Many speaking drums have an hourglass-shaped body and are strung with two skins connected by leather cords. The drum is clamped under the arm and played with a special crook. By tensing and letting go of the upper arm, the pitch can be changed using the leather cords. Due to the different pitches, all tonal languages of Ghana can be played on the drum ( Twi , Hausa , Dagomba etc.).
In the Tama, a different system is used to cover the drum body, depending on the ethnic group.
|Language, ethnic group, or territory||Surname|
|Hausa , Songhai||Kalangu|
|Wolof||Tama or Tamma|
- The Tama . AccessGambia.com
- Donno and Kalangu at the Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection, Grinnell, Iowa
- The term talking drum is rejected by African ethnomusicologists, since every drum actually speaks. See Samuel Akpabot The Talking Drums of Nigeria African Music Vol. 5 (4) (1975/1976): 36ff.
- Hermann Jungraithmayr ( Function and meaning of the musical pitch in African languages , in: Artur Simon (Ed.): Musik in Afrika, Berlin 1983, p. 66ff.) Emphasizes, however, that the Hausa have no drum language and there the pitches above all grammatical functions, but not fulfilling any fundamental meaning.