The snare drum (or side drum) is tubular drum made of wood or metal with skins, or heads, stretched over the top and bottom openings. A cluster of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, or animal gut is stretched across the bottom head. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom head. This produces a short, distinctive, snap-like sound. The snares can be disengaged if this effect is not required. Snare drums come in many different sizes as well, that ultimately change the way the drum will sound. Snare drums that are shallow in size will give a higher "crack" sound while the deeper ones will give a heavier and thicker tone. Many drummers opt to have more than one on their drumset for a more dynamic setup.
Originally, snare drums were military instruments originating from Europe in the 15th and 16th centurys. They were commonly called a Tabor and were used with the fife in the swiss military. Today, the snare drum can be found in nearly every form of western music. Snare drums are used by marching bands and drum and bugle corps to provide a steady source of rhythm. The snare drum was incorporated into classical music to provide color for march-like segments of music. It is used in popular music styles like rock and roll and jazz to provide an accented backbeat. The snare drum is the driving force in samba music: ghost notes are played continuously with accented strokes outlining the rhythm. The snare is also used extensively in death metal, to provide a "blast beat": a rapid alternation of snare and bass drum beats.