Sound character of the snare drum - Philipp Dangas

Sound character of the snare drum

The type of use of the snare drum, namely "undampened", i.e. with the strings taut, is not expressly prescribed. If it is to be used "muted", this provision must be included in the voice. The snare drum sound is hard and precise with an almost metallic sharpness. These sound characteristics come into their own equally from the lowest to the strongest dynamics. The pure noise character is predominant. But the snare drum can be used, especially with low dynamics, in such a way that it is a musical noise.

Its functions are of a purely rhythmic nature. The difference in the general pitch of the snare drum that can be achieved by changing the head tension can also be used with certain musical effects. The predominantly tonal use of the snare drum was introduced into modern music by Richard Strauss in all imaginable variations as early as in his "Salome" score. In addition to this very differentiated type of use, one of the main tasks of the snare drum is still to perform the purely rhythmic noise effects in the orchestra. In addition, the extraordinarily tension-increasing effect of the roll of the snare drum should also be mentioned.

As part of the „symphonic world music“

The task of the snare drum, as a treble instrument, is to sharpen the sound. But also in combination with the treble instruments of the other groups, such as oboes and clarinets. In this context, too, the main task of the snare drum remains the execution of rhythmic sound effects.

An fitting sound example of the bass drum sound [Composer: Maurice Ravel]
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Sound combinations of the snare drum with other instruments
Percussion instrument Partner instruments Sound character
snare drum Oboe — Clarinet Sharpening of the sound
snare drum Strings instruments (Bow tremolo) The noise of the bow strokes are especially amplified
snare drum Flute —Trumpet Sharp sharpening of the sound