The bass drum is the largest and lowest of the drums. Bass drum in English, the first bass drums come from marching bands. They are large in diameter but relatively light to be carried in parades. The drumheads are held between two wooden hoops held together by ropes. Leather sliders tighten the drumheads simultaneously, as for the ordinance drums.
The large drums used for the first drums have large diameters, at least 24 inches - or 61 cm - and up to 30 inches.
The bass drum evolves with a pedal, steel rods and a significantly greater depth. In jazz and dance orchestras, its main function is to affirm the pulse with strokes generally played on all beats or at least on the strong beats. Its role is fundamental to support the dancers in their evolutions.
In the early 40's, with the arrival of the Be-bop style, the function of the bass drum changed. The rhythmic accompaniment shifted to the ride cymbal and the bass drum became lighter to punctuate, accentuate or play more complex phrases thanks to the fluidity of the new pedals. The high hat takes over the metronomic role previously performed by the bass drum. The high hat plays mainly the weak beats 2 and 4 and a rhythmic combination of opening and closing cymbals with a stick phrasing. Today, the size of the bass drum varies between 18 and 26 inches. Some drummers, constrained by small playing spaces, modify a 16" bass tom into a bass drum using a small elevator. And it works!
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