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Turkish darbuka made of metal with plastic fur

Darbuka ( Arabic دربكة, DMG darbūka , Pl. Darābik, darbūkāt ), also transcribed as darbukka, darbouka, derbouka or darabukka , is a single- skin goblet drum from the Middle East and Arabian North Africa.


The name darbuka does not seem to be old in Arabic, although there could be a connection with a drum called darbala , which appears at one point in the narrative collection Arabian Nights , compiled around the 13th century . A conceivable sound shift could lead to darbala going back to Persian danbala , according to which darbuka would have originated from the consonant form dnbk in Pahlavi script . A derivation of the Turkish darbetmek , "to beat", which goes back to the Arabic word ḍarba ("blow"), is also possible.

In Turkey, depending on the region, dümbek, dümbelek and deblek are more common than the foreign word in Arabic. The relationship between the Turkish terms and Persian dunbal, dunbak or dunbalāk , older dumbalak , is evident. Dunbal or dunbak referred to Persian beaker drums in the 17th century, the appended diminutive -ak applied to small cylinder drums . Tombak or tumbak are spellings of today's cup drums, which all go back to the Pahlavi. In his travelogue Seyahatnâme Evliya Çelebi (1611–1683) generally names kettle drums as dunbalak , this word has changed to dümbelek and dömbelek in today's Turkish .

Design and style of play

The darbuka consists of a cup-shaped body that is traditionally made of clay and covered with goat skin for simple instruments. In professional classical orchestras are darbuka s (particularly from fish skin rays ) is used. Modern darbuka s are often made of metal, with the Turkish models made of aluminum , copper or brass sheet and the Egyptian version being cast from aluminum. The eardrums are then mostly made of plastic , but natural heads are also used in newer models to achieve a warmer, bassier tone that differs from the high sounds of plastic heads. The British orientalist Edward William Lane described two types of darbuka s in Egypt in 1836 : one with a wooden body in a slender cup shape that was intricately decorated with inlays , and a simple darbuka made of clay with a conical top over the cylindrical shaft. The former played the women in the house, the latter the boatmen on the Nile.

Darbuka in use

Darbukas are usually played while sitting on the left thigh and held by the left forearm and ball of the hand, while standing they are clamped under an armpit. All ten fingers are used. The two basic beats that a darbuka can produce are a bass note ( dum ) as the basic beat, which is played with the whole right hand in the middle between the edge and the center, and a fine high note ( tak ), which is played with the fingers of the left Hand is played right on the edge. Numerous technical and tonal variants can be derived from this.

In the countries of the Maghreb , folk drums are often painted with geometric ornaments, more elaborate traditional instruments can be decorated with tortoiseshell or ivory . Darbukas have different names depending on their size. They are also played by women in their own circle, on the occasion of birth celebrations, weddings or circumcisions. In the western Sahara ( Twat region ), the male members of the Sufi brotherhood of Moulay Tayeb use large darbukas , which are worn on cloth straps and played while standing. These are called akellal . The women play smaller drums (abeka) that lie on their shoulders. Another popular Islamic Sufi brotherhood are the Hamadscha, who worship the spiritual being Aisha Qandisha in Morocco . The large darbuka called harraz are used in their ritual chants and dances and the small tarija, lying on the shoulder, is used for processions .

On the South Yemeni coast in the Hadramaut region , the dance game Raqṣat ad-darbūka is widespread, in which the dancers are accompanied by the melody-leading lyre simsimiyya and three darbukas . The rhythm is accentuated by clapping hands ( tasfīq ). The dancers depict the daily life of the fishermen in scenes. Before the music group begins, the lead singer begins with a free rhythmic chant ( mawwāl ), the end rhymes of which are regularly continued by a choir with a drone or an ostinato .

Darbukas have their origins in Arabic music . They later found their way into Western culture and have since become popular instruments in contemporary world music and even rock music ( Hossam Ramzy ). The darbuka is often held almost vertically between the knees like a West African djembé and played with all ten fingers.

See also

  • Tombak : Beaker drum in classical Iranian music
  • Zerbaghali : goblet drum in Afghan folk music

Web links

Audio sample
Commons : Darabuka  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Laurence Picken : Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey. Oxford University Press, London 1975, pp. 116f
  2. ^ Edward William Lane: Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. 1836, German: Manners and customs of today's Egyptians. 1856. Shown in: Paul Collaer, Jürgen Elsner: North Africa. Series: Werner Bachmann (Hrsg.): Music history in pictures . Volume I: Ethnic Music. Delivery 8. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1983, p. 69
  3. Viviane Lièvre: The Dances of the Maghreb. Morocco - Algeria - Tunisia. (Translated by Renate Behrens. French original edition: Éditions Karthala, Paris 1987) Otto Lembeck, Frankfurt am Main 2008, p. 91f, ISBN 978-3-87476-563-3
  4. Gabriele Braune: Coastal Music in South Arabia. The songs and dances on the Yemeni coasts of the Arabian Sea. Peter Lang, Frankfurt / M. 1997, p. 294 f.