By World War I, drum kits were often marching band-style military bass drums with many percussion items suspended on and around them. Drum kits became a central part of jazz, especially Dixieland. The modern drum kit was developed in the vaudeville era during the 1920s in New Orleans.
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Budget constraints and space considerations in musical theatre pit orchestras led bandleaders to pressure fewer percussionists to cover more percussion parts. Metal consoles were developed to hold Chinese tom-toms, with swing-out stands for snare drums and cymbals. On top of the console was a \"contraption\" tray (shortened to \"trap,\") used to hold items like whistles, klaxons and cowbells, so these drums/kits were dubbed \"trap kits.\" Hi-hat stands became available around 1926.
Tom-tom drums, or toms for short, are drums without snares and played with sticks (or whatever tools the music style requires) and are the most numerous drums in most kits. They provide the bulk of most drum fills and solos.
In most drum kits and drum/percussion kits cymbals are as important as the drums themselves. The oldest idiophones in music are cymbals, and were used throughout the ancient Near East, very early in the Bronze Age period. Cymbals are most associated with Turkey and Turkish craftsmanship, where Zildjian (the name means cymbal smith) has predominantly made them since 1623.
While most drummers purchase cymbals individually, beginner cymbal packs were brought to market to provide entry-level cymbals for the novice drummer. The kits normally contain four cymbals: one ride, one crash, and a pair of hi-hats. A few contain only three cymbals, using a crash/ride instead of the separate ride and crash. The sizes closely follow those given in Common configurations below.
In the very smallest kits, in jazz, and at very high volumes, ride cymbals may be played in with the technique and sound of a crash cymbal. Some hi-hats will also give a useful crash, particularly thinner hats or those with an unusually severe taper. At low volumes, producing a good crash from a cymbal not particularly suited to it is a highly skilled art. Alternatively, specialized crash/ride and ride/crash cymbals are specifically designed to combine both functions.
All cymbals other than rides, hi-hats and crashes/splashes are usually called effects cymbals when used in a drum kit, though this is a non-classical or colloquial designation that has become a standardized label. Most extended kits include one or more splash cymbals and at least one china cymbal. Major cymbal makers produce cymbal extension packs consisting of one splash and one china, or more rarely a second crash, a splash and a china, to match some of their starter packs of ride, crash and hi-hats. However any combination of options can be found in the marketplace.
Some cymbals may be considered effects in some kits but \"basic\" in another set of components. A swish cymbal may, for example serve, as the main ride in some styles of music, but in a larger kit, which includes a conventional ride cymbal as well, it may well be considered an effects cymbal per se. Likewise, Ozone crashes have the same purpose as a standard crash cymbal, but are considered to be effects cymbals due to their rarity, and the holes cut into them, which provide a darker, more resonant attack.
Trigger pads and drums, on the other hand, when deployed in a conventional set-up, are most commonly used to produce sounds not possible with an acoustic kit, or at least not with what is available. Any sound that can be sampled/recorded can be played when the pad is struck, by assigning the recorded sounds to specific triggers . Recordings or samples of barking dogs, sirens, breaking glass and stereo recordings of aircraft taking off and landing have all been used. Along with the more obvious electronically generated sounds there are synthesized human voices or song parts or even movie audio or digital video/pictures that (depending on device used) can also be played/triggered by electronic drums.
Virtual drums are a type of audio software that simulates the sound of a drum kit using synthesized drum kit sounds or digital samples of acoustic drum sounds. Different drum software products offer a recording function, the ability to select from several acoustically distinctive drum kits (e.g., jazz, rock, metal), as well as the option to incorporate different songs into the session. Some software for the personal computer (PC) can turn any hard surface into a virtual drum kit using only one microphone.
Drum kits are traditionally categorized by the number of drums, ignoring cymbals and other instruments. Snare, tom-tom and bass drums are always counted; other drums such as octobans may or may not be counted.
If a second hanging tom is used, it is 10\" diameter and 8\" deep for fusion, or 13\" diameter and one inch deeper than the 12\" diameter tom. Otherwise, a 14\" diameter hanging tom is added to the 12\", both being 8\" deep. In any case, both toms are most often mounted on the bass drum with the smaller of the two next to the hi-hats (on the left for a right-handed drummer). These kits are particularly useful for smaller venues where space is limited, such as coffeehouses, cafés, hotel lounges, and small pubs.
