The bass drum is a percussion instrument, from the category of membranophones, directly impacted, sub-category bi-membranophone, with resonator with morphology of tube, of cylindrical type: the sound, of indefinite height, result of the percussion and the vibration membrane (s) stretched in the resonator.
The instrument, large (90 to 100 centimeters in diameter), is composed of two cutaneous membranes or synthetic material (polyester, plastic), fixed on both sides of a cylindrical frame made of wood or metal (with holes) by metal rings whose tension is adjusted by hooks, washers and / or tensioning screws; (Previous methods of tensioning the membrane, with wooden hoops, adjusted by rope are rarely used, almost exclusive to some regimental groupings); the instrument is executed with the cylindrical frame in a horizontal position, where the membranes are struck by one (or more) pot (s). The instrument may include a stand for placing cutting cymbals. Three predominant models are identified, described here by increasing dimension: the bombo, constituent of the battery; the parade bombo and the symphonic bombo. (Instruments of similar size, executed with the frame in vertical arrangement are characteristic of Brazilian percussion, be called “deaf”, “treme-earth”).
The existence of similar instruments in the East is documented from the second to the first century BC In Europe, the execution of a hollow wooden instrument, covered on both sides by the skin, struck with sticks, designated as symphonia was first described in the sixth century. The membranophone predecessor David, the Middle East, used since at least the 14th century, was introduced again in Europe in the 16th century, having been rarely used and recognized as “Turkish percussion” until the beginning of the 19th century, when the Ottoman groups of wind instruments with percussion – known as “Janizara Music” – finally caught the attention of European composers for this percussion instrument.
JAMES BLADES & JANET K. PAGE et al., “Drum” in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan, 2001.