Gruesome drums of horror
The humble frame drum, known in many cultures across the world and taking various forms with different shapes, materials and sizes appears so innocent. Many of us tapped on tambourines at school, with the merry sound of the jingles accompanying our rhymes. But this hand drum has a dark side!
The ancient Hebrews called their hand drum a tof and it was generally played by women back then. Thetof bears strong and gruesome connections to an area known as Tophet in Jerusalem; a region where great horrors occurred.
This hellish area was the site of child sacrifice which saw kids burnt to appease the God Moloch. Although these horrific deeds were carried out in the name of this God, the screams of the children were too much for the people in the surrounding area so drums were beaten to disguise their cries. Now many of us have played some bad gigs in our time, but this is on another level!
This area became known as the valley of Tophet and a possible derivation of this name is that of the frame drum, tof, or toph.
Apologies if that was a bit disheartening to read but the long history of the drum is fascinating and amongst all its productive qualities, there is a dark side too.
Now go and jam along with something happy and positive.
If you're interested in the history of our beloved drums you might like to check out my book which goes deep in the subject. THE DRUM: A HISTORY