Arm Drum: Hausa drum

Arm Drum: Hausa drumThe arm drum is one of Africa's most versatile of small drums. This type of drum usually has an hour glass shape. Some of today's widely known African musicians like Baaba Maal employ variations of the arm drum in the production of beautiful music. The arm drum is considered a talking drum. The arm drum is played with mallets or the bare hands. The arm drum is usually played while in a horizontal orientation -- the drum is held between the upper arm and the lateral aspect of the chest with the drum face (diaphram) perpendicular to the ground/floor.

By increasing or decreasing the pressure on the arm drum's strings while playing the drum, varied tones and sounds are produced. The arm drum, because of its tonal sounds, and its musical range in mimmicing human vocal tones and other sounds, is an appropriate instrument for drummer duologues.

African drums are crafted through variable processes and differing degrees of rituals, painting, leather craftsmanship, and musical tuning. African drums are sometimes produced and played in families: father drum, mother drum, son drum, and daughter drum. The materials used in the making of each drum, as well as its social function, vary from region to region.

The size of the drum is a function of (but not limited to) the size of the tree trunk that gave it form, the intended purpose and character of the drum, the musical sound the drum is to produce, and its place in the society.

Drums sound the heartbeat of the African continent through their wide range of attributes: materials used to make them, messages communicated through them, music made with them, as well as their place in the spiritual life of the Africa. Like many other traditional African instruments, the drum's beat speaks music across cultures. Surface designs and messages on the drum's reconating chamber and diaphragm are not uncommon.

The African drum holds a special place in African life, ever present, physically or represented by actions and rituals such as hand clapping, feet stamping, and other body movements. The African drum serves as a melting pot for age old traditional rituals, visual arts, and music.