Percussion instruments

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.

Būgnelis, būbnas

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.