Some of the earliest drum set-like instruments came in the form of the “one-man band.” This multi-talented musician played multiple instruments simultaneously using their hands, feet and mouth. Often they sang as well. The instruments often played in addition to the standard guitar, harmonica and horn were the bass drum, snare, and cymbal. The musician would either have these percussive pieces mounted to his back or he would sit in a chair and play them like a set. The bass drum would be mounted off of the shoulders with a beater which was connected to a foot pedal and the cymbals would be strapped between the knees or triggered by a pedal mechanism. Sometimes tambourines and maracas would be tied to the limbs. In a sitting position the drums would be set-up similar to modern day’s configuration with the snare on a stand and the cymbal being mounted on the bass drum.
If you are interested in learning more about the early history of the drum visit our friend Daniel Glass.
Read our interview of Daniel written exclusively for DRUMHEAD magazine.