to military music. The Turkish drums were played with a rod and a wooden drumstick but when they were introduced into the orchestra by Spontini in the 1800s they were played with mallets covered in felt.
Interesting Bass Drum Facts:
The bass drum as part of a drum kit (used in bands along with several other drums) was added in the beginning of the 1900s as part of jazz music.
The inventor of striking the bass drum with a bass pedal was William F. Ludwig, in 1909, in Chicago, Illinois.
Adding the bass pedal to the drum kit made it possible for the drummer to play other percussion instruments such as snare drums, as well as cymbals, because their hands were free to use smaller drum sticks.
Bass drums are made with a shell (cylinder) that is usually made of a type of wood (sometimes metal), with two heads (the part struck by the mallet or bass pedal) stretched over the two open shell ends.
Most bass drums are stationary, as in the drum kit set up. However when bass drums are used in marching bands they must be moveable and are suspended by straps or other apparatus to enable to drummer to walk with the instrument.
In the orchestra setting the bass drum is suspended in a frame that allows the drummer to change its position or angle. It is usually suspended by rubber straps or leather straps or wires.
The mallets used for playing the bass drum (when not using a bass pedal) usually have a thick handle often made of beech wood or hornbeam. The head usually has a wood core and is wrapped in felt material.
Occasionally a timpani mallet is used for the bass drum when lower dynamic sounds are desired.
Various other sticks are used for the bass drum including hard felt sticks, leather sticks, wood sticks, side drum sticks, and brushes.
When a bass drum is part of a drum kit it is placed on the floor on feet, and the drummer hits the head with a bass pedal. Cloths are often used inside the head to dampen the sound.
When the bass drum is part of a kit there are often other instruments mounted to the shell including the cowbell, and the kit also includes tom-toms, cymbals, snare drums, high hats, and others.
The sounds produced by the bass drum have been described as thunderous, rumbling, pounding, hollow, mighty, and even soft at times.
Some of the most famous drummers include Neil Peart (from the band RUSH), Buddy Rich, Ringo Star, Phil Collins, Benny Goodman, and Rick Allen (One-armed drummer for the band Def Leppard).


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