One Sound Leads To Another


Exploring some forms of sound energy brought me to Layne Redmond and her monumental work on women’s drumming.

We can go back to the original biblical image after the Israelites escape from Pharaoh’s army at the Sea of Reeds to see the prophet Miriam as she leads all the women in dancing, playing hand-drums and singing of YHWH’s victory. The Hebrew word used, tof, represents a hand-held frame-drum, a hoop-shaped drum with a diameter wider than its depth, like the tambourine of today.

The scene of Miriam with her chorus of drum, dance, and song constitute a women’s musical celebration of victory echoed in several other instances: David is welcomed by women singing, dancing, and playing frame-drums after a victory over the Philistines; Deborah sings out after YHWH brings victory over the Canaanites in Galilee; and Jephthah’s daughter dance and drum after the defeat of the Ammonites.

The identification of the frame-drum as a woman’s instrument in these passages recognizes an empowering experience when women did sound out and participate in public traditions.

Frame Drums, the lost history of women in the ancient world, a symbol of creation, one stroke on the drum and everything comes into existence.

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