Other kits will normally have 12\" and 13\" hanging toms plus either a 14\" hanging tom on a stand, a 14\" floor tom, or a 16\" floor tom. In the 2010s, it is very popular to have 10\" and 12\" hanging toms, with a 16\" floor tom. This configuration is often called a hybrid setup. The bass drum is most commonly 22\" in diameter, but rock kits may use 24\", fusion 20\", jazz 18\", and in larger bands up to 26\". A second crash cymbal is common, typically an inch or two larger or smaller than the 16\", with the larger of the two to the right for a right-handed drummer, but a big band may use crashes up to 20\" and ride up to 24\" or, very rarely, 26\". A rock kit may also substitute a larger ride cymbal or larger hi-hats, typically 22\" for the ride and 15\" for the hats.
Most five-piece kits, at more than entry level, also have one or more effects cymbals. Adding cymbals beyond the basic ride, hi-hats and one crash configuration requires more stands in addition to the standard drum hardware packs. Because of this, many higher-cost kits for professionals are sold with little or even no hardware, to allow the drummer to choose the stands and also the bass drum pedal he/she prefers. At the other extreme, many inexpensive, entry-level kits are sold as a five-piece kit complete with two cymbal stands, most often one straight and one boom, and some even with a standard cymbal pack, a stool, and a pair of 5A drum sticks. In the 2010s, digital kits are often offered in a five-piece kit, usually with one plastic crash cymbal triggers and one ride cymbal trigger. Fully electronic drums do not produce any acoustic sound beyond the quiet tapping of sticks on the plastic or rubber heads. The trigger-pads are wired up to a synth module or sampler.
If the toms are omitted completely, or the bass drum is replaced by a pedal-operated beater on the bottom skin of a floor tom and the hanging toms omitted, the result is a two-piece Cocktail drum kit, originally developed for Cocktail lounge acts. Such kits are particularly favored in musical genres such as trad jazz, bebop, rockabilly and jump blues. Some rockabilly kits and beginners kits for very young players omit the hi-hat stand. In rockabilly, this allows the drummer to play standing rather than seated. A very simple jazz kit for informal or amateur jam sessions consist of bass drum, snare drum and hi-hat, often with only a single cymbal (normally a ride, with or without sizzlers).
Although these kits may be small with respect to the number of drums used, the drums themselves are most often normal sizes, or even larger in the case of the bass drum. Kits using smaller drums in both smaller and larger configurations are also produced for particular uses, such as boutique kits designed to reduce the visual impact that a large kit creates or due space constraints in coffeehouses, travelling kits to reduce luggage volume, and junior kits for very young players. Smaller drums also tend to be quieter, again suiting smaller venues, and many of these kits extend this with extra muffling which allows quiet or even silent practice in a hotel room or bedroom.
Drummers using electronic drums, drum machines, or hybrid acoustic-electric kits (which blend traditional acoustic drums and cymbals with electronic pads) typically use a monitor speaker, keyboard amplifier or even a small PA system to hear the electronic drum sounds. Even a drummer playing entirely acoustic drums may use a monitor speaker to hear her drums, especially if she is playing in a loud rock or metal band, where there is substantial onstage volume from huge, powerful guitar stacks. Since the drum kit uses the deep bass drum, drummers are often given a large speaker cabinet with a 15\" subwoofer to help them monitor their bass drum sound (along with a full-range monitor speaker to hear the rest of their kit). Some sound engineers and drummers prefer to use an electronic vibration system, colloquially known as a \"butt shaker\" or \"throne thumper\" to monitor the bass drum, because this lowers the stage volume. With a \"butt shaker\", the \"thump\" of each bass drum strike causes a vibration in the drum stool; this way the drummer feels their beat on the posterior, rather than hears it.
Some drummers wear special drummer's gloves to improve their grip on the sticks when they play. Drumming gloves often have a textured grip surface made of a synthetic or rubber material and mesh or vents on the parts of the glove not used to hold sticks, to ventilate perspiration.
Drummers often bring a carpet, ma