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note: The Dombek and Darabukka are pretty much the same, so I put them on one page.

Jeff Burrows holding a Dombak Jeff Burrows holding a Darabukka

Dumbek and Darabukka

The Dumbek is the goblet shaped drum of the Middle East. Arab and Turkish music feature the Dumbek, and it is especially prominent in bellydance music.Jeff playing a Dombek The combination of a deep bass tone and crisp, fiery treble tones give the Dumbek its exciting sound and its name.

It is a one-headed drum that is carved of a single piece of wood, and is open on the bottom.Jeff playing a Dombek Traditionally, the Arabic Dumbek was crafted of clay, with a goatskin or, more ideally, a fishskin head, stretched and glued to the top of the drum. Because of this, the Dumbek cannot be tuned, the player prepares it by warming the membrane over a heater.Jeff playing a Dombek The Turkish Dumbek is metal, with a goatskin head attached with a tuneable mechanism. Techniques vary from region to region, but all focus on getting both high and low tones. They are skinned with goat skin, calf skin, and fish skin. As you can see from the pictures, they come in a variety of sizes and are made from an array of materials.


General information

Jeff playing a Darabukka

This Arabic instrument is found throughout the Middle East and other Islamic-influenced countries. This is a goblet-shaped drum which is made from earthenware or terra-cotta pottery, wood or metal. The single drum head, made from stretched parchment,Jeff playing a Darabukka bayard-fish, goat-skin or other leather, is attached directly to the frame by nails and glue or laced onto the head and body. The bottom of the drum is left open. Usually goblet shaped drums like this are held under a player's arm; you strike the head directly with your hands and fingers. The 'doum' stroke, a resounding lower tone, is made by hitting the center of the drum head; the 'tek' stroke, a higher pitched sound, is created by striking the upper edge of the drumhead with your fingers.

Most of these instruments are intricately decorated, some with wood, tile or ivory inlay,Jeff playing a Darabukka etched metal, or carvings in geometric or representative patterns. Many of these same patterns are found in other creative forms, such as carpets which are traditionally woven by women. These repeated designs have a rich historic and cultural significance for many Islamic communities.

More Darabukka Information

A chalice-shaped drum with terracotta or metal, covered with skin across the wide opening, and prolonged in a hollow neck or gullet. This instrument is held in high esteem by Moslem musicians who play it held on the left forearm. With the right hand it is struck alternatively in the center of the skin (doum) or on the edge (tek). The figners of the left hand strike close to the circumference (tek, but softer) in syncopated or counter rhythm.

Dombek Pictures

A brass Dombek
A ceramic Dumbek
A metal Dombak
Different sizes of Dombeks.These are metal