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  • Writer's pictureRhythmatist

Persian Tar/Daf

The tar is a very basic frame drum that can be found in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It is referred to as the Daf in Kurdish regions. The skin of the Tar is very light goatskin stretched over a wooden frame. "Tar" means "string." Centuries ago the tar lost its string snares but retained the name. The bendir of Morocco is more like the original tar with strings or strips of hide laced under the head to create a snare effect.

The tar is often supported upright in the left hand, but sometimes rested on the leg to free the fingers that would otherwise bear its weight to play trills and rolls on the rim. There are many dynamics and tones that can come from the tar depending on where the shock waves originate on the skin.

The same drum, when lined with small metal coils that create a rasping sound against the skin, is called a Daf. It is widely played in Kurdish music.

Glen Velez is a well-known frame drum expert who has created compelling new techniques such as rubbing the skin to create a humming effect.

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