Dec 18, 2013

The Drum Kits that Set the Beat for Swing Bands: Slingerland Radio Kings

Previously published on WorthPoint.com

One fact is clear regarding 7,000 years of drum history: whenever drums start beating, people start to move. Archaeologists have found alligator skin drums dating back to 5500 B.C. that they assume were used to create some sort of drumming-induced Shamanic trance (who’s going to argue with them?). In pre-radio military cultures, drums were used to send battlefield signals. In ethnic cultures, drums accompanied ceremonial and recreational dancing.

In ethnic cultures, drums and dancing were inseparable. In cultures that lacked sophisticated melodic instruments (e.g., African and South American) drum music became a complex mix of layered rhythms. In American culture, however, drums had a limited role before 1900. Drums were heard in orchestral and concert band music but rarely in popular dance music. Neither the formal dancing of high society nor the contra dances of the common folk required the use of a drummer. In contra dancing and square dancing the rhythm is provided by the foot-stomping and clogging of the dancers. Read More

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