What is Darbuka Music?
If you are a fan of Middle Eastern music, you have probably heard the sound of a darbuka, a goblet-shaped drum that produces a rich and vibrant tone. Darbuka music is a form of percussion music that originated in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia, and has been evolving ever since.
Darbuka music is played by striking the drumhead with the fingers, palms, or wrists, creating different sounds and effects. Darbuka music can be played solo or in ensemble, accompanying other instruments or vocals. Darbuka music is also an essential element of many dance styles, such as belly dance, folk dance, and modern dance.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of darbuka music, from its history and origin to its techniques and styles. We will also introduce you to some of the most famous darbuka players in the world, and show you how you can learn to play this amazing instrument yourself.
How to Play the Darbuka
The darbuka is a simple yet versatile instrument that can produce a wide range of sounds depending on how you play it. There are three basic sounds that you need to master to play the darbuka: the doum, the tek, and the ka.
- The doum is the deep bass sound that is produced by hitting the center of the drumhead with your dominant hand.
- The tek is the high-pitched sound that is produced by hitting the edge of the drumhead with your dominant hand.
- The ka is the low-pitched sound that is produced by hitting the edge of the drumhead with your non-dominant hand.
By combining these three sounds in different patterns and tempos, you can create various rhythms and melodies on the darbuka. Some of the most common rhythms are maqsoum, baladi, saidi, malfuf, ayoub, samai, wahda, and masmoudi.
To play the darbuka, you need to hold it between your legs or under your arm, with the drumhead facing upwards. You need to relax your hands and wrists, and use your fingers to control the force and speed of your strokes. You also need to listen carefully to the music and follow its tempo and mood.
Types of Darbukas
There are many types of darbukas available in the market today, varying in shape, size, material, and sound quality. The most common types are clay darbukas, metal darbukas, and wooden darbukas. Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.
Clay darbukas are the oldest and most traditional type of darbukas. They are made of baked clay, and have a natural skin or synthetic head. Clay darbukas have a warm and earthy sound, with a lot of resonance and depth. They are also very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, which can affect their tuning and durability. Clay darbukas are usually decorated with colorful patterns and designs, making them attractive and unique.
Metal darbukas are the most popular and widely used type of darbukas. They are made of metal, such as aluminum, copper, brass, or steel, and have a synthetic head. Metal darbukas have a bright and crisp sound, with a lot of clarity and projection. They are also very durable and easy to tune, as they are not affected by weather conditions. Metal darbukas come in various shapes and sizes, from the classic Egyptian style to the modern Turkish style.
Wooden darbukas are the newest and most innovative type of darbukas. They are made of wood, such as mahogany, walnut, or maple, and have a synthetic head. Wooden darbukas have a rich and warm sound, with a lot of balance and harmony. They are also very lightweight and comfortable to play, as they have a smooth and ergonomic shape. Wooden darbukas are often carved or painted with artistic motifs, making them elegant and stylish.
Famous Darbuka Players
Darbuka music has been influenced by many talented and passionate players throughout history. Some of them have become legends in their own right, inspiring generations of musicians and listeners. Here are some of the most famous darbuka players in the world:
Raquy Danziger is an American-born darbuka player, composer, teacher, and author. She is the founder and leader of Raquy and the Cavemen, a fusion band that combines Middle Eastern rhythms with rock, metal, and classical music. She is also the creator of the Dümset, a set of drums that consists of two darbukas, a bass drum, and a cymbal. She has performed and taught darbuka music in over 30 countries, and has written several books and DVDs on the subject.
Said El Artist
Said El Artist is an Egyptian-born darbuka player, singer, actor, and producer. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern darbuka music, as he introduced new techniques and styles to the instrument. He is also known for his charismatic stage presence and his collaborations with many famous singers and musicians, such as Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram, Tarkan, Shakira, and Sting.
Misirli Ahmet is a Turkish-born darbuka player, composer, teacher, and inventor. He is regarded as one of the masters of darbuka music, as he developed his own unique style and technique that combines speed, power, and creativity. He is also the inventor of the Split Finger Technique, which allows him to play up to 18 strokes per second on the darbuka. He has performed and taught darbuka music all over the world, and has founded his own school in Istanbul.
