Who Invented the First Drum?

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While the inventor of the first drum is unknown, drums were first played around 6,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia by the ancient Babylonians and Sumerians. Drums may have been used prior to this by pre-civilized humans, but there is no direct evidence.

The first drummer cited by name in human history is Lipushiau, a woman from Ur in Mesopotamia, who was the head of Ekishnugal, Ur’s most important temple. She is seen in reliefs with a round-framed drum, the balag-di.

The very first rhythmic beating of objects likely originated with monkeys and other primates, which have been observed making rhythmic noises and gestures with their voices and with objects to communicate. This finding has led scientists to speculate that there may be a common gestural origin for speech and music amongst all primates, including humans.