Scottish drumming originated from military drumming. In the last hundred years, Scottish Drumming – which is known best for the sound of the side drum – has developed into one of the most demanding drumming styles.
There are three types of Scottish drumming:
– Side (Snare) Drum
– Tenor Drum
– Bass Drum
The side drum is the most prominent drum in a drum corps. The Scottish side drum has the highest tension in the world and therefore almost sounds like a gun shot. In contrast to local snare drums, a snare carpet is stretched under both drumheads. The rhythms are highly complicated and are sometimes played against the melody.
It owes its unique sound to its construction. Today, most of them have a multi-layer wooden kettle. Kevlar is used as the batter head, which is stretched so tight that it does not give way to finger pressure.
The Scottish drummers play with special sticks, the shape of which may seem strange to those who have held a normal drumstick. The stick is also made of harder wood. Together with the unique construction, this enables particularly dynamic and technically demanding playing.
The Tenor Drum is a slightly larger drum than the side drum. It hangs from a shoulder strap and rests against the left thigh.
The sound is similar to that of the bass drum, although as the name suggests, the tenor drum has a slightly higher pitch. Rhythmically it lies between the bass drum and the side drum. Playing on the beat is the most important task, however, there is still scope for variations and embellishments.
The sticks are flourished by the player in a variety of ways and if this performed simultaneously by several tenor drummers, the visual effect is spectacular.
The bass drum is only slightly different from a normal bass drum. Foam cushioning is glued inside the drum to create a deep, warm sound.
The bass drum is the metronome for the band. All other musicians are guided by its beats. It is played loud enough for the pipers to hear but does not drown out the sound of the band for the spectators. A bass drum should be felt rather than heard. Strong strokes signal the beginning and end of a set.
Th drumsticks are called beaters and are made up of a handle and a long, cylindrical mallet of about 15 cm. The bass drum is struck upwards and downwards. Strikes perpendicular to the drumhead are the exception.