• Rhythmatist

Goblet drums of many names

The goblet drum is a common design found all over the world. The darbouka is the name for this drum in Northern Africa and the Middle East. This drum has come to be known as the "doumbek" in the US. However, Peyman Nasehpour explains that this is a derivation from the Persian term "Tombak." Doumbek has become a the commercial product name for goblet drum (even Remo has a drum using this moniker), in the US. The tremendous variety of names for the goblet drum is testament to its age and the central role it has played in so many cultures over the ages. (See more on the variation in names and styles by region in this article by Peyman Nasehpour.)


Perhaps the most familiar context for this drum is the music that accompanies Egyptian belly-dancing. The Egyptian darbouka uses a plastic head on an alluminum or ceramic body. The light head creates a very sharp and crisp tone. The darbouka sometimes has fish skin or goat skin heads as well. The fish skin is used in regions with high humidity because the goat skin is very susceptible to pitch variations when moist. The darbouka is played while resting on the thigh in a seated or standing position with the head facing forward, demonstrated here by Michael Beach. There are a variety of names for this drum according to region.



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