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Tablah, durbakke

The tablah is a single-headed hand-drum also known as durbakke, dumbak (in
Iraq), darbouka. One of the most commonly played of the percussion instruments, the tablah has a membrane of goat, calf or fish skin stretched over the top of a cylindrical, narrow-waisted drum. The body of the instrument is usually made of fired clay or metal.

To play the tablah, the drummer places it under the arm and strikes in the center of the skin for the strong beats and the edge for the sharp in-between beats. Its shape enables the drummer to produce an variety of sounds, according to the position on the head and the finger techniques .Using both hands, an accomplished drummer can produce a great variety of sounds: the right hand strikes the tablah at the center of the skin to produce the resonating lower tone, called "dom", or on the edge to produce the high, crisp tone, the "tak”. The fingers of the left hand strike close to the circumference for the various fillers.

The instrument has regional variations, such as the smaller taarija in
Morocco, which is held in one hand and played with the other.

Most tablahs are intricately decorated, some with wood, tile or bone inlay, etched metal, or paintings of geometric or other designs typically found in the Near East. It was once considered a woman's instrument.

References: http://www.al-hakawati.net/arabic/music_Art/inst13.asp; http://www.ethnomusic.ucla.edu/ensembles/worldmusic/neareast/Tablah.htm, http://www.mideastweb.org/culture/darbouka.htm


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