A drumhead is a membrane stretched over one or both of the open ends of a Drum. The drumhead is struck with sticks, mallets, or hands so that it vibrates and the Sound resonates through the drum.
Originally, drumheads were made from animal Skin. In 1956, Chick Evans invented the plastic drumhead. Plastic drumheads made from Polyester are cheaper, more durable, and less sensitive to weather than animal skin heads. In 1957, Remo Belli and Sam Muchnick together developed a plastic head (also known as Mylar) leading to the development of the Remo drumhead company.
Despite the benefits of plastic heads, drummers in Historical reenactment groups such as Fife and drum use animal skin heads for historical accuracy. Skin heads are used on most Hand drums, including Djembes, Frame drums and Congas. Another common material used for drumheads is Aramid fiber, such as Kevlar. More durable fiber heads are used mostly in Marching percussion.
A Drum "hoop" or "rim" may be made of metal, wood, or other material and is used to hold a drumhead against a drum shell, either with bolts through metal "claws" attached directly to a hoop, or bolts through holes in a Flanged rim. The bolts, called "tension rods," are screwed into threaded "lugs" attached to the drum shell, in order to tighten and tune the drumhead. A "drum key" is a type of Wrench used to screw the tension rods into the lugs.
Drummers muffle their drums using special drumheads like double-ply heads, "control ring" heads, and "hydraulic" heads, or various materials placed on the drumhead like o-rings, duct tape, muffling clamps, and a product called Moongel which is a blue, sticky, gel-like substance also used to dampen cymbals. Drummers also place foam, pillows, or blankets inside the bass drum to reduce overtones.
- Accessory Fetish A Complete List of Drum Head Manufacturers