We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Hand Drums?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hand drums are one in a long line of percussive instruments. They are simply drums that are played with the hand instead of a stick or hammer. Hand drums are renowned in many types of music, from congas and bongos, to tablas and tambourines. They provide the backbone of many worldwide musical sounds, most notably African, Indian and Latin music.

Hand drums, like any drums, consist of a drum head or skin stretched over a hollow shell. They are usually cylinders and can be covered with drum heads on one or both sides. Perhaps the most recognizable of hand drums is the tambourine. The tambourine is simply a frame drum with jingling noise makers attached to the sides. The frame drum family which the tambourine follows is a drum that has a face wider than the shell is deep.

Hand drums can be played in different styles, at different paces and in different tunes. They can be played sitting or standing, by one person or by many. A hand drum set may consist of as many as a dozen drums and resemble a regular standing drum set of rock and roll music fame. Many hand drum instruments, indeed, come in sets of different sizes and timbres, such as the congas and tamblas.

Hand drums can be played lightly with the fingers, quickly with a “thumb roll,” loudly with a clap of the palm or fist, or in many ways with a combination of the fingers, palms, knuckles and wrists. The opportunity for beats, like a normal drum set, relies on the size and timbre of the drum, the drummer, and the way the drum heads are stroked. Hand drums, like performing drums, are an instrument very rhythmic in nature.

Like the simple frame drum, many hand drums are made of wood. The most common drum heads in history were made from stretched animal skins, and can still be seen in authentic hand drums. More recently drum heads have transitioned to forms of polyester and plastic. The drum shell is often made of durable woods such as oak or ash.

Hand drums, the world’s most ancient instruments, originated in the cradle of civilization: in the Middle East. They flourished in India in ancient times, and made their way to the Roman Empire and became an important sound in many Islamic cultures. The Tar, the daf, the tonbak, and the Doumbek are among the most important of Middle Eastern hand drums from early times. In the 21st century, tablas remain central in Indian music and much of the most popular Latin dance music — salsa, meringue and Latin jazz — owe their success to hand drums.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.