It is always interesting to get to know the origins of an instrument. Since we are familiar with guitars, violins, pianos, and flutes, we really do not think too much about their history. This is mainly because we are more worried about what they sound, rather than think about how they originated. With steel tongue drums, this is not the case. We are wondering right away whether this consist of a couple of steel tongues held together like a drum or whether it is a drum that is shaped like a tongue! Instead of wondering any more, please read on to find out what this is and how it originated.
You would be surprised to know that the tongue drum comes from very ancient times; it was the Aztecs who first thought of putting the whole thing together. This is also called a tone drum or a log drum. This is the predecessor of the steel tongue drums. The exciting part of this history is that the original log drums were made of wood and metal did not figure in this at all. It consisted of a wooden box that was specifically shaped, into which tongue-shaped indentations were made with specialized instruments. This was then replicated onto metal, forming the steel tongued drum or tongue drum as it is also known.
Most of the time, old metal finds itself in the trash yard or recycling space. It could get used as scrap or may be fashioned into something quite unexciting. In this case, however, there is something worth looking out for. When there is a propane tank that is being discarded, you can be sure that someone will find a way to convert it into a tongue drum. All you need is that this drum is cleaned and turned upside down. In other words, it is flipped over, and the base is cut off. Once this is done, a specific number of tongue shapes are cut into the bottom of the tank. Usually, this number would be either sever or ten. The shapes are cut in radially, where they converge in the centre of the circular tank. You will also see that in some tongued drums, the length of the tongues is changed, thereby changing the tone too.
Once you get hooked onto the learning of such exciting instruments, you will feel all the tension and worry melt and be replaced with a sense of peace that is enhanced with the playing of this instrument.