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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Kettledrum \Ket"tle*drum`\ (-dr[u^]m`), n. 1. (Mus.) A drum made of thin copper in the form of a hemispherical kettle, with parchment stretched over the mouth of it. [1913 Webster] Note: Kettledrums, in pairs, were formerly used in martial music for cavalry, but are now chiefly confined to orchestras, where they are called tympani. [1913 Webster] 2. An informal social party at which a light collation is offered, held in the afternoon or early evening. Cf. Drum, n., 4 and 5. [1913 Webster]