A talking drum is a beautiful instrument created by the Ashanti and
Yoruba people of Ghana and Nigeria. The talking drum is also called a
"waisted" drum because it has an hourglass shape with a "waist" in the
Skins are stretched over the ends of the drum, and held in place by many
cords. The drum heads at either end of the drum's wooden body are made
from hide, fish-skin or other membranes which are wrapped around a
wooden hoop. Leather cords or thongs run the length of the drum's body
and are wrapped around both of the hoops.
When the cords are tightened, the skin gets pulled tighter and the pitch
of the drum gets higher. When the cords are relaxed, the pitch goes
lower. The player must hold the drum between his upper arm and left side
and use his arm to squeeze and relax the cords while he is striking the
drum with a mallet in his right hand.