The Tom-tom, Rototom and Octoban
A tom-tom drum is a cylindrical drum with no snares and was added to the modern drum kit in the early part of the 20th century. Most toms range in size between 6 and 20 inches (15 and 51 cm) in diameter, though floor toms can go as large as 24 inches (61 cm).
The modern basic drum kit includes 3 tom-toms;
These, together with a snare drum and the bass drum complete a standard drum kit of five drums. Additional toms, rototoms, octobans etc. are then added to expand the range of the kit.
- A 12 in (30 cm) x 8 in (20 cm) deep) - mounted on the left of the bass drum
- A 13 in (33 cm) x 9 in (23 cm) deep - mounted on the right of the bass drum
- A floor tom-tom 16 in (41 cm) x (16 inches deep) mounted on three legs standing to the right of a right handed drummer.
Rototoms have no casing (or shell) and consist of a single head held by a zinc or aluminum frame. Unlike most other drums, they can be tuned to sound a specific. Rototoms are often used to extend the tom range of a standard drum kit and sometimes used as a practice substitute for timpani students, as rototoms have a very similar sound but are not as loud, or expensive, or as big as timpani.
Rototoms can be tuned quickly by rotating the head, which sits in a threaded metal ring. Rotation raises or lowers the tension hoop
relative to the rim, which increases or decreases the pitch of the drum by increasing or decreasing the tension of the drum head.
Octobans are deep, small diameter, single-head tom-toms. Octobans were originally grouped in melodically-tuned sets of eight with
reference to octave and octo meaning "eight"; a single drum is known as an octo.
Complete sets (8) and half sets (4) of octobans are commonly mounted in clusters of four and can be mounted in a straight line, in pairs, or individually and feature regularly in modern drum kits.