Construction and function of the Bass drum - Philipp Dangas

Construction and function of the Bass drum

Construction and function of the bass drum graphic can be enlarged. It is Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Components of the bass drum

The main components of the bass drum are the cylindrical frame and the two skins stretched over the openings in the frame. The dimensions of the frame determine the sound power, sonority and resonance of the instrument. The frame is usually made of plywood.

In the bass drum of the symphony orchestra, the diameter of its frame is 780 mm and the height is 560 mm. The two skins are attached like the skin of the timpani. They are attached to a rim and are each held and tensioned by an iron pull ring on the frame. The pressure of the pull ring on the head is fixed to the frame with 12 screws on large instruments.

With smaller instruments, the pressure is regulated by 10 or only 8 screws. The skins are mostly made of calfskin. The batter head is usually thicker than the resonance head. The single beat is usually played with the bass drum mallet. The timpani mallet is always used to perform the roll in the symphonic orchestra.

A great sound example of the bass drum
Download size: 87.8 kilobytes
Components of the percussion instruments at a glance
Component Description
Mallet A 30–40 cm long wooden stick with a rounded end or ending in a head, mainly used in pairs.
Batter skin The membrane (natural fur made of animal skin or synthetic material) which is struck with mallets.
Shell (timpani only) Hemispherical sound box made of sheet copper or plastic and a membrane (skin) stretched over it.
Pedal (timpani only) In order to be able to change the tuning of the timpani while playing, this lever is operated with the foot.