Many drums used in Western societies are of African, Arabic, or Turkish origin. The kettledrum was introduced into Europe during the Crusades. The European tabor derived from an African instrument sometimes called a Tambour. Tambour is a small drum played with the right hand, while the left hand fingered a 3-hole flute. Across its center, the tabor often held a snare, which produced a strong vibration and sustained the sound between beats.

The modern symphony orchestra employs a variety of drums. Kettledrums are the most common; the bass drum, tenor drum, and snare drum, or side drums are also sometimes used, along with tambourines and bongo drums on occasion. Among these, only the kettledrums produce sounds of definite pitch, which is adjustable. The tenor drum is a large deep drum with two heads that is played with wooden sticks. The larger bass drum, also with two heads, stands upright on its side and is struck with felt-padded sticks. Bongo drums are small single-headed drums struck with the hands and usually played in sets of two or three. The tambourine is a shallow single-headed drum with metal jingles inserted into the frame.

All of these drums originated from the Talking Drum. The Talking Drum occupies a significant role in the African society. The primary function of the Talking Drum is communication. In ancient Africa, the Talking Drum was used as a means of communication, i.e., birth, death, war, victory and other significant evens depending on the sound that it produced.

The DUKPA is the Bassau name for the Talking Drum.  Bassau (Bassa) is the second largest ethnic group in Liberia. The DUKPA stands about 7 to 8 feet high and 2 feet in diameter. Usually, it is made out of special wood and supported by four legs. It is decorated with animal designs. In order to play the Dukpa, the drummer has to stand on a special stool made for it.


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