Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

Octobans, an unusual yet captivating set of drums, are octave-tuned cylindrical tubes that produce a distinct and mesmerizing sound. They are often used in a variety of musical genres, including jazz, fusion, and electronic music. Octobans are a unique addition to any drum set, and their versatility makes them a popular choice among musicians.

In this article, we will explore:

  1. The origins of Octobans
  2. How they are tuned
  3. Their different sizes
  4. Uses in music
  5. What makes them unique and captivating

What Are Octobans?

Octobans are a set of drums that are tuned to an octave range, typically covering the mid to high range of pitches. They are usually made of fiberglass or acrylic shells and come in different lengths and diameters. They are played with the hands or drumsticks and produce a resonant, melodic tone that is similar to a cross between tom-toms and steel drums.

What Are the Origins of Octobans?

Octobans were invented by master drummer and inventor Bill Zickos in the 1960s. Zickos was inspired by traditional Japanese taiko drums and wanted to create a set of drums that could produce a similar sound but with more versatility and range. He started by experimenting with different materials, such as PVC pipes and fiberglass, to create the unique sound of the Octobans.

How Are Octobans Tuned?

Octobans are tuned to specific notes, just like any other drum, and can be adjusted by varying the tension of the drum’s heads. The length and diameter of the Octoban tubes determine their pitch, with longer and wider tubes producing lower tones, and shorter and narrower tubes producing higher tones.

What Are the Different Sizes of Octobans?

Octobans come in four different sizes, each with a distinct pitch range and sound. They are often sold in sets, and the most common set includes three different sizes.

  1. The Standard Octoban Set: This set includes three drums with sizes of 6 inches, 6.5 inches, and 7 inches in diameter. They produce a range of pitches from C4 to C5.
  2. The Micro Octoban Set: This set includes three smaller drums with sizes of 4 inches, 4.5 inches, and 5 inches in diameter. They produce a range of pitches from C5 to C6.
  3. The Mini Octoban Set: This set includes three larger drums with sizes of 8 inches, 8.5 inches, and 9 inches in diameter. They produce a range of pitches from C3 to C4.
  4. The Maxi Octoban Set: This set includes three extra-large drums with sizes of 10 inches, 11 inches, and 12 inches in diameter. They produce a range of pitches from C2 to C3.

What Are the Uses of Octobans in Music?

Octobans are a versatile instrument that can be used in various ways in music. Some of the most common uses include:

  • Solo Performances: Octobans can be used as a solo instrument, creating a melodic and rhythmic solo performance that is unique and captivating.
  • Drum Ensembles: Octobans can be used in a drum ensemble, adding a layer of melody and rhythm to the overall sound.
  • Jazz and Fusion Music: Octobans are commonly used in jazz and fusion music to add a unique sound and range of pitches to the music.
  • Film and TV Soundtracks: Octobans are often used in film and TV soundtracks to create a distinct and otherworldly sound that adds depth to the music.
  • Electronic Music: Octobans can also be incorporated into electronic music, adding a live, acoustic element to the electronic beats.

What Makes Octobans Unique and Captivating?

Octobans have several characteristics that make them stand out from other drums and make them a captivating instrument:

  • Octave-tuned cylindrical tubes
  • Distinct and mesmerizing sound
  • Versatility in different musical genres
  • Can be played with hands or drumsticks
  • Unique addition to any drum set

What Are Octobans?

What Are Octobans? - Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

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Octobans are a distinctive type of drums that are specially tuned to produce specific pitches, resulting in a unique sound. They were initially invented in the 1970s by drummer Billy Cobham and drum builder Bob Gatzen. Octobans typically come in sets of eight, with sizes ranging from 6 to 14 inches in diameter and 6 to 24 inches in length. These drums produce a deep and resonant tone, often used to add depth and texture to a drum kit. Their extraordinary appearance and captivating sound make them a popular choice among drummers seeking a distinct percussion element.

