Where Can I Find Information About Traditional Drums From Around The World?

Have you ever wondered where you can find information about traditional drums from around the world? Look no further! This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on where to discover fascinating details about traditional drums and their cultural significance in various regions across the globe. From intricate African djembes to the ancient Japanese taiko drums, immerse yourself in the rich history and diverse sounds of traditional drums as we explore the resources available for you to expand your knowledge and appreciation for these remarkable instruments. Prepare to embark on a global musical journey! If you’re interested in learning more about traditional drums from around the world, there are a variety of resources available to you. Websites, books, documentaries, music schools, local community centers, musical instrument stores, social media, public libraries, universities and research institutions, and local musicians and drumming groups all offer valuable information and opportunities to explore the rich world of traditional drums. Let’s delve into each of these resources in more detail.


Online music encyclopedias

Online music encyclopedias are excellent sources of information about traditional drums from around the world. They provide detailed descriptions, histories, and cultural significance of various drums. Some popular online music encyclopedias include AllMusic, Music Dictionary Online, and Grove Music Online. These websites offer comprehensive and reliable information for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts.

Museum websites

Museum websites often feature virtual exhibits and collections dedicated to traditional drums from different cultures. They provide a wealth of information on the origins, construction, and cultural significance of these drums. Some notable museum websites include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and The British Museum. Exploring these websites will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of traditional drums and their place in global music traditions.

Musical instrument retailers

As surprising as it may seem, musical instrument retailers can also be valuable sources of information. Many have detailed online catalogs with descriptions and histories of the instruments they sell. While the primary purpose of these retailers is to sell instruments, their websites often provide useful educational resources. Some well-known musical instrument retailers include Guitar Center, Sweetwater, and Musicians Friend. These websites offer information on a wide range of instruments, including traditional drums.

Online forums and communities

Engaging with online forums and communities dedicated to traditional drums can be a fruitful way to gather information. These platforms provide spaces for enthusiasts and experts to connect, share knowledge, and discuss various aspects of traditional drums. Websites like Drum Forum, Drummerworld, and Reddit’s r/drums are popular online communities where you can ask questions, share experiences, and interact with fellow drum enthusiasts from around the world. Don’t hesitate to join the conversation and tap into the collective knowledge of these communities.

Educational websites

Educational websites focusing on music and culture are rich resources for those seeking in-depth information about traditional drums. From educational institutions and cultural organizations to independent music teachers and researchers, these websites offer a wide range of articles, videos, and tutorials related to traditional drums. Websites like World Music Network, Learn Percussion, and Drumming System provide comprehensive educational content spanning various regions and drumming traditions. Exploring these websites will not only expand your knowledge but also enhance your drumming skills.


Ethnomusicology textbooks

Ethnomusicology textbooks offer comprehensive insights into the study of music within its cultural context, making them invaluable resources for learning about traditional drums. These books cover topics such as drum-making techniques, cultural practices, and the social significance of drums. Prominent ethnomusicology textbooks include “The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-One Issues and Concepts” by Bruno Nettl and “Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader” edited by Jennifer Post. These textbooks provide a solid theoretical foundation for understanding the cultural diversity and historical significance of traditional drums worldwide.

World music guides

World music guides are excellent references for exploring the drumming traditions of different cultures. These guides offer detailed information about instruments, rhythms, and playing techniques specific to various regions. Books like “The Rough Guide to World Music” edited by Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, and Richard Trillo, and “World Music: A Global Journey” by Terry E. Miller and Andrew Shahriari provide comprehensive overviews of music from around the world, including traditional drumming traditions. Reading these guides will broaden your understanding of traditional drums within a global musical context.

Books by drummers

Books written by experienced drummers provide unique insights and perspectives on traditional drums and drumming techniques. These books often combine personal experiences, historical information, and instructional content, making them valuable resources for both beginners and experienced drummers. Notable books in this category include “The Drummer’s Bible” by Mick Berry and Jason Gianni, “Drumming the Easy Way!” by Tom Hapke, and “The Art of Bop Drumming” by John Riley. These books offer practical advice, exercises, and historical context to deepen your understanding and improve your drumming skills.

Cultural and historical studies

Books that focus on the cultural and historical aspects of drums provide a broader understanding of traditional drums and their significance within specific societies. These books delve into the social, religious, and ritual contexts in which drums are used and explore their role in shaping cultural identities. Some recommended titles include “The Power of Drums: Art and Soul of the African People” by George Worlasi Kwasi Dor and “Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion” by Mickey Hart. These cultural and historical studies shed light on the profound impact of traditional drums on societies around the world.

Documentaries and Films

National Geographic documentaries

National Geographic documentaries offer visually stunning and culturally immersive experiences that showcase traditional drums within their natural environments. Whether it’s exploring tribal drumming in Africa, the taiko drums of Japan, or the rhythm-rich streets of Brazil, these documentaries provide a captivating glimpse into the diverse world of traditional drums. Some notable National Geographic documentaries include “Drums, Dreams, and Whispers: The Art of Drumming” and “Great Migrations: Rhythm of Life.” These documentaries will transport you to different corners of the globe, fostering a deep appreciation for traditional drums and the communities that embrace them.

