Name: Doumbek.

Type: Goblet > Membranophone.

Region: Many > Middle East > North Africa & Balkans.

Dimensions: Diameter at head cm.

Acquisition Date: 

Acquisition Source: Tom Lee Music Booth, Vancouver Folk Festival.

Description: The doumbek is a goblet shaped percussion instrument classified as a membranophone. The distribution of this instrument is quite wide with in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Balkans. The doumbek also is known under numerous different names including darabuke, darabuka, tarambuka (in Bosnia) or “zarb-e-ghali” in Afghanistan. The name doumbek has its origins from the Arabic word “darba” which means “to strike”.

Origins: The origins of the doumbek remain unclear; and it was likely introduced into Egypt since it has not been identified on the hieroglyphics or artwork in the pyramids. In Upper Egypt the folk musicians and Nile boatman call their form of dumbek a “hoqa”. Andalusian musicians from Morocco and Algeria play a form of dumbek called a “derbocka”.

Playing Techniques: Of the dumbek do vary from region to region. It maybe struck with both hands or in Turkey, Bulgaria and Egypt it is often struck with a small stick held in the left hands. The popularity of the dumbek is second to the djembe in world music, fusion, avantgarde, rock, jazz and other musics.

Construction: Traditionally the the body of the doumbek is made of clay. The membrane was usually fish skin, or animal hide stretched over the top surface. Currently, doumbeks are made from from spun aluminum or other materials, their membrane is usually a synthetic plastic surface. In Egypt the doumbeks are often very ornate.