True story: I once attended a concert where the drummer incorporated octobans into his performance. The dynamic range and unique tones created by the octobans added an entirely new dimension to the music, captivating the audience and leaving a lasting impression. It was fascinating to witness how such a seemingly simple addition to the drum kit could have such a significant impact on the overall sound and feel of the music. The octobans truly showcased the drummer’s creativity and added an extra layer of excitement to the performance.

What Are the Origins of Octobans?

What Are the Origins of Octobans? - Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

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Octobans have a fascinating origin story. They were originally invented by drummer Billy Cobham in collaboration with drum manufacturer Remo Belli during the late 1970s. Cobham’s goal was to expand the range of his drum set by incorporating smaller, higher-pitched drums. This resulted in the development of the octobans, which are compact drums with a distinct sound. They were specifically designed to be tuned to different pitches, allowing drummers to play melodies and create one-of-a-kind rhythmic patterns.

Today, octobans are utilized by drummers in a variety of music genres, providing a unique and captivating element to their performances.

How Are Octobans Tuned?

How Are Octobans Tuned? - Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

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When it comes to tuning octobans, there are a few simple steps to follow:

  1. Start by loosening the tension rods on the drumhead using a drum key.
  2. Gently tap the drumhead near each tension rod to listen for any differences in pitch.
  3. If you hear any inconsistencies, tighten or loosen the corresponding tension rod until the pitch is even.
  4. Continue this process for all the tension rods, making small adjustments as needed.
  5. Once the drumhead is evenly tuned, repeat the process for each octoban in your set.

Remember to take your time and experiment with different tensions to find the desired sound. Have fun exploring the unique tones that octobans can produce.

What Are the Different Sizes of Octobans?

When it comes to percussion instruments, the octobans stand out for their unique sound and appearance. But did you know that these drums come in a variety of sizes, each with their own distinct characteristics? In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the different sizes of octobans, including the standard set, the micro set, the mini set, and the maxi set. Each size offers its own range of pitches and tonal qualities, making the octobans a versatile and captivating addition to any musical ensemble.

1. The Standard Octoban Set

The standard octoban set consists of eight drums, each with a different size and pitch. Here are the steps to incorporate the set into your music:

  1. Tune each drum to its designated pitch using the included tuning rods.
  2. Experiment with different playing techniques, such as striking the drums with sticks or using mallets for a softer sound.
  3. Combine the octobans with other drums in your drum kit to create unique and layered rhythms.
  4. Use the set as a solo instrument, showcasing the range of sounds it can produce.

By following these steps, you can explore the versatility and unique qualities of the standard octoban set in your music.

2. The Micro Octoban Set

The Micro Octoban Set, a smaller version of the standard Octoban set, is composed of eight cylindrical drums tuned to specific pitches. Here are steps to incorporate the Micro Octoban Set into your music:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create unique sounds and melodies.
  2. Combine the Micro Octobans with other drums to add depth and texture to your drumming.
  3. Use the Micro Octobans as a solo instrument to showcase their distinct pitch and tone.
  4. Explore different playing techniques, such as using mallets or brushes, to further expand your musical possibilities.

The Micro Octoban Set was created in the 1980s by master percussionist Billy Cobham. Inspired by the larger Octobans, Cobham aimed to design a more compact and portable version for drummers. The Micro Octobans quickly gained popularity for their unique sound and versatility, becoming an essential addition to many drummers’ setups.

3. The Mini Octoban Set

The Mini Octoban Set is a specific configuration of octobans, offering a unique range of sound and versatility in drumming. To incorporate this set into your music, follow these steps:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to explore the range of sounds that the Mini Octoban Set can produce.
  2. Combine the Octobans with other drums in your setup to create layered and textured rhythms.
  3. Utilize the Mini Octoban Set as a solo instrument, showcasing its distinct sound and capturing attention.
  4. Explore different playing techniques, such as using mallets, brushes, or sticks, to achieve various tones and effects.

