Republic of Lebanon
Wednesday 4th - 10 - 2023




//Arabic generic term for drums. It is particularly applied to double-headed cylindrical drums in the Arab Middle East, including North Africa (especially Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sudan). It may occur in combination with other words, indicating drums of the same type with regional differences of size or drums used in different regional combinations of instruments. The term tabl can vary from region to region; it is sporadically found as tabīl in Osmanli, and in modern Turkish the term davul is most commonly used for the double-headed cylindrical drum. The tabl baladī (‘people’s drum’) is regarded as the smaller version of the tabl turkī (‘Turkish drum’, davul). The body of the tabl is a wooden cylinder.//

Darabukka [darbuka, darabuke, derbuga, derbukka common to many Arab musical traditions]

A single-headed goblet drum .It is made from pottery, wood or metal; the bottom is open and the skin head is directly attached by nails, glue or binding. Traditionally the head of the drum was goatskin, although the skins of dogs and rams were also used. During the 20th century plastic heads became popular; these can be tuned with a key and retain their pitch regardless of temperature and humidity.

The instrument is most frequently played held across the left knee and hip. The curved fingers of the left hand rest close to the rim and strike or are flicked across the edge of the head of the drum. The flat fingers of the right hand strike either the centre of the head, producing a deep note, or the edge, producing a higher pitch. These positions are reversed for left-handed players.

The origin of the term darabukka is somewhat obscure but probably lies in the Arabic word darba (‘to strike’). Similar instruments are known by various (often onomatopoeic) names according to location and tradition, the most important being tombak or zarb (Iran), derbuga or derbukka (Morocco and Algeria) and darbuka, deblek or dümbelek (Turkey).

The darabukka is found in a range of sizes, particularly in North Africa, where several may be played together in ensembles.

The Turkish darbuka (usually of metal or pottery) is used principally in traditional ensembles to accompany dancing. The large Iranian tombak is carved from a solid block of wood, usually decorated with an inlay design, often ornate; it is the principal percussion instrument in a classical Persian music ensemble and is played by many classical musicians as a second instrument.

Andalusian ensembles from Algeria and Morocco play a pottery derbuga in their traditional ensembles, and in Egypt the goblet drum of Nile boatmen and other traditional musicians is called the hoqa. The darabukka is also found in Albania and Bulgaria; in Albania it is known as the darabuke and is made of potter's clay, while in Bulgaria it is known as the tarambuka, tarabuka or darabuka.

Other forms are found in Malaysia and Indonesia; these have a snakeskin head laced with split cane to a wooden body. On Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) one large form serves as a temple instrument, set on the ground when played: this is a survival of the original use of goblet drums in Babylonia and Sumeria from as early as 1100 bce. The darabukka has been used in western European orchestral music by Ibert (Suite symphonique, 1932) and Orff (Prometheus, 1963–7).

Reference (with liberty): New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, (editors), 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

"Tabla" Teachers:

  • Amer Khayat
  • Elie Fakih
  • Fadi Yacoub
  • Farid Abou Saaid
  • Gaby Haswani
  • Tony Anka
  • Wasim El Helou

Page created at: 26-04-2015

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