The Darbouka is a single head membranophone with a goblet shaped body used mostly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. The origin of the Egyptian Arabic term darabukka probably lies in the Arabic word “darab” (to strike). Origins of the Darbouka
Goblet drums were seen in Babylonia and Sumer dates from as early as 1100 BCE. On Celebes, one large form serves as a temple instrument, set on the floor when performed, which could be a survival of the ancient use of the drum. The Eastern and North-African goblet drums are played under the arm or resting on the player’s leg, with a much lighter touch and quite different strokes (sometimes including rolls or quick rhythms articulated with the fingertips) to hand drums such as the djembe, found in West Africa.
Types of Darbouka
There are 2 main types of darbouka. The Egyptian style has rounded edges around the head, whereas the Turkish style exposes the edge of the head. The exposed edge allows closer access to the head so finger-snapping techniques can be done, but the hard edge discourages the rapid rolls possible with the Egyptian style. There are a variety of rhythms that form the basis of the folkloric and modern music and dance styles of the Middle East.
Sounds produced by the Darbouka
To go further with Darbouka, there are 3 main sounds produced by the goblet drum:
1-The “doum”: deeper bass sound produced by striking the head near the center with the length of the fingers and palm and taking off the hand for an open sound;
2- the “tek”: the higher-pitched sound produced by hitting near the edge of the head with the fingertips. A ‘tek’ struck with the secondary hand is also known as a “ka”;
3- the closed sound ‘pa’, resting rapidly the hand on the head to not permit an open sound.
Designs of the Darbouka
Whether it be State of the Art Black n’ Creamy 12” long ceramic heavy duty hand made and painted Darbouka, Indian red Darbouka, Tricolor, or even unique large olive wood 13″ long and had carved Djembe Drum, hall of them are topped with goat leather. Occasionally rinse the exotic wood of the latter with olive oil, to bring out the wood grains. The scrolling edges show off its richness while the surface has a fine finish that’s silky smooth to the touch.
The first known Western classical composition to feature a goblet drum is the opera Les Troyens (1856–1858) by the French composer Hector Berlioz, which calls for a Darbuka in the Dance of the Nubian Slaves in Act IV. The first compositions for goblet drum and orchestra were composed by Halim El-Dabh in the 1950s; his Fantasia-Tahmeel for goblet drum and strings was premiered in New York City in 1958, with a string orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
The Darbouka, an essential musical instrument in and the Arab world!
All the varieties of Darbouka have long enlivened the frenzied pace of Tunisian fiestas whatever the place and the occasion, among them weddings. It is inconceivable to celebrate anything without Darbouka, it accentuates the rhythm of the dancers and songs, also the music tone. It is part of Arab countries and also Tunisia’s national musical instruments and patrimony!