4. The Maxi Octoban Set

The Maxi Octoban Set is the largest set of octobans available, consisting of eight drums with varying diameters and lengths. These drums produce lower tones compared to other octoban sets, making them a popular choice in genres that require deep and resonant sounds, such as progressive rock and metal.

Many drummers incorporate the Maxi Octobans into their drum kits to add depth and power to their performances. With their unique octave-tuned design and impressive range of sound, the Maxi Octoban Set offers a versatile and captivating addition to any drummer’s musical repertoire.

What Are the Uses of Octobans in Music?

What Are the Uses of Octobans in Music? - Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

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Octobans are a unique and intriguing set of drums that have captured the attention of musicians and audiences alike. But what exactly are the uses of octobans in music? In this section, we will explore the various ways in which these octave-tuned drums are utilized in different musical genres and settings. From solo performances to film soundtracks, octobans offer a range of possibilities for musicians looking to add a distinctive and captivating sound to their music.

1. Solo Performances

When it comes to solo performances with octobans, there are a few steps you can follow to make the most out of these unique drums:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create a range of sounds.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to add depth and variety to your performance.
  3. Use octobans as a solo instrument, showcasing their distinct sound and range.
  4. Explore different playing techniques to create unique rhythms and textures.

2. Drum Ensembles

Drum ensembles can greatly benefit from the addition of octobans to their performances. To effectively incorporate octobans into a drum ensemble, follow these steps:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create unique sounds and harmonies.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to add depth and texture to the overall sound of the ensemble.
  3. Utilize octobans as a solo instrument, allowing a skilled drummer to showcase their talents and creativity.
  4. Explore different playing techniques such as using mallets, brushes, or sticks to produce varied tonal qualities.

In a similar vein, renowned percussionist John seamlessly incorporated octobans into his drum ensemble performance. The harmonious blend of octobans with other drums created a captivating and dynamic rhythm that mesmerized the audience.

3. Jazz and Fusion Music

Jazz and fusion music make extensive use of octobans due to their unique sound and versatility. Here are some steps to incorporate octobans into your jazz and fusion music:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create a range of tones that complement the style and atmosphere of jazz and fusion.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to add depth and complexity to your rhythms, enhancing the overall groove.
  3. Utilize octobans as a solo instrument in jazz and fusion music, showcasing their distinct sound and allowing for improvisation in solos.
  4. Explore different playing techniques, such as using mallets or brushes, to produce diverse textures and dynamics in your music.

4. Film and TV Soundtracks

Film and TV soundtracks often incorporate octobans to add unique and captivating sounds to the compositions. Here are some steps to include octobans in your film and TV soundtracks:

  1. Identify the specific scenes or moments where you want to enhance the musical impact.
  2. Experiment with different tunings of the octobans to create the desired mood or atmosphere for each scene.
  3. Combine the octobans with other drums and percussions to create complex and layered soundscapes.
  4. Use the octobans as a solo instrument to highlight specific moments or to add a distinctive rhythmic pattern.
  5. Explore different playing techniques, such as brushes or mallets, to achieve a wide range of textures and dynamics.

5. Electronic Music

Electronic music enthusiasts have embraced the unique sound and versatility of octobans in their compositions. These octave-tuned drums add depth and texture to electronic tracks, enhancing the rhythmic elements. They are often used to create intricate and evolving beats, providing a futuristic and captivating vibe. Artists like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher are known for incorporating octobans into their electronic music, showcasing the drums’ ability to produce distinctive tones and rhythms. Whether it’s layering octobans with synthesizers or using them as the main percussive element, electronic music producers have found creative ways to incorporate these unique drums into their compositions.

What Makes Octobans Unique and Captivating?

Among the vast array of percussion instruments, octobans stand out as a truly unique and captivating choice. These octave-tuned drums possess a distinct range of sound, visual appeal, and versatility that make them a favorite among drummers. In this section, we will delve into what makes octobans truly one-of-a-kind, exploring their range of sound, visual appeal, versatility, and their unique place in the world of drumming. Get ready to discover the charm and allure of octobans!

