Drums played an important part in an ancient Lithuanian musical life. These were festival, ritualistic and war instruments.
Ethnographic sources mention drums being made out of animal skin. According to a gruesome ancient belief drums would sound best if the dog was skinned alive. Drums were played on different occasions: by Lithuanian army, during Easter by the church procession and during evening get-togethers.
Popular type of drums in Žemaitija was called kelmas (tree stump). The body of this instrument was usually made out of fresh or rotten piece of wood – a stump. One end of a stump was covered with shaved but not dresses dog’s or goat’s skin. Drums were played using 1 or 2 wooden sticks.
This instrument was especially popular due to its distinct playing technique. Būgnelis was played during ancient rituals. However, after old-time traditions started fading, this instrument became popular during various parties and get-togethers; it was used to maintain rhythm.