THE DRUM: What is it ? (illustration) - version en Français - According to the learning book "The Drum" photo photos collection

The French Drum has several notable features:
- a long tradition, mainly military (it is called also "Military Drum") but use become much more varied, with a constantly evolving repertoire, either as part of musical groups, or by providing of original works only for drums from a growing number of composers
- a complex technique also changing bases made rhythmic and combinations called "rudiments" and "coups" in France, usually designated by an onomatopoeia
- a teaching longer remained purely oral or written based on empirical, become methodical since the mid-20th century (clear books, precise and rigorous analysis: "Le Tambour d'Ordonnance" volumes No. 1 & No. 2, by Robert Goute).
We must add that the drum is often not even considered as a musical instrument in its own right, that his comprehensive education is not taught, except rare exceptions, in National Schools, which occurs in many forms, significant differences (hardware , positions and gestures, degree of sophistication) of a country or a region of the world.
In addition, the drum is an instrument that is expressed usually in a group, this group either alone or it is part of an instrumental ensemble.
This is a fundamental difference compared to most other instruments of the percussion family.

The Drum (détails) (photo1) (photo2) (photo3)
The French Drum has evolved over history.
There are now models also sometimes called "parade" and often inspired American (clamping rods or shells, metallic wire), which are poorly suited to the position, technical and French repertoire, two main models.
1° - The "Military Drum", with:
- clamping rope made hemp (seven strands) or synthetic, wooden heads and eleven tightening straps in leather
- metal body (copper, brass or stainless steel) diameter 381 mm. (fifteen inches) and deepness 205 mm.
- natural bowels wires, consisting of two or four strands, with throw off
- for current use synthetic skin, which replace the natural skins (see natural skin set-up) (in calf or goat) that we prefer, however, under appropriate conditions, such as to play indoors.
2° - This model being replaced increasingly by the Drum "high" with a body 305 mm. deep in various materials (light metal, wood, synthetic resin) and in all other points similar to Military Drum described above.
This latter type of Drum, more aesthetic and better suited to walking and providing a higher resonant volume tends to spread.
For the young pupils, we can find Drums "three-quarters" (diameter of the body 14 inches or 355 mm.) and "half" (diameter of the body 12 inches or 305 mm ., even 13 inches or 331 mm.).

The sticks
The choice of sticks is obviously of primary importance.
Prefer the sticks without metal tip, less fragile and generally better balanced.
There are of course different styles and forms, but generally the length is between 410 and 430 mm. , the main diameter between 17.5 and 18.5 mm. , that of the olive between 14.5 and 16 mm.
Avoid using sticks too light : a weight of between 75 and 85 grams is satisfactory and recommended.
For (very) young students, there are sticks a little shorter, thin and light. Be careful to switch to sticks "adult" as soon as the morphology permits.

The silent drum
The Drum sound is naturally strong, so it is often useful to work on a silent drum. Courses are facilitated, especially when they are collective, the comments of Professor can be done without stop the execution, with more comfort.
And also , the daily practice is more convenient, whatever is the environment.

It is important however to beat regularly on the "real" Drum, to get used to always different touch to his work (this is particularly true for example for the roll), sound of the effects, attitude, gesture and of course for playing and marching.
There are two types:
- which consists of a buffer attached to a belt left knee, which is sitting practice
- the "pad" silent drum adjustable practicable seated or standing-up, which is best for the sound (do not choose a model too "silent", making hard work of expression) and especially by the position similar to the real Drum.

Maintenance and settings
The frame of mind and the quality of the performer are a reflection of care to maintain the appearance and ensure the sound of his instrument.
We shall careful of course about cleanliness of the Drum. Teardown made from time to time will clean inaccessible parts. It may take the opportunity to change the position of skins (rotated 120 ° for example).
It is always preferable to release the Drum rope after each use.
For giving the tension, we tight on the straps, regularly and moderately, in two rounds (per one has two). The French Drum sound is deep, grave without excess. The search for a sound too clear by a high tension generally leads to a decrease in the volume.
We choose and settle on the wires for a fully effective since the lowest "piano" to "forte" the most important.

With a correct assembly (see photos) and adapted synthetic skins, the defects of tone result generally from one of the three talk following:
- an insufficient tension: re-stretch the rope, uniformly
- amortization of unwanted vibrations : the muffle is often the solution
- badly adapted, adjusted stamps, with differences of tension between strands : change them if needed and take time to adjust them.

Ph.V. 1996-14-07

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