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Soame collection case 2: Exotic kickdrums of Europe and the Americas

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Peruvian long-tailed kickdrum
Region: South America
Collector: Joseph Nuffield (bequeathed to the Collection 1894)

Listen to this kickdrum:

Collected in South America (probably Peru), this kickdrum is a beautiful example of evolutionary speciation.

Genetic evidence indicates that it shares a common ancestor with the 808 kickdrum so common throughout the Americas, but, separated from the majority kickdrum population by the natural barriers of the mountains and rainforest, this drum exemplifies many of the features unique to the population in that area:
  • An extravagant onset "pop" in the drum's attack phase
  • Significant high-frequency tones which continue throughout
  • An extended decay phase, stretching to 1.5 seconds (almost 4 beats at 145BPM)
We have created a model of this elegant kickdrum - a computer simulation which displays these characteristic high-frequency components without the resonant bass of Nuffield's specimen. Click here to listen to the model, and compare with the original.

Longtail in Peruvian rainforest
A rare photograph of a longtail, seen here in forest undergrowth
Lesser Canadian kickdrum
Region: Eastern Canada
Collector: Mrs Mary Caterham (bequeathed to the Collection 1853)

Listen to this kickdrum:

The Lesser Canadian is notable for its unusual shape:

Lesser Canadian Although the total body-length of the kickdrum is not great (at 0.35 seconds it is significantly shorter than the average for a drum of the pitched-sinewave family) it takes almost a tenth of one second to reach its maximum amplitude. This quality means that the kickdrum only attains full volume when almost a third through its life-cycle! Of this kickdrum Soame famously remarked:
"...[the Lesser Canadian kickdrum]'s short as fuck, it's got no fucking punch, no wonder it sounds like such botty-wiggling shite."
Northern European Robustus kickdrum
Region: Germany
Collector: Erasmus Pavey (donated to the Collection 1853)

Listen to this kickdrum:

The kickdrums of Germany are part of a family of "robust" kickdrums, whose earliest recorded direct ancestors spread from the mountains of Italy across the Alps and colonised much of Northern mainland Europe - their distribution is shown on this map, highlighted in red:

Distribution of the robust European kickdrums The particular example of robustus displayed in the Museum has been described variously as "seismic" and "like the front door slamming in Hell", but none has summed up its qualities more eloquently than its collector, Erasmus Pavey (then British Ambassador to Austria), who wrote to Lord Soame:
"Mate! You have GOT to listen this kick!! It's fucking BRUTAL, man - like, PROPER the 28-gun German Bad Bwoyyyyyyyy!!!!"

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