So why do drum makers go through the trouble? It’s all about the sound. The carvings create a deeper, richer sound than a perfectly smooth surface would. “If the interior surface isn’t broken up, you’ll get a high-pitched ringing when the drum is struck,” says Mark Miyoshi. He’s a taiko drum maker in Mount Shasta, California.
“Each carving has a different purpose to make different sounds,” says Sumiyo Asano,of the Asano Taiko Company. The company has been making taiko drums in Japan since 1609. For example, some customers choose a special pattern for drums used in art performances or festivals.
“I hope that most folks appreciate the sound of the drum,” says Miyoshi. “Perhaps someday they will see the inside and appreciate the attention each drum maker gives to the drum and, ultimately, its sound.”