Music and culture documentaries

Beyond the scope of National Geographic, there is an extensive selection of music and culture documentaries that specifically focus on traditional drums. These documentaries dive into the history, cultural significance, and performance techniques associated with drums from various regions. Films like “Drumming Up a Storm: The Life and Music of Judy Taylor” and “Journey of the Drums” provide compelling stories and insights into the world of traditional drumming. By watching these documentaries, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the spiritual, communal, and artistic dimensions of traditional drums.

Film festivals

Film festivals dedicated to music and culture often showcase documentaries and films that explore traditional drums and their fascinating histories. Attending these festivals, either in person or virtually, allows you to watch a curated selection of thought-provoking and visually stunning films on the big screen. Some renowned music and culture film festivals include the World Music Film Festival, the Ethnomusicology Film Festival, and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). These festivals provide unique opportunities to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of traditional drums from around the world.

Music Schools and Academies

World music programs

music schools and academies that offer world music programs are excellent places to learn about traditional drums. These programs often include courses, workshops, and ensembles dedicated to exploring the drumming traditions of different cultures. Institutions like Berklee College of Music, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and University of Washington offer world music programs that cover a wide range of drumming traditions. By enrolling in these programs, you’ll have the opportunity to study under experienced instructors and collaborate with fellow musicians passionate about traditional drums.

Ethnomusicology departments

Ethnomusicology departments within music schools and academies are specifically focused on the study of music in its cultural context. These departments offer courses, research opportunities, and community events centered around traditional drums and other musical traditions from around the world. Institutions like Indiana University, University of California Berkeley, and University of Toronto house well-regarded ethnomusicology departments. By immersing yourself in these departments, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the diverse drumming traditions across cultures.

Musicology departments

Musicology departments also provide valuable resources for studying traditional drums. While musicology primarily focuses on Western classical music, many programs offer courses and research opportunities related to non-Western musical traditions, including traditional drums. Institutions like the Eastman School of Music, University of Oxford, and University of Vienna have respected musicology departments where you can explore the historical, cultural, and analytical dimensions of traditional drumming. Engaging with these departments will help you cultivate a nuanced understanding of traditional drums in a global context.

Local Community Centers

Cultural centers

Local cultural centers and institutions play a vital role in preserving and promoting traditional drums and other aspects of cultural heritage. These centers often offer workshops, performances, and educational programs dedicated to traditional drumming. By engaging with your local cultural center, you can gain hands-on experience, connect with local musicians, and learn about local drumming traditions. Keep an eye on community events, workshops, and performances hosted by centers like the Asian Cultural Center, the African American Heritage Center, and the Indigenous Cultural Institute.

Music schools and workshops

Local music schools and workshops are excellent places to learn about traditional drums from experienced instructors. Many offer tailored drumming classes or workshops focusing on specific drumming traditions. These schools often invite guest artists and instructors who specialize in traditional drums to conduct workshops, giving you the opportunity to learn directly from experts. Exploring local music schools, community colleges, and private instructors will enable you to gain hands-on experience and immerse yourself in the art of traditional drumming.

Ethnic festivals

Ethnic festivals celebrating specific cultures often feature traditional drumming performances, workshops, and interactive experiences. These festivals provide an immersive environment where you can witness traditional drums being played and learn about their cultural significance. Attendees often have the opportunity to participate in drum circles, workshops, or even try their hand at playing traditional drums. Look out for annual festivals like the Chinese New Year Celebrations, the African Drum Festival, and the Native American Powwow to experience the vibrant world of traditional drumming in a community setting.

Musical Instrument Stores

Specialty drums stores

Specialty drums stores focus specifically on selling traditional drums and percussion instruments from around the world. These stores often employ knowledgeable staff who can provide insight into the cultural and musical significance of the instruments they sell. Shopping at specialty drums stores like Drum Center of Portsmouth, The Chicago Cymbal Vault, or The Drum Exchange is an excellent way to gather firsthand knowledge, explore a wide range of traditional drums, and find inspiration for your own drumming journey.

World music instrument retailers

World music instrument retailers offer a wide selection of traditional drums from various cultures. These stores often carry a diverse range of instruments, including djembes, darbukas, tabla, congas, and more. Browsing through the collections of world music instrument retailers like Meinl Percussion, Remo, and Latin Percussion can provide valuable insights into the diverse world of traditional drums. Additionally, these retailers often provide educational resources, such as blog posts or tutorial videos, to assist customers in learning about playing and maintaining traditional drums.

Ethnic instrument shops

Ethnic instrument shops cater to musicians and enthusiasts seeking traditional instruments from specific cultures. These shops specialize in instruments like Japanese taiko drums, Indian tabla, Middle Eastern doumbeks, or West African djembes. By visiting ethnic instrument shops, you can explore unique instruments, learn about their cultural contexts, and often find opportunities for demonstrations or workshops. Check out shops like Taiko Center of the Pacific, The Dhol Foundation, or J. Craviotto Percussion to immerse yourself in the vast array of traditional drums available.