Darbuka Music Styles
Darbuka music is not limited to one genre or form. It can be found in various styles of music that reflect the diversity and richness of the cultures that use it. Here are some of the most common styles of darbuka music:
Classical Arabic Music
Classical Arabic music is a form of art music that originated in the medieval Islamic world. It is based on a system of modes called maqamat, which are used to create melodies and improvisations. Darbuka music plays an important role in classical Arabic music, as it provides the rhythmic foundation and embellishment for the melodic instruments. Some examples of classical Arabic music genres that use darbuka music are tarab (emotional music), muwashshah (poetic music), taqsim (instrumental solo), and wasla (musical suite).
Turkish Folk Music
Turkish folk music is a form of traditional music that reflects the history and culture of the Turkish people. It is based on a system of scales called makamlar, which are used to create songs and dances. Darbuka music plays an important role in Turkish folk music, as it accompanies the singers and dancers with lively and energetic rhythms. Some examples of Turkish folk music genres that use darbuka music are türkü (folk song), halay (circle dance), zeybek (heroic dance), and horon (Black Sea dance).
Belly Dance Music
Belly dance music is a form of dance music that originated in the Middle East and North Africa. It is characterized by its sensual and expressive movements, which are often synchronized with the darbuka music. Darbuka music plays an important role in belly dance music, as it accentuates the hips and torso of the dancer with sharp and dynamic strokes. Some examples of belly dance music genres that use darbuka music are raqs sharqi (oriental dance), raqs baladi (folk dance), raqs khaliji (Gulf dance), and raqs beledi (village dance).
Fusion music is a form of contemporary music that combines elements of different musical genres, such as jazz, rock, pop, electronic, and world music. It is characterized by its creativity and experimentation, which often challenge the boundaries and conventions of traditional music. Darbuka music plays an important role in fusion music, as it adds a touch of exoticism and diversity to the musical mix. Some examples of fusion music genres that use darbuka music are ethno-jazz, worldbeat, electro-oriental, and progressive rock.
Darbuka music is a fascinating and diverse form of percussion music that has been around for thousands of years. It has been influenced by many cultures and civilizations, and has influenced many others in return. Darbuka music can be played in various styles and genres, from classical to folk to modern. Darbuka music can also be learned by anyone who has a passion and curiosity for this amazing instrument.
If you want to learn more about darbuka music, you can start by listening to some of the famous darbuka players we mentioned in this article, or by watching some videos online. You can also try to find a local teacher or a online course that can teach you the basics of darbuka playing. You can also buy your own darbuka from a reputable store or online shop, and choose the type that suits your preference and budget.
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with darbuka music. You will discover a whole new world of sound and rhythm that will enrich your musical experience and enjoyment.
- Q: What is the difference between a darbuka and a doumbek?
- A: A darbuka and a doumbek are essentially the same instrument, but they have different names depending on the region or country. The term darbuka is more common in Turkey, Egypt, and North Africa, while the term doumbek is more common in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
- Q: How do I tune my darbuka?
- A: If you have a synthetic head on your darbuka, you can tune it by adjusting the screws or bolts around the rim of the drum. You can use a drum key or a wrench to tighten or loosen them until you get the desired pitch. If you have a natural skin head on your darbuka, you can tune it by exposing it to heat or cold. You can use a hair dryer or a lamp to heat it up, or a fan or an ice pack to cool it down.
- Q: How do I take care of my darbuka?
- A: To take care of your darbuka, you need to clean it regularly with a soft cloth or a damp sponge. You also need to avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity, as they can damage the drumhead or the body. You also need to store it in a safe place, preferably in a padded case or bag.
- Q: Where can I buy a darbuka?
- A: You can buy a darbuka from many sources, such as local music stores, online shops, or directly from the makers. You need to make sure that you buy from a reputable seller who can provide you with quality products and services. You also need to compare prices and features before making your purchase.
- Q: How much does a darbuka cost?
- A: The cost of a darbuka depends on many factors, such as the type, size, material, design, brand, and condition of the drum. Generally, a darbuka can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the quality and features of the drum. You can find cheaper or more expensive darbukas, but you need to be careful about their reliability and performance.
I hope you enjoyed this article on darbuka music, and learned something new and interesting. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And if you want to learn more about darbuka music, don’t forget to check out some of the resources and links we provided in this article. Thank you for reading, and happy drumming!