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Do you know there is a musical instrument that doesn’t require any musical education from you? We are talking about steel tongue (also tank or hank) drums. The fact is that they are designed in such a way that it is impossible to play out of tune; any sequence of notes will be harmonious. They have a distinctive sound and deep vibrations. You can use a tongue drum for meditation, developing your sense of rhythm, and even playing with kids. Read on to learn more about this unique instrument.
About Steel Tongue Drums
Tongue drums appeared relatively recently, and the first instrument was made from a propane tank (hence the second name tank drums). Now there are improved and more nice-looking versions: two hemispheres of thick metal, connected to each other. On one of the halves, “tongues” of different sizes are cut out. They serve as resonators through which the sound appears.
These drums range in size from 7 to 40 inches in diameter. As for their shape, they can be elliptical, spherical, parallelepiped, and disc-shaped. They may also differ in the materials used, the number of tongues, and the coating type. You can find instruments with a fixed tuning or those which you can tune as needed. Besides, tank drums can be acoustic or equipped with pickups connected to amplifiers and music processors.
How to Play Them
Hank drums differ from conventional instruments by their unusual soft sound. Many people compare it to a bell, only without the sharp ringing of a clapper. The sound of such drums directly depends on their size. The smaller the device, the thinner and higher it sounds. You can get a deep and rich bass from a large diameter instrument.
Depending on the settings and tuning of the tool, there can be from 4 to 13 notes. A musician can use more than one device and thus expand the range. The tongue drums can be played either with both hands or soft-tipped sticks. Drumsticks will give you a cleaner and louder sound. In contrast, playing with the hands will be accompanied by the typical “plopping” noise. However, many musicians even like this side effect, and in some cases, they believe it can be used to complement their music.
How They Can Be Used
Professionals use steel tongue drums to make smooth, relaxing ambient music. They are suitable for creating the right atmosphere for tea ceremonies or reading books aloud. However, their ease of use has made them accessible for use in everyday life. They are especially popular in yoga, meditation, and sound therapy.
While playing these drums, many people noticed that their pulse and heart rate became even and calm. Music therapists use such instruments in their practice as they are convinced that drum sound helps open up patients’ minds and becomes a tool of communication and self-expression of people with mental issues. These devices help calm the nervous system and cope with insomnia, thanks to their pleasant sound and deep vibrations.
They can be useful not only for adults but also for kids. It is a known fact that playing musical instruments develops a sense of rhythm, attention, concentration, and coordination of movements (including finger fine motor skills). Since it is not difficult to extract a pleasant melody from such an instrument, it is suitable for children from 3 years of age and older.
Unleash Your Imagination
Although all hank drums have the same construction, they differ in their sound and “mood.” Without a doubt, everyone will find an instrument to their liking and quickly learn how to create their own music. Moreover, you can play these drums without special education and training. Unleash your imagination and enjoy the beautiful sounds of steel tongue drums.