One membrane drum

One membrane drum is a percussion instrument with metal sequins, made of a single piece of dark, heavy wood. The drum belongs to the instruments called membranophones. It consists of a body and one or two membranes. The membrane is made of hard leather, cattle, attached to the body by various length of the pins stuck in a close proximity of each other.

One membrane drum

The drum appeared in Europe in the early Middle Ages. Most often it was and still is used in military orchestras, symphony orchestra and folk instrumentarium. Because of the way of playing we can distinguish struck drums – by chopsticks, brushes, hand, fingers and rubbed – with fingers or by passing bundle of horsehair through a hole in membrane, chain, rod or rope rubbed by hand.

One membrane drum-legend


The instruments recorded in the project come from museum of sound with more than 80 thousand object collections from the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. Together with museum staff we have chosen 23 instruments guided by the following principles – they should be definitely folk, unusual, derived from the old times, Polish and coming from different cultural backgrounds, also exotic like e.g. Asian.

Recording a full range of tone of 23 instruments - tonal and sonic scale lasted several days. Thanks to the recordings - sound banks were created and have been used in the project in two ways. The first way was based on motion-sensitive controllers which created new practical instrumentarium for use during the workshops and animation activities. The second way was placing recorded sounds on the website for promotion of the idea of the project and gathering a great number of recipients.

All instruments were also photographed and described which enabled creating of publicly accessible compendium of information about them.