Dragon and Lion Dance Drum

The drum is used to accompany the lion's or dragon's movements during the dance. The base is made of wood with spring coils inside that gives the drum more emphasis. The top surface is made from preserved ox skin pinned to the sides and finished off with layered gloss. It is also usual for the drum to be decorated with a variety of design patterns.

The music of the performance is arranged in different patterns that the dancers must be very familiar with and be able to follow. Each pattern signifies certain movements and with each beat, the drummer can communicate to the lion or dragon as to which movement to perform. The lion and dragon can communicate to the drummer by making subtle gestures since they cannot give audible signals to the drummer. When everything is in play, the performance can display a high degree of orchestration and effective story-telling.

Once the basic drum has been mastered, the drummer can advance to the next level by learning advanced techniques and create their own personalised beats.

lion dance drum picture


The cymbal is made from brass and attached together with a small rope. At the bare minimum, at least one cymbal is played together with the drum but usually there are more than one. It can be played with soft and loud variations in order to make the music interesting. To make a successful rhythm, both the cymbals and drum should be played in time and with the correct technique.

Finally, a gong is also used during a dragon/lion dance to give the music a more defined sound. It should be played in time with the main drum beat.

lion dance cymbals picture




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