Slit drum

The slit drum, also Tomtom, formerly wooden drum; is a traditional idiophones surcharge instrument that is used as a message drum in the ritual music and as a signaling instrument. In the ensemble, she will invest primarily determines the clock for the other rhythm instruments.


Slit drums are in Africa, South and Central America, Southeast Asia and Oceania widespread. They are made from hollowed-out tree trunks, bamboo tubes or (very rarely ) made of metal with one or more slots than opening. They are playing with hammer head mallets, sticks and some with hands. Their size varies greatly, ranging from small, from four inches long Temple block, which is used in Buddhist ritual music, up to the largest slit drums of the Nagas in Assam. This song kong consist of eleven meters long trees, several of which are also beaten as a signaling instrument or to disclose important news event of imminent danger. Similarly, large instruments provide some Banda ethnic groups here in Central Africa. According to the description of Max Schmidt 1905, the Brazilian Awetí built up to six meters long slit drums. One in the 1960s acquired by the oceanic island nation of Vanuatu Ambrym island belonging to the Metropolitan Museum of Art slit drum ( atingting kon) is 4.27 meters long. She was placed vertically with other slit drums on the central dance floor ( ranhara ) of the village where she was beaten ( Maghe ) and other rituals at initiation rites,

Large slit drums made ​​from tree trunks are usually on the ground, small tonewoods be worn with a cord around his neck; as the message drum they also hang vertically on trees or in purpose-built towers. Logdrums can be round, triangular or rectangular, some have animal or human form. The designation as a " drum " is misleading, as there is no membrane, which is vibrated. The instrument is more related to a metal gong. In English, hence the term has come to be slit gong. If the slot is cut out of the center, two tones to the different widths halves can strike.

Block slit drum

The simplest type has a straight slot was cut into a solid block of wood. This includes the East Asian wooden fish in the shape of a fish or a wooden ball. Smaller round wooden fish are held in the hand, greater are placed or hung on a ring-shaped pad. From the principle of wooden fish corresponding to the rectangular Temple block with a slot produces a sound with a full sound. A special development of a round wooden fish is the long song, which is ' usually also served in the South Vietnamese music tài tù since the late 19th century as a clock by the player of a stringed instrument. On wood body, a U- shaped elastic strips of buffalo hide is fastened with a premium ball at the end, which can be pressed down with the foot. The Vietnamese wooden fish mō cá acts with its grooved surface at the same time as scrapers.

In the Minangkabau in West Sumatra, a several meters long slit drum is part of a closed at the ends of tree trunk to tradition. Photos by Jaap Kunst from 1926 show such a giant slot drum on a wooden frame about two feet above the ground with a pavilion roof over it. She was struck in rituals to the slot edges and was heard for miles around. Smaller, vertical suspended slit drums serve as the Minangkabau signal instruments and were boat-shaped hollowed out, as on some Polynesian islands was otherwise normal.

Block of wood, a wooden drum or tube called in the East Asian temple music a wooden body, the two sides have different depth slots, thereby producing different pitches with an overall brighter and sharper sound.

Hollow log drum

They consist mainly of bamboo or hollowed out tree trunks. An example is the Balinese bamboo slit drum koprak, which consists of two long bamboo tubes which lie horizontally on racks and are played by several men standing on each tube. In the individual bamboo segments are each a straight slot is located. The bamboo slit drum ketuk the Pakpak - Batak on Sumatra is played by two musicians, each with two mallets.

The hollow log drums are also various trough drums in Oceania, as the lali, which has spread from Fiji made ​​in parts of Polynesia. The similar logo of Samoa has found a new job as a substitute for church bells since the Christian missionary.

A rare small slit drum in the north of Bangladesh consists of a Bambusinternodium with a narrow slit on one side. The player strikes the tube while he turns with one hand in a circle, with two sticks, which he considers as chopsticks in the other, thus producing different timbres. In the Khasi in the neighboring Indian state of Meghalaya, a musician plays on three comparable differently tuned bamboo slit drums, called KDOR. A further development are the defeated in the same region bamboo tube zithers are as the chigring the Garo.

Tongue slit drum

There are traditional and modern versions of the slit drum with four to eight sound tongues. These are formed by parallel or wedge-shaped slots are cut from a solid wood. According to the number of tines mounted the instrument produces different sounds. It is like the xylophone to the tuned idiophones, but has no fixed pitches. Tongue slit drums are mostly used in Africa, especially in cultures that use tonal languages ​​to communicate messages. So the nkumvi is in the youwill in the Congo, which produces four tones and is played with two padded mallets, be heard in a radius of 30 kilometers. Another big tongue slit drum in the Congo in the shape of a buffalo or antelope called gugu.


Slit drums beat in the light music the clock and coordinate the use of dancers. More specific is its use as a signaling instrument in case of imminent danger or for a special occasion and in religious rituals. In western classical compositions slit drums from Asia were taken out of their cultural contexts and attached as an effect instruments the drums since the early 20th century. Sergei Prokofiev used in two compositions Logdrums: in the 5th Symphony of 1944, and the 6th Symphony of 1945-1947. A high and a low block Temple occur in Music for a Great City by Aaron Copland (1964 ), as well as in two works by Benjamin Britten in the 1960s. John Cage used in Amores (1943 ) seven different sized slit drums. Occasionally, wood blocks were played in jazz and ragtime. You may also be applied in music education.

