Indian Drums – Music & Medicine

Indian drums such as those made by the Native American Tarahumara Indians are ceremonial drums which have a wonderful variation of tone across the surface of the drum head. As well as pedestal drums and pow wow drums, Indian drums are hoop drums made by hand with natural rawhide rather than modern materials and the characteristics of the sound they create are quite unique weather for powwow or personal drumming groups.

People who play Indian drums vary the tone of the drum in two or three ways. This is done mainly by the strength of the strike with the drum beater against the head and then also by where they strike the drum. By alternating the striking point from near the drum's center to closer to the edge, the drummer can control the tone and volume of native drums very well. A skilled drummer will also alter the sound waves by using his hand to either stop the resonance all together between beats or by very lightly touching the hide, cause a variety of minor changes in the tone.

Native drummers also use different tom toms or beaters depending on the sound they want to achieve. It is quite noticeable that a hard or soft head on the beater brings forth a pretty different sound even on the same drum. The soft drum stick delivers a softer and lower thud sound while a hard beater yields a higher and more ring tone with much greater resonance.

Shamanic drums have become well recognized because of the artful use of shaman drums in natural medicine such as healing and physical, mental and emotional therapy. The rhythm of Indian drums has also been said to align ones inner self, free the spirit and restore a sense of harmony to life.

Tarahumara Indian drums are primitive Native American drums, using goat skin which has unique stretching and sound qualities. The rawhide drum skins are prepared according to traditional methods that are the closely guarded secrets of the drum makers.

The hide is stretched and laced onto the traditional bend wood pine frame or hoop at just the right tension to create an Indian hoop drum with optimum sound and still allow for temporary stretching. Genuine rawhide goat skin is a natural "live" material with unique drumming qualities. It moves, expands and contracts with changing temperatures and can be repeatedly tightened with heat. It has an infinite variety of toe veining and color tone and its rich luster becomes more beautiful with age.

In the hands of a skilled drummer, these Indian drums speak, delivering tones that are subjective and spiritual or pounding with excitation. Striking the drum in a variety of ways, with varying intensity of sound, Tarahumara shaman drums seem to touch one's inner being. During the pounding enthusiasm of their ceremonies with perhaps 100 drummers, the percussion of hand drums fills the air and beats within the chests of the surrounding participants as hearts adjust their rhythm to the Indian drums. This article may be freely reprinted with an active html link to www.missiondelrey.com/native-american-drums.html included.