The History of Percussion

The drumset has undergone very little change as far as instrumentation. The earliest trap kits had a lot more toys and sound affects than todays sets and were popular in Dixieland and early jazz. Basically, those sets and today shad a mixture of drums and cymbals of various sizes. Today's set consists of at least the following:
  • pedal operated bass drum
  • hi-hat
  • snare drum
  • ride cymbal
  • crash cymbal
  • tom-toms (from 1-20 in some cases!)
  • throne (seat)
The picture below gives a nice example of cymbal types and sizes used on today's modern drumset.

Other trends
The majority of the trends today have been towards larger kits. Cymbals may number in the thirties even in some cases, with an equal number of drums. Double-bass pedals have allowed drummer to have the speed of two-feet driving a bass drum pedal without having to have two separate drums. Terry Bozzio, one of the few true drumset artists, has an exquisite orchestra on which he plays:

The following two clips are good examples of how drumming sounds and styles have changed. The first clip is the gifted jazz drummer Elvin Jones performing on John Coltrane's A Love Supreme album. The style is definitely that of the post-bop 60s and also represents a style that some young drummers are starting to get into in the 90's. The second solo is by the percussionist and avant-garde drummer Trilok Gurtu from India. A master tabla drummer, Trilok combines middle-eastern rhythms with jazz and fusion music in an exquisite way matched by no other. In fact, he plays in a squatting position on a large Persian rug which houses his small percussion\trap set.