Types of Drums

There are different types of drums which vary depending on their purpose. Drums are percussion instruments which make sound when struck via vibrations. Drums have hollow bases and may be covered with animal skin or synthetic material. Drums are often categorized by their shape. Drum shapes include cylinders, barrels, bowls, goblets, conga and waisted.

Cylindrical drums encompass a wide variety of drums, perhaps most notably the bass drum. Cylindrical drums usually have two heads. Other cylindrical drums include the dohol (which is Iranian), the frame drum (which has a squat hoop; an example of a frame drum is a tambourine) and the long drum (which, as the name suggests, is long and thin).

Barrel drums are, as you would expect, barrel-shaped. Barrel drums usually have one head and an open bottom. The Tabla is a barrel drum, as is the trong chau (which is Vietnamese). Bowl-shaped drums are similar to the barrel drums in that they have one head. The nakari is an example of a bowl-shaped drum. Conga drums also have one head and are narrower at the bottom than at the top. Waisted drums have narrow middles and wide tops and bottoms.

Goblet drums are hand drums, meaning they don't require drum sticks. Like most other types of drums, goblet drums are shaped like goblets. They're played with a light, rather than heavy, hand. Some goblet drums include the tablah, the tarambuka, the darbuka and the djembe.


There are different types of drums whose primary purpose is to be played in one type of music. Examples of these include steel drums, karate drums and bass drums. Other types of drums, such as the snare drum, can be used in several types of music. The snare drum can be used in orchestra, band and jazz.

With the wide variety in drum options, you should have no problem finding a type of drum to suit your musical needs.

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