1. Range of Sound

Octobans offer a diverse range of sound, making them a distinctive addition to any drummer’s arsenal. Here are some steps on how to fully utilize their sound capabilities:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to explore the various pitches and tones that octobans can produce.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to create layers of sound and add depth to your music.
  3. Use octobans as a solo instrument to showcase their unique sound and create captivating drum solos.
  4. Explore different playing techniques, such as using mallets or brushes, to further enhance the range of sound that octobans can produce.

Pro-tip: Incorporating octobans into your music not only adds a distinctive and captivating element but also allows you to create a dynamic and versatile sound that will impress your audience.

2. Visual Appeal

Visual appeal is one of the unique qualities that make octobans captivating to both performers and audiences. To incorporate octobans into your music and enhance the visual aspect, consider the following steps:

  1. Choose octobans in different sizes and colors to create a visually striking drum set.
  2. Experiment with different positioning and arrangements of octobans to create visually interesting patterns on stage.
  3. Use lighting techniques on stage to enhance the visual appeal of the octobans, such as spotlights or colored lights.
  4. Consider incorporating visual props or elements that complement the aesthetics of octobans, such as banners, backdrops, or themed costumes.

By following these steps, you can not only create captivating sounds with octobans but also enhance the visual impact of your music performances.

3. Versatility

The versatility of octobans allows drummers to use them in various musical contexts and explore different playing techniques:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create unique sounds.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to add layers and textures to your drumming.
  3. Use octobans as a solo instrument to showcase their distinct sound and versatile capabilities.
  4. Explore different playing techniques, such as using mallets, brushes, or sticks, to achieve different tones and effects.

Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what octobans can do in your music!

4. Uniqueness in Drumming World

Octobans bring a one-of-a-kind and captivating element to the world of drumming through their distinctive qualities. Their unique design, with octave-tuned drums, offers a wide range of sound possibilities. Their visually appealing tall and slender shape only adds to their allure.

Octobans are versatile instruments that can be incorporated into various genres of music, including:

  • solo performances
  • drum ensembles
  • jazz and fusion music
  • film and TV soundtracks
  • electronic music

To fully explore the uniqueness of octobans, drummers can experiment with different tunings, combine them with other drums, use them as a solo instrument, and explore different playing techniques. So, embrace the uniqueness and captivate your audience with the mesmerizing sounds of octobans.

How to Incorporate Octobans into Your Music?

How to Incorporate Octobans into Your Music? - Octobans: The Unusual Yet Captivating Octave-Tuned Drums

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As a unique and versatile instrument, octobans offer endless possibilities for musicians to incorporate them into their music. Whether you’re a drummer looking to add a new dimension to your sound or a composer searching for a distinctive percussion element, octobans can be a valuable addition to your repertoire. In this section, we’ll discuss different ways to incorporate octobans into your music, from experimenting with tunings to utilizing them as a solo instrument. Get ready to explore the diverse and captivating sounds of the octobans.

1. Experiment with Different Tunings

To explore various tunings for octobans, follow these steps:

  1. Begin with the standard tuning for octobans, which is typically an octave apart.
  2. Discover lower tunings by loosening the heads of the octobans to achieve a deeper and darker sound.
  3. Experiment with higher tunings by tightening the heads of the octobans to produce a brighter and more resonant sound.
  4. Try alternate tunings such as intervals of a fourth or a fifth to create unique melodic patterns.

True story: In a recording session, renowned drummer John experimented with different tunings for his octobans. By tuning them a fourth apart, he created a captivating rhythmic pattern that became a signature element in the song, earning him critical acclaim.

2. Combine Octobans with Other Drums

Combining octobans with other drums can add a unique and dynamic sound to your music. To incorporate octobans with other drums, follow these steps:

  1. Experiment with placement: Try different positions for your octobans in relation to your other drums to find the best sound balance.
  2. Consider the pitch: Tune your octobans to complement the pitch of your other drums, creating a harmonious blend of tones.
  3. Create complementary rhythms: Experiment with playing patterns that work well with your other drum parts, enhancing the overall groove of your music.
  4. Explore layering: Use octobans to add layers of texture and depth to your drumming, enhancing the overall sonic experience.

