Slit Log Drums
Slit log drums produce various tones from the slits in the log. Slit log drums were developed simultaneously by several cultures as a way to send messages that could be heard over great distances. These cultures lived in places where large trees grew (including parts of Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim, and the Americas) and they sent messages using drums made out of huge logs. They would take a log from a large tree; the bigger the log, the bigger its sound would be and the farther it could be heard. A long slit would be cut in the side of the log, and the log would be hollowed out through the slit, leaving wooden ledges, or lips, on each side of the slit. If they wanted the drum to be able to make a lower note and a higher note, they would hollow it out more under one lip than under the other. To play messages, they beat on the drum's lips with sticks, beating out rhythms of high and low notes. In modern times, slit log drums are used mostly for music.