This Parade Snare Drum is a field drum from the British Royal Air Force Marching Band. Historically, parade drums like this are used to keep military troops in step as they march from one location to another. They were also used to signal commands during battle. In Britain, as well as other countries, the drums were often covered or decorated with the coat of arms representing the name of the commander or the legion of troops.
This 14-inch, brass-shelled, rope-tuned drum is decorated with the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The coat of arms features two mottos: one from the Order of the Garter that says "Hon Y Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" or "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it." The second, on the scroll below the shield, is "Dieu et Mon Droit" or "God and My Right." Below the crest is an additional eagle with outstretched wings surrounded by four scrolls, three of which state "Royal Air Force Band." The fourth scroll would be where the specific band name was painted.
The drum has calfskin heads, two strainers, and 10 leather ears that apply tension on the ropes to tune the heads. One significant feature of this drum is the second set of snares below the batter head. We assume this was either a special order or installed by the owner after purchase.
This drum is a gift from Isidore Komanoff and Ruth Underwood made in honor of Lauren Vogel-Weiss. You can see it and other instruments in the Rhythm! Discovery Center online collection at bit.ly/rdconline.