What Is A Tongue Drum

Music is one of the oldest art forms on our planet. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors fashioned instruments out of logs, bamboo, sticks and even animal bones. Today, we are still being creative and finding new ways to make beautiful melodies. One example of a recently developed instrument is the tongue drum which have become increasingly popular since their creation in the late 2000s due to their portability, relaxing sounds and ease of playing. Wooden tongue drums resemble long, rectangular boxes. Tongue drums are charming instruments which can be played by anyone and are found in many different environments, from a therapist's office to a classroom to a meditation session. If you are new to tongue drums, I hope you enjoy exploring the ever-expanding world of tongue drums and the peaceful notes they produce. 

Wooden tongue drums are part of the idiophone class of instruments and with the entire body of the instrument producing sound. An easy-to-learn instrument that makes soothing sounds that can either excite or relax, playable with either your hands or using rubber of felt mallets. Idiophones are one of the oldest types of musical instruments based on archaeological finds. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania carved or constructed these instruments out of bamboo or wood. These “slit drums” look like a box and have one or more slits on the top.  Examples of this type of instrument are the African log drum and the Aztec teponaztli drum, the oldest ancestors of the tongue drum. 

The tongues of this instrument are where the tongue drum gets its name, but what do the tongues do exactly? In a way, the tongues are like the individual strings of a guitar or the keys on a piano. They are what allows the instrument to create rhythms or melodies. Each tongue is painstakingly tuned to a specific note by removing just the right amount of wood from the right spot. The weight, width and length of the tongue determines the sound and pitch of the note. To play a note, you must hit a tongue with your fingers, hands or a mallet. The drum itself amplifies the sound and is released through the slits of the tongues. When you hit more than one tongue at a time, you can create a chord. By mixing and matching the notes and chords drum, you can create beautifully sounding melodies. The best part is, you need little to no musical instrument experience or knowledge to make your tongue drum sound good! This is because of the special way tongue drums are tuned.

What makes tongue drums so great are the effects anyone can experience when playing or listening to their peaceful melodies. When playing a tongue drum, a beginner, a hobbyist or a professional musician can all unlock creativity, boost focus and wash away anxiety and stress. Tongue drums are great for meditation, yoga practice and even emotional healing. Whether purchasing a tongue drum know that what you are investing in is more than a simple instrument: it is a way to relax, play and reconnect with yourself. Pick up a tongue drum and start playing today!