Some Logdrums

  • Bantula - slit drum from a closed at both ends of bamboo segment in the province of Bukidnon on the Philippine island of Mindanao. In the west neighboring province of Maguindanao, the instrument is called agung a Bentong. It is named after the agung cheaper variant of the large hump gongs. A cut-out on one side to the half-shell bamboo segment is called agung a Tamlang.
  • Ekwe - used in the Ibo in Nigeria for song accompaniment small wooden slit drum
  • Garamut - wooden slit drums in the music of New Guinea, which are ritually beaten and as an emergency only by men with either the top or the side of a stick. Particularly well known are the slit drums on the Sepik in Papua New Guinea. Garamut Pidgin is the name of the species Vitex cofassus used in the construction (English: New Guinea teak ).
  • Wooden fish - a wooden slit drum in the shape of a fish or spherical shape, which is referred to in China as Muyu, in Japan as mokugyo in Vietnam as a mo and in Korea as Moktak and used in Buddhist and Daoist rituals.
  • Kentongan - Java, made of bronze
  • Keprak - Java in a small box- shaped wooden slit drum, the dance drama ( Wayang ) in the same way as the metal plates kecrek the rhythmic orientation pretending accentuates the movements of the dancers or dolls and the signal for change of pace dictates the musicians.
  • Kerantung - in Malaysia, is outside the mosques call to prayer
  • Kiringi, also Krin - wooden drum with three slots in Guinea
  • K'look - 50 cm long bamboo slit drum of the Khmu, who live in the south of China and in northern Laos. It is kept in the community center and hung when used as a call for a meeting to a tree.
  • Kontho, plural konthoing, a slit drum of the Limba spokesman in Sierra Leone, with which the members of the Gbangbani - secret society are summoned. If they are not ritually beaten together with the log drums nkali, they are usually stored near the village smithy, where the suspect Limba magical powers, or they are seemingly carelessly on the way to the meeting of the society in the bush.
  • Corrosion - a signal drum of the Dogon in Mali with a tone
  • Koturka call the Hill Marias, a subset of the Central Indian Gonds, a short slit drum made of Gmelina arborea, which is worn on a string around his neck. The instrument is as rare as they played simple string instrument kikir (similar to the bana ) and the bamboo flute huluri (or Mohri ).
  • Kulkul - Balinese slit drum made of wood, which is hung in the temple area and calls as a signaling instrument for meetings and ceremonies.
  • Kroeng - up to two meters long bamboo slit drum. She was formerly particularly in the Thai entertainment music New Year celebrations ( Songkran ) and used in the classic Thai Piphat ensemble to accompany shadow plays. Today, street musicians perform with her.
  • Lali is a large slit drum in Fiji, who was beaten earlier to announce special events ( deaths, the outbreak of war ). Today the church is called to go to church with her. The smaller version lali ni meke has a small rectangular hole in the middle at the bottom and is played at festivals. The seated on the ground, the musician otherwise unshaped wood inlays extending across the feet, to generate the best response.
  • Linga - played in groups of three or four instruments at the Banda Linda in Central Africa
  • Nafa, wooden, over a meter long slit drum in Western Polynesia ( Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu ) with straight sides
  • Mo long - In Vietnam, bamboo slit drum mo is long in the same function as the wooden fish and is also used as a signaling instrument in case of theft, fire or other emergency. In the Buddhist liturgy in Vietnam playing the instrument together with bells and drums.
  • Mondo, also mbudikidi - narrow wooden slit drum in the Congo
  • Ogidigbo, usually made ​​of Iroko wood slit drum at the Edo in southwest Nigeria with 60 to 70 centimeters long and about 30 centimeters in diameter. The slit is about 5 centimeters wide and is increased at both ends in a square opening of about 10 centimeters on a side. The two slit edges are of different thicknesses. If struck with his stick on the thicker edge, this results in a higher compared to the other edge tone. By covering one of the square holes with the left hand results in a lower tone. The ogidigbo is used as a signaling instrument, an extra-large model ( Okha ) even at ceremonies.
  • Pate - widespread in Polynesia small slit drum made ​​of hardwood. It was formerly used in the music of Tuvalu and other Pacific islands with the rhythmic accompaniment of standing or sitting dances.
  • Ratahigi, the largest and deepest sounding of three slit drums of the Pacific island of Ambae ( Vanuatu ) are in dingidingi Ensemble (East Ambae ) and tingitingi Ensemble (West Ambae ) the rhythm for the medium-sized simbegi and the small valagi ago. The archipelago of Vanuatu was from north to south into three traditional spheres of culture divided: For the northern group (including Ambae ) included large lying slit drums, for the middle group of islands were now a museum 6-7 meters high standing and some smaller lying Logdrums characteristic, while the southern to the Vanuatu Islands no Logdrums occurred.
  • Teponaztli was a cult instrument of the Aztecs in Mexico. According to reports from the Spanish colonial period, the teponaztli was widespread in northern and central Mexico. In the highlands of Chiapas is still performed today in an annual festival, the slit drum t'ent'en.
  • Tohere, also to'ere - a wooden slit drum in the drum ensemble on Tahiti and the Cook Islands, which is struck with a hard wooden stick. The drum dance ( ' ura p'au ) forwards it to the dancers. The larger slit drum ka'ara used together with a screw trumpet to Sing Along
  • Tongtong - Indonesian and Javanese for slit drums made from wood or bamboo on Java
  • Tuddukat - the slit drum of the Indonesian island of Siberut is played at three or four in the ensemble. It consists of a piece of stem, which lies on cross timbers on the ground. The edge of the slot is struck in the center with a hammer, with the rhythm beikommt a semantic meaning. It can be brief messages transmitted ( " it's someone died ", "the house is on fire " ... )