Probably you have seen and heard tongue drums – European by their origins, Oriental by the mindset they create, and global by their influence. Also known as a hand steel drum, a tongue drum is portable, easy to master, and very contemporary. Finally, it’s great for both playing at home or outdoor parties and meditating by yourself. That’s why it’s time to look at this instrument during the lockdown.
The Perfect Lockdown Instrument
So, why is it the perfect choice to pick while the COVID-19 still keeps us indoors? There are several reasons for that.
- A steel drum is not bound to big parties. It’s rather an instrument for meditation when you’re alone or at a small party. You can also use it to create a mental atmosphere with your friends or as an ice-breaker for newcomers.
- It’s not that loud. You can practice it in your room without disturbing your family or neighbors, even if you live in a small apartment. You don’t need special silencers: just adjust the force to control the volume.
- You can enjoy it before the end of the lockdown. If you take this time to master a full-size drum set, a bass guitar, or, say, DJ equipment, there will be much fewer possibilities to show off your skills. With a tongue drum, you don’t have to wait until parties are revitalized.
Tongue Drum Differences and Which to Choose
While there is no official classification for this relatively new instrument, there are still parameters you should consider before getting one for yourself.
- The number of tongues. It varies between the minimum seven up to eleven or even thirteen, though there are usually up to ten. The more of them the drum has, the more sophisticated tunes you can play with it. Of course, it’s always limited to the pentatonic scale it’s originally tuned to. Nevertheless, even the drums with the same tuning may sound differently if the number of tongues varies. For a beginner, though, the less, the better.
- The notes you can play. It’s written in the manual, and while the number defines the number of separate playable notes, the original tuning matters too. The scale most tongue drums are tuned to is C Major, but there are exceptions as well. Having two of them may be too much, but with pair of drums tuned differently, you can form a wonderful duo.
- Size. It does matter. Smaller drums are easier to carry around, and they require less strength to play. On the other hand, bigger drums are louder, and when it comes to tongue numbers, there is enough place for more than regular seven to ten tongues.
- Last but not least, its design matters too. Do you like the shape of the tongues, the color, the picture? Initially made of old tanks, now steel tongue drums are a standalone industry, acting not to recycle old tanks but to make popular instruments.
Conclusion in C Major
Knowing what you need a tongue drum for is, in fact, knowing which one you need. They usually come with a manual and a songbook, so it’s easy to pick up tunes. Share this with your friends on social media: there are better ways to spend the time than press Refresh on Facebook. You can also leave a comment if you have already bought and/or mastered steel tongue drum.