Bass Drum

Bass Drum 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.

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.