Saturday’s Instrument: Darabuka the Middle Eastern percussion

Darabuka or Darbuka is a pot-shaped single head pitched drum. It is usually made of clay but might also be made out of copper or wood. This membranophone is one of Arabic folk percussive instruments.


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Darabuka is also known as Goblet Drum, Chalice drum, Tarabuka, Tarabaki, Darbuka, Derbake, Debuka, Toumperleki, or Zerbaghali. This instrument is very similar to the African Djembe and the Persian Dumbec.


Darabuka has a membrane made of an animal’s skin. The new versions use a plastic membrane instead of skin, but still, the original and high-quality versions use the skin. The membrane is glued or dried to the shell of the instrument.


Duduk, the Armenian double-reed woodwind

Darbuka is held almost horizontally while being played, with the membrane in front, sometimes especially in dances and more exiting situations, the player puts it between his or her leg and lean it on the ground in an almost vertical situation and play it loudly as dancing to the rhythm themselves.


Darabuka can be played using a strap on the player’s shoulder while they are standing.



The origin of the Egyptian Arabic term Darbuka probably lies in the Arabic word "daraba" (meaning: to strike).

They have been around for thousands of years, used in Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian cultures. Goblet drums were seen in Babylonia and Sumer, 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.


Hurdy Gurdy or the Wheel Fiddle

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