A talking drum consists of a wide range of differing types of drums from the African Drum family.
There is some confusion to all the different instruments commonly referred to as Talking Drums. But you'll notice that these all have an hourglass shape to them. That is really the best way to tell them apart.
Many different African countries have drums that are similar to the drum, but they do not have the same hourglass shape as these.
These instruments get their name from the sound that they produce. The pitch can be manipulated to simulate human speech, thus making the drum sound as though it is talking.
These instruments are one of the oldest found and record and it is because of their unique sound that they were one of the first forms of communication.
It is quite amazing the level of complex messages that could be sent using these drums. There are some great books available that cover the system used by tribes to communicate to each other.
Be sure to check out SheetMusicPlus for instructional books and DVD's.