A drum kit consists of several different percussion instruments that are played with sticks or brushes. They don't produce sounds with a definite pitch, but provide a steady rhythmic beat for popular forms of music such as rock and jazz.

The snare drum is usually found in the middle of the set. It has rattles, or snares, stretched across the drum head and produces a very sharp, accented sound.

The tom-tom drums, or simply toms, usually come in a set of three or four. They do not have snares, so their sound is more 'hollow'. In a drum set, the toms are of different sizes, with the larger ones making a lower sound and the smaller ones making a higher sound.

The bass drum sits directly on the floor. Some fancy drum kits may even have two bass drums! They are played by stepping on a pedal, which causes a large mallet or beater to strike the drum. Since the bass drum is played with the foot, it is also commonly called a kick drum.

Cymbals are the thin, round plates of metal seen at the highest level of a drum set. They can be played, like the bass drum, by stepping on a pedal, or by striking them directly with sticks or brushes. Cymbals can provide a rhythmic beat or a sudden, surprising crash.

© Luke Bartolomeo 2012