The snare drum is shaped like a cylinder one skin stretched over its top and a second skin stretched over the bottom of the drum. The “snare” is a set of wires or strings stretched across the bottom skin of the drum. These “snares” rattle as the drum is played. This rattling helps to produce the snare drum’s special sound when the top drumhead is struck by sticks.

A pair of sticks made of wood or fiberglass are used to play different rhythms on the drum; Snare drums are especially good for “rolls”. Players are also capable of playing very complex rhythms which sound snappy and crisp due to the sticks which make defined hits. For special effect, sometimes the “snare” is turned off to make a dull thud sound when played.

The orchestral snare drum has a diameter of 15 to 16 inches and a depth of 5 inches.

Snare drums, like bass drums, do not have a definite pitch.