- The Talking Drum is an hourglass-shaped pressure drum so-named because it can imitate spoken language's intonations and rhythms. At either end of the drum’s body, the drum's heads are made of animal hide, fish skin, or another membrane wrapped around the drum's wooden hoop. Leather cords or thongs run the length of the drum's body and are bound around both hoops. The drum player holds the drum under the arm so as to squeeze the cords. When the cords are pressed and the head is tightened, the drum's pitch changes.
- Skilled talking-drum drummers can imitate African tonal languages' sounds and cadence, and reproduce proverbs and praise songs. The use of the talking-drum was forbidden in the United States during the enslavement era because of its ability to "speak" in an unknown language and possibly incite rebellion. This kind of drum is known as Dundun in Yoruba and Kalangu in the Hausa language.
- Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner collected this drum in Nigeria in 1951. He was interested in music and language tonalities and how they carry meaning within communities and cultures.
- Accession Number
- Restrictions & Rights
- wood, animal skin, cloth, leather
- 16 × 7 5/16 × 7 1/16 in. (40.6 × 18.5 × 18 cm) [talking drum]
- 2 3/8 × 1 1/4 × 10 1/16 in. (6 × 3.2 × 25.5 cm) [mallet]
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- Anacostia Community Museum Collection
- Anacostia Community Museum
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