Who Invented the First Drum?


Drums have been an important part of human civilization for thousands of years. They have played a significant role in various cultures and have evolved in different forms across different regions. However, determining who exactly invented the first drum is a challenging task, as drums have been present in various forms throughout history. In this article, we will explore the origins of drums and delve into the possible inventors of the first drum.

The Origins of Drums

Drums have a long and rich history, dating back to ancient times. The earliest evidence of drums can be traced back to around 6000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where cylindrical drums made of clay or wood were found. These early drums were simple in design and were played by hand.

As civilization progressed, drums became more sophisticated and started to take on different shapes and sizes. In ancient Egypt, for example, drums were made from animal skins stretched over hollowed-out logs or pottery. These drums were played with sticks or the bare hands.

Drums were not only used for music but also had ceremonial and religious significance. They were often used in religious rituals, military marches, and social gatherings. The sound of drums was believed to have the power to evoke emotions, communicate messages, and even summon spirits.

The First Drum Inventors

While it is challenging to pinpoint the exact inventor of the first drum, several cultures and civilizations have contributed to the development and innovation of drums throughout history. Let’s explore some of these early inventors and their contributions:

Ancient Mesopotamia

The ancient Mesopotamians, who lived in the region of modern-day Iraq, are believed to have played a crucial role in the early development of drums. As mentioned earlier, the earliest evidence of drums can be traced back to this region. The Mesopotamians used cylindrical drums made of clay or wood, which were played by hand. These drums laid the foundation for the evolution of drums in other cultures.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians also made significant contributions to the world of drums. The Egyptians developed drums made from animal skins stretched over hollowed-out logs or pottery. These drums were played with sticks or hands and were used in various religious ceremonies and celebrations.

Ancient China

Ancient China is another civilization that played a crucial role in the development of drums. The Chinese were known for their innovative approach to music and instruments. They developed a wide variety of drums, including the famous “tonggu,” which was a large cylindrical drum played with sticks. Drums were an essential part of Chinese music and were used in ceremonies, battle signals, and entertainment.

Ancient Africa

Ancient Africa has a rich history of drumming, with various tribes and cultures using drums for communication, religious rituals, and entertainment. African drums are known for their distinct sound and intricate designs. The djembe, a popular African drum, originated in West Africa and has become widely recognized worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What materials were used to make the first drums?

    The first drums were made from materials such as clay, wood, animal skins, and hollowed-out logs or pottery.

  2. How were drums played in ancient times?

    In ancient times, drums were played using hands or sticks made from materials such as wood or bone.

  3. Were drums used for ceremonial purposes?

    Yes, drums were often used in various ceremonial and religious rituals across different cultures.

  4. Did drums have any symbolic meaning?

    Yes, drums were believed to have symbolic meanings in many cultures. They were often associated with spirituality, communication, and the summoning of spirits.

  5. Which culture had the most diverse range of drums?

    Ancient China is known for its diverse range of drums, with various sizes, shapes, and playing techniques.

  6. What role did drums play in ancient warfare?

    Drums were used in ancient warfare as a means of communication, signaling troop movements, and boosting morale on the battlefield.

  7. Drums became popular in Western music during the 19th and 20th centuries, with the rise of jazz, rock, and other modern music genres.

  8. Are drums still important in modern society?

    Absolutely! Drums continue to play a vital role in modern music, cultural celebrations, and various forms of entertainment.

  9. What are some famous drumming traditions around the world?

    Some famous drumming traditions include the Taiko drumming in Japan, the Samba drumming in Brazil, and the Bodhrán drumming in Ireland.

  10. Can anyone learn to play the drums?

    Yes, anyone can learn to play the drums with dedication, practice, and proper guidance.


While the exact inventor of the first drum remains unknown, drums have been an integral part of human culture for thousands of years. From the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt to the diverse drumming traditions of China and Africa, drums have evolved and played a significant role in various cultures. Today, drums continue to captivate and inspire people worldwide, serving as a powerful means of expression, communication, and artistic creativity.

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