By combining octobans with other drums, you can expand your sonic palette and add a unique flavor to your music. Experimentation and creativity are crucial in finding the best way to integrate octobans into your drumming style.

3. Use Octobans as a Solo Instrument

Using octobans as a solo instrument can add a unique and captivating element to your music. Here are some steps to incorporate octobans into your solo performances:

  1. Experiment with different tunings to create a wide range of tones and pitches.
  2. Combine octobans with other drums to create interesting and dynamic rhythms.
  3. Utilize octobans as a standalone instrument, exploring their versatility and solo potential.
  4. Explore different playing techniques such as using mallets, brushes, or sticks to achieve different sounds.

Jazz drummer Mark was always intrigued by the potential of octobans as a solo instrument, and he decided to incorporate them into his performances. By experimenting with various tunings and playing techniques, he was able to create captivating and unique compositions that showcased the versatility and range of octobans. His audiences were mesmerized by the mesmerizing sounds and visuals of Mark’s solo performances, and he quickly gained recognition as an innovative and talented musician.

4. Explore Different Playing Techniques

To fully explore the potential of Octobans, drummers can experiment with different playing techniques. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Experiment with stick techniques: Try using different stick grips and playing positions to achieve various tones and dynamics.
  2. Explore hand techniques: Incorporate hand techniques such as palm rolls, finger rolls, and slaps to create unique sounds and rhythms.
  3. Utilize mallets and brushes: Experiment with using mallets or brushes on Octobans to create softer, more subtle sounds.
  4. Combine techniques: Combine different playing techniques to create complex and layered rhythms that add depth to your music. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries of traditional drumming techniques. Embrace creativity and let your imagination guide you to discover new and innovative ways to play Octobans.

Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries of traditional drumming techniques. Embrace creativity and let your imagination guide you to discover new and innovative ways to play Octobans.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Octobans and what makes them unique?

Octobans are a set of high-pitched drums originally created by TAMA. Unlike traditional drums, Octobans rely on the length of their shell to produce different pitches, rather than changing diameters. This allows for a wider range of melodic possibilities and makes them stand out as original instruments.

2. Who are some well-known drummers who have used Octobans?

Octobans have been used by progressive players such as Simon Phillips, Bill Bruford, Stewart Copeland, Mike Portnoy, and Tim Alexander. These drummers have demonstrated the versatility and unique sound of Octobans in their music.

3. How are Octobans typically arranged?

Octobans are usually arranged in sets of four or six, with each drum having a different pitch. The high pitch set is the most commonly used and consists of four drums with pitches ranging from high to low. The low pitch set, on the other hand, has six drums with lower pitches.

4. What are some recommended tuning techniques for Octobans?

Some drummers have found success in using a drum dial to ensure consistent tension across all of the drums. Others have tuned the drums to specific intervals, such as fourths or fifths, to achieve a more harmonious sound. It is also important to tune Octobans to a lower pitch than traditional drums to avoid them sounding too high-pitched.

5. What are some recommended drum head options for Octobans?

The Remo Emperor Clear and Evans G2 Clear drum heads are popular choices among drummers for their ability to produce warm and focused sounds. However, drum head preferences can vary greatly, so it may be beneficial to experiment with different options to find the best fit for your Octobans.

6. What are some additional accessories that can enhance the performance of Octobans?

The J34T attachment and Octoban holder are recommended for mounting and positioning Octobans in a drum set. Additionally, the model number 23 12 and 15 12 Octobans have a larger pipe diameter, making them louder and more suitable for playing in larger venues. The 17 12, 13 12, and 11 34 Octobans have smaller pipe diameters, making them ideal for studio recordings and acoustic performances.