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What Is an Indoor Drumline?

A snare drum is a common part of an indoor drum line.
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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2014
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An indoor drumline is a percussion ensemble that can perform indoors. This type of percussion orchestra is also sometimes called percussion theater. It can be associated with the percussion section of a marching band, or some other musical department, or an orchestra or regional performance group. Some also refer to the indoor drumline as a winter drumline, although these indoor performances do not necessarily have to take place in the winter.

Different types of indoor drumlines are arranged in various ways. Many times, the indoor drumline involves the percussion line of a marching band. Individuals will stand with their drums, and sometimes march in place. Other kinds of indoor drumlines utilize a different type of approach, where the percussion players may resemble a pit orchestra and play while seated. Still other indoor drumlins use a theatrical method and move with their drums in their fixed positions on or off stage.

In a typical indoor drumline, various percussion sounds are represented. The big bass drum is a common component. Other common components include a snare drum section and a “tom” section. The word tom indicates a moderately sized drum that provides a non-snare sound.

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Along with these types of percussion, the indoor type of drumline may also include elements that have musical tones. One of these is the xylophone. An indoor drumline might have several xylophone players. Although the xylophone is often is often classified as percussion, it does have a tonal range, and so all of the music in the indoor drumline often has to be calibrated for pitch as well as rhythm.

Another element that might go along with the indoor drumline is a guitar or bass guitar. The bass guitar in particular is commonly associated with percussion in many different types of music. A bass guitar player may complement an indoor drumline, providing a stringed instrument sound on a low register.

Many indoor drumlines represent the music departments of schools and universities. These types of drumlines will often include some of the same conventions as an elder marching band drumline. This includes players wearing a uniform that represents the school, auditioning to become part of an elite percussion unit, and undergoing a lot of training related to the quality of the percussion ensemble. These activities are commonly funded through the general budget of the school’s music department, and are usually tightly connected with sporting events.

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