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Carol of the drum


Carol of the drum is also known as “Little drummer boy”. It’s a well-known Christmas song, and there are many arrangements available. This one is an incredibly slow build – starting with not much more than a simple drum pattern on a tenor drum, and the melody in just the basses, it gradually adds layer after layer, both vocally and instrumentally, until it reaches its epic conclusion. The harmony is based around fourths and fifths, with the first proper major triad not happening until the third verse. The pedal “A” that starts the piece is sustained all the way through the first five verses, even when the choir change key to D major. It shifts partway through the sixth verse, which makes its return in the final section feel triumphant. The different drums and drum patterns build throughout, until the final section which has a whole battery of percussion, from timps and tubular bells to a whole marching band ensemble. The impact is overwhelming!

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