Steel Drums: The History Of Trinidad And Tobago

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The steel drum instrument holds the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago’s musical tradition. Even though the steel drums are not widely known, the instrument is rapidly growing in popularity throughout the world. This unique instrument has an interesting history; as well as a huge impact on Caribbean music today. Trinidad and Tobago made the steel drum their national instrument because it embodies the essence of ancient African roots with national heritage. The steel drums allow the natives of the island nation to connect with national tradition and to spread national pride. This steel instrument has an extensive past. The steel drum, also known as the steel pan, was invented during the 1930s. The music of the steel pan originates from the country of Trinidad and Tobago. The concept of the instrument, however, roots from the time when British colonial authorities banned African drumming. The people of Africa began to produce music from bamboo sticks, which they banged the ground to create a mellow sound on the ground. This instrument was called the "Tamboo Bamboo.” Based on common belief, the steel pan was invented by a man named, Winston “Spree” Simon. It is said that Winston “Spree” Simon created the steel pan by simply founding a dent in his garbage can. As he began to knock out the dent with a hammer, he suddenly realized each blow with the hammer created a different pitch. After this realization, Winston continued to bang dents into the garbage can of various shapes and sizes until he made scales of notes. Soon, Winston was able to note scales and rhythms on his garbage can. Garbage cans were scarce. The garbage containers were not only hard to come by but the material was not suitable for long playability. This brought an obst... ... middle of paper ... ...and Tobago culture. The steel drums are tools to express Calypso and Soca music. During Panorama, conventional bands are required to play up to 8 minutes of Soca or calypso music. Small bands are only required to perform up to 6 minutes of the either genre. The steel drum instrument is very important aspect of Trinidad and Tobago culture. This instrument is a tool for Trinidadians and Tobagonians to express and share native musical traditions. During Carnival and Panorama, natives have the ability to celebrate their cultural values by the use of the steel drum. The steel drum embodies the spirit of ancient African roots and national heritage. Steel drums are still fairly new; however, they have been rapidly growing in popularity throughout the world. The steel drums have not only impacted all of Trinidad and Tobago but it has impacted all of Caribbean music today.

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