The history of frame drums based on the ancient times. They have strong and dramatic sound with a simple structure and used both in spiritual rituals and entertainment gatherings. Daf is known as one of the oldest frame drums from the ancient history of Asia and Africa. In Sufi culture, they use daf for spiritual chanting and Iranian musicians integrated that successfully in Persian music.
What is a daf?
Daf is a large frame drum from the Middle East. It is commonly used in Armenia, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and also in Greece. It can spell as Daf, Daff, Deff, Duff. The frame is made of wood and covered with a lot of metal rings attached around it. The membrane of a daf is mostly made of animal skin, like a goat, horse, and cow but in modern versions, synthetic materials are also in use.
The frame is made of a strong wood. The diameter of it is about 48 - 55 cm wide. The skin of the daf is strongly glued to cover the frame. In order to keep skin tight, metal pins are nailed behind the frame. There are no jingles in the Daf. In the inner part of the wooden frame, there are hooks that help the rings hanging. These rings work like jingles when the instrument moves.
What are the different types of daf?
Solo daf is a model specifically designed for solo performances. The jingles have a high pitched clear sound. It has a higher-tone and a voluminous sound. The soloist plays the instrument easily by relaxed finger movements on the surface.
The skin of the daf might be affected by the humidity because of the natural materials used in the making process. A studio daf is a special model produced to prevent the changes on tightness of skin. It helps to play the instrument for the whole performance without worrying about the changes of the tune.
The daf is a strong voiced instrument. But in an orchestra this strong voice could kill the sound of the other instruments. To avoid this problem in an ensemble, the player should use an orchestra daf which has a lighter soft sound that blends warmly with other instruments.
The bass daf is a model which is larger and has a thicker skin. This helps it to catch a fuller, deeper and more appropriate bass sound.
Treble daf is another specialized style, designed to catch high notes. They are also suitable for winter performances.
How to play the daf?
Hold the instrument in front of your body. Place the left hand at the 6 o’clock position and the right hand at the 3 o’clock. The rings should face towards the player while drumhead faces away. The three beginning strokes are; bass toned “dum”, high pitched tone “tak” and another high pitched but softer and slightly muted tone “ka”. The dum and tak strokes are produced by right hand while the ka stroke is made by the left hand.
To create the dum stroke, keep fingertips together in a little arc position and hit the center of the daf with the tips. It will help the daf bounce and creates a deep, bass tone. For the tak sound use four fingers and hit the instrument slightly from the edge. To create the ka stroke, twist your left wrist hit with four fingers slightly from the upper edge of the frame.
Playing of the daf involves arms, wrists, hands and fingers working together at the same time. The hands and the wrists help player hold the instrument firmly while fingers creates the sound. At the same time arms get lower or rise up and shake the frame to produce simultaneous movements with the head and the rings. Hand and finger techniques create a wide range of tonal and rhythmic variations.
Northern Anatolian folkloric music cannot be separated from Kemence. It is the main musical instrument of the Black Sea folklor with its melancholic sound. Although there are two instruments named Kemence, one known as the Fasıl Kemence and the other known as the Black Sea (Karadeniz) Kemence, the latter is very different than the other. The Black Sea Kemence has three parts; the neck, the body, and the stem. It is carved out from a single wood, has strings and is played with a dom.
Black Sea Kemence is an ethnic music instrument that celebrates the diversity of Anatolian culture. Although it is mostly mistaken for the Fasil Kemence, it does not have a standard size like other folkloric instruments. Professional musicians usually play a 56 cm long Kemence which is made of juniper or plum wood. When played, unlike most of the stringed musical instruments, the sound is produced via dom and fingernails.
The Structure of Kemence
The Kemence has three parts. Its body is carved out of wood. Although it does not have a standard size, most of the professionals prefer 50-60 cm long kemence to play. It has strait sights and a flat back which is easy to handle during playing it afoot or sitted. The chest of Kemence is very thin and usually is made of spruce or fir. Its most distinctive feature is the raised dome. It is there to overcome the pressure being put on the strings while playing.
The Melancholic Sound of Kemence
The small pegs on the Kemence's body are attached at the back of it and there are three strings. The sound of Kemence is rather distinctive and very gritty. The number of chromatic tones being produced by the Kemence is related to the melancholy of the Black Sea climate. In fact, it is the most associated musical instrument with the culture of Black Sea and its people.
