Drums in Scotland, The Pipe Major and the drum

Drum Major

Like the bagpipes, the drum developed in many countries. They became part of the regimental pipes and drum bands when the Highland regiments were formed in the 19th century. The Drum Major (above) does not drum, though he was a drummer

There are three different drums used in bands

  • The Bass Drum. An enormous drum, carried on the chest and supported by straps over the shoulders. It is hit with large padded mallets, and is used to keep the time of the band

  • The Tenor Drum. With a note an octave higher than the big bass drum, the tenor drum is supported on the drummer's leg. It is hit with smaller padded mallets, which are whirled around with great showmanship as part of the playing

  • The Side Drum. An octave higher than the tenor drum. It is hit with wooden sticks and provides obligate patterns

For the non soldier, there are drumming competitions  The competing drummer is accompanied by a piper, but only the drummer is judged.  He can play a series of  pieces that  increase in speed and technical difficulty.   Drummers are judged on style as well as technical ability


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