Slit Drum

                        The Full View


    The Resonating Chamber


                 The Head


        The Tail


The slit drum is an idiophone drum, made from a hollowed piece of wood in which a narrow groove serves as a sound opening. The slit drum is struck with a stick along both sides of the narrow groove, which produces two different pitches. The possibility of combining rhythm with pitch enables the slit drum to act as a means of communication for tone-language tribes such as the Bantu.

A block of wood, usually part of a tree trunk, is cut into the desired shape and then hollowed out through the slit in the upper side. The drum maker/woodcutter ensures that the two sides of the drum are unequal in thickness so that different pitches are produced when played with two rubber-headed drum sticks. The two-tone structure will later form the basis for the transmission of a message, the purpose for which these instruments are best known.

This type of slit drum is found in a large area of the Congo: Central Basin, Maniema, Kasai, Katanga, Kivu and Kwango, and is called by several names (lukumbi, nkumvi)

The so-called zoomorphic slit-drums are impressive in shape and occur in both large and small sizes,  these slit-drums are made from one extremely large block of wood and are shaped into a stylised animal (buffalo, antelope). They are distinguished by a large trunk which serves as a sound box. On one side of it is a sculpted stylized neck and head and on the other side a tail. This head and tail are not necessarily always recognizable; some types only have an identical wooden point on each side. In order to add extra emphasis to the shape of the animal, the "trunk" stands on four wooden feet.

Approximate dimensions:   cm (H) x  cm (W) x  cm (D)

Weight:  kg

Price: please send us an inquiry and we will answer as soon as possible

If you are in Uganda, you can view the products in our shops:

Entebbe: c/o Anna's Corner
Queen's Road, Plot 12,
Open every day.

Kampala: c/o Hidden Treasures
Buganda Road 18
Open every day.

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