Percussion Membranophones


Membranophones are percussion instruments that produce their sound by way of a vibrating membrane or skin. This definition serves perdominantly to separate the family of drums from other percussion instruments that do not feature a mebrane. However, as the use of the a membrane is not exclusive to drums, also the kazoo (or even the banjo) may be regarded as a membranophones.

Musicologists distinguish between the main subgroup of the struck drums, where the membrane is hit with the hand or an object, and smaller subfamilies like string drums, where a string attached to the membrane is pulled, a technique which is common in India, friction drums, where the mebrane is rubbed (the cuica from Brazil or the zambomba from Spain) and singing membranophones (kazoo and mirliton).

Additionally, physionomical characteristics are considered to distruiguish between a wide range of subgroups, such as cylindrical drums like the Western bass drum, the Latin surdo and the dohol from Iran, kettle drums or vessel drums (with a rounded bottom) like the timpani, barrel drums (bulge at the center) like the trong chau from Vietnam or the bendre from Burkina Faso, conical drums such as the tabla from India and the Venezuelan chimbangueles, goblet drums or chalice drums like the darabuka from Arabia and the Middle East, hourglass drums or waisted drums like the African talking drum and the Indian damaru, footed drums like the djembe, long drums like the tribal tree trunk drums or log drums and theĀ gufalo from Burkina Faso, and frame drums, where the membrane is mounted upon a frame, like the snare drum, the tambourine, the pandeiro or the bodhran.

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