Buší: An Insight into the Traditional Czech Percussion Instrument


Buší is a traditional Czech percussion instrument that has been used for centuries in folk music. It is a type of drum that is played with the hands and is known for its unique sound and rhythmic patterns. In this article, we will explore the history and construction of the Buší, as well as its role in Czech culture and music.

History of the Buší

The Buší has a long history in Czech culture, dating back to the 15th century. It was originally used in folk music and was often played at weddings, festivals, and other celebrations. The instrument was also used in military bands and was played during parades and other ceremonies.

Over time, the Buší evolved and became more popular in Czech music. It was incorporated into various genres, including polka, waltz, and other traditional folk dances. Today, the Buší is still a popular instrument in Czech music and is often played at cultural events and festivals.

Construction of the Buší

Buší drum
by Ryan ‘O’ Niel (https://unsplash.com/@ryanoniel)

The Buší is a cylindrical drum that is typically made from a hollowed-out tree trunk or a wooden barrel. The drum is usually around 50-60 cm in diameter and 30-40 cm in height. The top of the drum is covered with a piece of animal skin, usually from a goat or sheep, which is stretched tightly over the opening and secured with ropes.

The drum is played with the hands, using a variety of techniques to produce different sounds and rhythms. The player can strike the drum with their palms, fingers, or the sides of their hands to create a range of tones and dynamics.

Role in Czech Culture and Music

The Buší is an integral part of Czech culture and has been used in traditional folk music for centuries. It is often played at cultural events and festivals, and is a symbol of Czech heritage and identity.

In addition to its cultural significance, the Buší also plays an important role in Czech music. It is often used as a percussion instrument in traditional folk songs and dances, adding a unique rhythm and energy to the music. The Buší is also used in modern music, with many contemporary Czech bands incorporating it into their sound.

How to Play the Buší

Playing the Buší requires skill and practice, but with dedication and patience, anyone can learn to play this traditional instrument. Here are some tips for beginners:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Instrument

Before you start playing, take some time to get to know your Buší. Examine the construction and materials, and experiment with different ways of striking the drum to produce different sounds.

2. Learn Basic Rhythms

Start by learning some basic rhythms and patterns. You can find tutorials and sheet music online, or you can take lessons from a local Buší player. Practice these rhythms until you can play them smoothly and consistently.

3. Experiment with Different Techniques

Buší player
by Chris Chow (https://unsplash.com/@chris_chow)

As you become more comfortable with the instrument, experiment with different techniques and styles of playing. Try using different parts of your hands to strike the drum, and vary the speed and intensity of your strikes to create different effects.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any instrument, mastering the Buší takes time and practice. Set aside time each day to practice and challenge yourself with new rhythms and techniques. With dedication and perseverance, you will improve and develop your own unique style of playing.

Where to Buy a Buší

If you are interested in purchasing a Buší, there are several options available. You can find traditional Buší drums at local music shops in the Czech Republic, or you can purchase them online from specialty retailers. You can also find handmade Buší drums from individual craftsmen, which are often more expensive but are of higher quality and have a unique character.


The Buší is a unique and important instrument in Czech culture and music. Its history and construction make it a fascinating instrument to learn and play, and its role in traditional folk music adds to its cultural significance. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, the Buší is a rewarding instrument to learn and play. So why not pick up a Buší and start exploring the rhythmic world of Czech music?