I find the Chinese way of drum beating fascinating , there's something about it that conveys a different message, unlike other drum beating performances in other parts of the world that sound merely celebratory. When I learned that there's a drum performance at Beijing's Drum Tower I thought it would be worth my time. I decided to spend my last afternoon in Beijing at the imposing tower in the northern part of the city , in Dongcheng District to be exact.
As early as in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220) in China, telling the time by drum played an important role in helping people live and work when there was no other way to keep track of the time. As a result, drum towers were built in almost every city throughout the country . The capital city's Drum Tower is a prominent structure.It is a two-storey building that is 48 meters high. The first floor is now used as an office,that's what a lady told us when we entered a room in the ground floor thinking that it was another exhibition hall.Actually, only the second floor contains the drums. Originally, there was one big drum and 24 smaller drums displayed on the second floor, but only the big drum remains.
I had a limited time.I scheduled the visit to the drum tower few hours before my return flight to Manila so I had to rush.Good thing the tower was just a walking distance from the subway station.When I got to the ticket booth I was told that the next performance would be at 4:15PM. I hastily climbed the tower through the stairs and I tell you it's not for the physically impaired.The steps are incredibly steep and treacherous. I only had like two minutes to catch my breath before the performance would start.The drummers were already falling in line preparing for their entrance.I was surprised that the drummers were teenagers.I think there were two girls in the group.Every visitor was quite but obviously excited.One of the drummers started to hit the biggest drum first. He started beating it slowly until the rest of the drummers followed suit by beating the smaller drums. After few minutes they started beating the drums fast.
The show turned out to be well-choreographed. It wasn't just a mere beating of drums.It was also like a rythmic combination of music and chinese history that we were watching and listening to.
The drummers were mesmerizing to watch. You can see their intense passion for it. I was fascinated by their precise movements. Their hands moved rapidly and fluidly across the drums’ surface creating different sounds. It was definitely worth the 15 yuan that I paid for the ticket. I highly recommend this for those who plan to visit Beijing.