Octoban – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Musical Instruments Glossary

What is an Octoban?

An Octoban is a type of drum that is cylindrical in shape and produces a unique sound. It is a member of the tom-tom drum family and is typically tuned to specific pitches, giving it a melodic quality. Octobans are often used in drum kits to add depth and variety to the overall sound.

History of the Octoban

The Octoban was first introduced in the 1970s by the Japanese drum manufacturer, Tama. The name “Octoban” is derived from the fact that the drums are typically tuned to octaves. The Octoban quickly gained popularity among drummers for its distinctive sound and versatility in various musical genres.

Over the years, the Octoban has become a staple in many drum kits, especially in progressive rock and fusion music. It is often used to create intricate rhythms and add a melodic element to drum solos.

Construction and Design of the Octoban

Octobans are typically made of either fiberglass or acrylic, which gives them a clear and resonant sound. They come in various sizes, ranging from 6 inches to 14 inches in diameter and 6 inches to 24 inches in length. The drums are usually mounted on a stand or attached to the drum kit using clamps.

One of the unique features of the Octoban is its ability to be tuned to specific pitches. This allows drummers to create melodic patterns and harmonies while playing. The drums are often arranged in a set of four or eight, with each drum tuned to a different pitch.

Playing Techniques for the Octoban

Playing the Octoban requires a combination of traditional drumming techniques and a good sense of pitch. Drummers can use both sticks and hands to produce different sounds on the drums. The Octoban can be played in a variety of ways, including single strokes, rolls, and flams.

One popular technique used with Octobans is the “melodic drumming” approach, where drummers create musical phrases and patterns by playing different pitches on the drums. This technique adds a dynamic and melodic element to drum solos and fills.

Notable Musicians who use the Octoban

Several notable musicians have incorporated Octobans into their drum kits, showcasing the versatility and unique sound of these drums. One of the most famous users of Octobans is drummer Terry Bozzio, who is known for his intricate and melodic drum solos. Bozzio’s use of Octobans has influenced many drummers and has helped popularize the instrument in the music industry.

Other musicians who have used Octobans include Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Bill Bruford of Yes and King Crimson, and Simon Phillips of Toto. These drummers have showcased the range and capabilities of Octobans in various musical contexts, from progressive rock to jazz fusion.

In conclusion, the Octoban is a unique and versatile drum that has become a popular choice among drummers for its distinctive sound and melodic capabilities. Its history, construction, playing techniques, and use by notable musicians all contribute to its popularity and influence in the music industry.