• String
  • keyboard
  • woodwind
  • brass
  • percussion

Den-den daiko (Japanese pellet drum)

You will need:

  • A tuna can with either one or both sides open (please be careful when opening and touching the can), or
  • A short section of toilet paper roll or cardboard tube, or
  • A short section of a plastic drinks bottle
  • A toilet paper roll for the handle
  • Two balloons
  • Some string
  • Beads
  • Tape
  • Decoration

1. Choose a can, or cylinder that is about 8 cm in diameter and about 5 cm in depth.

2. Cut the top off of the balloons, about 1/3 of the way down.

3. Stretch the balloons over each side of the cylinder and tape in place. The tighter the balloons are stretched, the louder and higher the sound will be.

4. Take two pieces of string, tie a knot in the end of each piece big enough to stop your bead from slipping over the knot.

5. Slip a bead or two onto each piece of string and tape the string to each side of the tube, making sure that the string is long enough so the bead can hit directly in the middle of the balloon drum head.

6. Add a handle by cutting a half circle shape out of one end of a toilet roll and taping the handle onto the side of the drum.

7. Decorate and enjoy!

If one side of the metal tuna can is present, it will make a different sound than the balloon.

Why does it make a different sound?

Pellet drums are used for religious rituals particularly in Tibet, Mongolia and India, but are known in Asia as a children’s toy and a noise-maker for street vendors. It’s not surprising, it can make quite a loud sound! Try holding the handle between your hands and make a rubbing motion back and forth. Can you make a loud, fast noise by making the beads hit each side of the drum quickly?