Social Media

Facebook groups and pages

Facebook groups and pages dedicated to traditional drums create online communities where people can share knowledge, ask questions, and engage in discussions about drumming traditions. These platforms allow you to connect with drumming enthusiasts, teachers, and even professional drummers from around the world. Joining groups like “World Drumming Community,” “Drumming Enthusiasts Unite,” or “African Drumming Network” can provide access to valuable resources, advice, and inspiration from fellow drumming enthusiasts.

Instagram hashtags

Instagram hashtags related to traditional drums can be a trove of visual inspiration and educational content. Following hashtags such as #traditionaldrums, #worldofdrums, or #drumculture allows you to explore a wide variety of drumming traditions from around the world. You’ll find posts showcasing traditional drumming performances, cultural events, and insights from drumming enthusiasts and professionals. By engaging with these hashtags, you can discover new drumming traditions, connect with like-minded individuals, and gather inspiration for your own drumming practice.

YouTube channels

YouTube is a treasure trove of drumming resources, with countless channels dedicated to exploring traditional drums and drumming techniques. You can find tutorial videos, performances, and documentary-style content showcasing various drumming traditions. Channels like “Questlove,” “Drumeo,” and “World Drum Club” offer a wide range of content from professional drummers, educators, and enthusiasts. By subscribing to these channels and exploring their playlists, you’ll have access to a wealth of educational and inspirational material on traditional drums from around the world.

Public Libraries

Ethnomusicology sections

Public libraries often have dedicated sections on ethnomusicology, which include books, journals, and academic resources related to traditional drums and global music traditions. These sections provide valuable research materials for those interested in diving deep into traditional drumming. By visiting your local library or utilizing online library resources, you can access a wealth of scholarly work, historical records, and cultural studies on traditional drums from around the world.

World music collections

Public libraries with extensive world music collections offer an extraordinary opportunity to explore traditional drums from various cultural perspectives. These collections often include audio recordings, sheet music, and video materials featuring traditional drumming traditions. By exploring the world music collections at libraries like the Library of Congress, the British Library, or your local university library, you can access an incredible array of resources that will deepen your understanding of traditional drums and enhance your appreciation for global music traditions.

Universities and Research Institutions

Music departments

Universities and research institutions with esteemed music departments offer an abundance of resources for studying traditional drums. These departments often have faculty members specialized in different musical traditions, including traditional drums. By accessing their research papers, attending lectures, and engaging with the department, you can gain valuable insights and connections within the academic community. Institutions like Harvard University, University of London, and Kyoto University are renowned for their rigorous music programs and vibrant research communities.

Ethnomusicology research centers

Ethnomusicology research centers within universities and research institutions are dedicated to the study of music in its cultural context. These centers conduct research, host conferences, and publish scholarly work related to traditional drums and global music traditions. By exploring the resources and events offered by ethnomusicology research centers such as the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the International Institute for Traditional Music, and the Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, you can delve into the academic discourse surrounding traditional drums and connect with likeminded researchers and scholars.

Local Musicians and Drumming Groups

Ethnic ensembles

Connecting with local ethnic ensembles gives you the opportunity to witness traditional drumming firsthand and learn directly from experienced musicians. These ensembles often perform at cultural events, festivals, and community gatherings, showcasing the vibrant traditions of their respective cultures. Local cultural organizations, community centers, or universities may host ethnic ensembles dedicated to specific drumming traditions. By attending their performances or even joining them as a musician, you can engage with the living tradition of traditional drums and experience the power of collective drumming.

Drumming circles

Drumming circles provide an informal and inclusive environment for people to come together and play traditional drums. These circles are open to drummers of all skill levels and backgrounds, fostering a sense of community and cultural exchange. Many communities organize regular drumming circles in parks, community centers, or private spaces. Participating in a drumming circle allows you to connect with other drummers, learn new rhythms, and experience the joy of collaborative drumming in a relaxed and supportive setting.

World music bands

World music bands that incorporate traditional drums into their compositions offer unique opportunities to experience traditional drumming in a contemporary musical context. These bands blend various musical traditions and often perform originals or interpretations that highlight the rhythmic and expressive qualities of traditional drums. Attending concerts or joining world music bands in your community allows you to explore the creative potential of traditional drums while collaborating with musicians from different backgrounds. Keep an eye out for local world music festivals or community events that showcase these bands.

In conclusion, when it comes to finding information about traditional drums from around the world, there is no shortage of resources available. Whether you prefer exploring websites, diving into books, watching documentaries, attending music schools, visiting local community centers, exploring instrument stores, engaging on social media, visiting libraries, exploring academic institutions, or connecting with local musicians, each resource offers a unique way to delve into the fascinating world of traditional drums. By tapping into these resources, you can deepen your knowledge, broaden your perspective, and foster a greater appreciation for the cultural significance and diversity found within traditional drumming traditions.