What means tabor?

Answered by Jason Smith

The term “tabor” refers to a small drum that is often used to accompany a pipe or fife. It is typically played by the same person who is playing the pipe or fife. The drum itself is small in size and has one head made of soft calfskin.

The tabor is an essential instrument in traditional folk music, particularly in Europe. It has a long history and has been used in various cultural contexts for centuries. The word “tabor” can be traced back to the Middle English word “tabour,” which originated from the Old French word “tabur.”

The design of the tabor allows for easy handling and playing. It is typically held in one hand, while the other hand is used to beat the drumhead. The soft calfskin head produces a warm and resonant sound when struck. The drum is usually played using a combination of fingers, palm, and wrist movements, allowing for different tones and rhythms to be produced.

In the context of folk music, the tabor serves as a rhythmic accompaniment to the melody played on the pipe or fife. The drumming patterns can vary depending on the specific style or tradition, but they generally provide a steady beat and enhance the overall musical experience. The tabor adds a lively and energetic element to the music, creating a sense of rhythm and momentum.

One interesting aspect of the tabor is that it is often played by the same person who is playing the pipe or fife. This requires a certain level of skill and coordination, as the musician needs to simultaneously play two instruments. It is not uncommon to see performers using their feet or knees to hold and stabilize the tabor while playing the pipe or fife. This multitasking aspect adds a visual element to the performance and showcases the dexterity of the musician.

The tabor has been used in various musical genres and contexts throughout history. In addition to its role in folk music, it has also been incorporated into military music and street performances. Its portable and versatile nature makes it a popular instrument for outdoor gatherings and celebrations.

In my personal experience, I have had the opportunity to witness the captivating sound of the tabor in traditional folk music performances. The combination of the pipe or fife and the rhythmic drumming creates a lively and engaging atmosphere. The skill and coordination required to play both instruments simultaneously is truly impressive, and it adds an element of excitement to the overall performance.

To summarize, the tabor is a small drum with one head made of soft calfskin. It is played by the same person who is playing the pipe or fife and serves as a rhythmic accompaniment. The tabor adds a dynamic element to traditional folk music, and its sound is characterized by the warm and resonant tones produced by the soft calfskin head. Its history and cultural significance make it an integral part of various musical traditions.