Strong Bonds With Culture
Kemence is a typical Turkish instrument. It is played by many people in Karadeniz region. It is always played when people dance in the region. Horon is a famous folk dance of Black Sea and is very popular in Turkey. It represents the region and makes the native sound symbolic of Turkey. Turkomen in Antalya region also use Kemence in their native sound and ethnic music.
Key Quality Features
Kemençe is a tuned instrument and has a one octave range. Kemençe has an important predominance in parallel fourths and this feature is its strength. It can be played both as an ensemble with other traditional instruments and as solo. Although most of the folk instruments are played polyphonically, Kemence is played both melodically and polyphonically.
All the Kemences at our store are hand made products of excellent craftsmen with affordable prices. Upon the request of customers tailor-made professional Kemences of all sizes are made by our masters. If you are looking to buy a convenient Kemence with a fair value please visit our store in İstanbul or check our online catalogue.
While looking for the right instrument people usually focus on finding an extraordinary one. The search for the right instrument should be a search for the one that makes a magnificent sound. Although every instrument has an individual characteristic, yayli tambour has its unique voice with haunting drones and melodies. The yayli tambur is also notable for the fact that its frets are set up in microtones. So it allows you the play the tones in between the notes of a western scale.
What is a yayli tambur?
The yaylı tambur is a string bowed long-necked instrument. It is the bowed version of the classical Turkish tanbur and first developed by Tanburi Cemil Bey in the 1910s. Yayli Tanbur is derived from cümbüş and has the characteristic skin-head resonation of it. It has a long wooden neck. The fretted neck of yayli tambour can be between 104 to 110 cm long. The body of yayli tanbur is made of wooden strips. More affordable versions use metal or spun aluminum at the soundbox.
How to play yayli tanbur?
By holding the yayli tambour vertically between the calves or in the lap, the player can hold the instrument stable. Keeping position of the bow is quite important. It is hold firmly with the middle, ring and little fingers pressing the horsehair. At the same time, the index finger and the thumb should hold the furthest edge of the bow. The strings that places at the left, come together into a single course and they form a double string. This double string adjusts correct and uniform pitch. This is the place that all harmonious play happen. The other parts are from 4 to 6 numbered strings that are pitched to the octave fourth or fifth of the primary doubled string. Yayli tanbur has an unusual nature in which the neck of the instrument act as it is unfitted. But it normally has 24 to 34 frets. While playing to catch the same effect as stopping the frets, player can press on unfretted parts of the neck. This allows a continuous slide upward and downward between two notes and a slide from one note to another flawlesly. As a further matter, the frets can be repositioned for the taste and style of the player to catch the correct pitch of a suited makam.
Where to buy yayli tanbur?
If you have a local music shop with honest and knowledgeable help, has reasonable return policy and offers fair prices that sells yayli tanbur, you should also be considering their skills on an eastern instrument and be sure that the prices are fair before your purchase. If possible, ask a teacher or other music professional that are familiar with yayli tanbur for advice. If you want to buy yayli tanbur from Turkey you can easily check it on our website. As Sala Muzik, we have a professional team of Turkish musicians that are ready to reply all your questions about yayli tanbur and help you to get the best instrument at the best value.
Searching for your ideal instrument is a thrilling and a rewarding journey. If you want to buy the right one, you need to love the process. Because finding the instrument that only feels right for you is not going to work. Buying a kemanche is no difference. If you follow the right steps and focus on main characteristics the right kemanche will almost pick you.
What is a Kamanche?
Kamancha or Kamanche is a bowed string instrument with a spherical body. In Persian, the word keamanche means “a small bow”. It has reached many countries but commonly used in the classical music of Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. The structure of the instrument is slightly different in each country. It also has some different names such as Kamanche, Kamancheh, Kemanche, Kemancha. The instrument is played in both folk and classical music.
What is the difference between Iranian and Azeri Kamanche?
Although it is used in both countries for centuries, there are some minor differences between the Persian and Azeri version of Kamancha. The first visible difference is the length of the neck. The neck of the Azeri version is 3 to 5 cm shorter than the Iranian Kamancheh.
The variety of the wood in use and the sound box of the instruments have some dissimilarities, too. The woods used in Persian model is mostly walnut and Mulberry whereas Azeri models are carved by both walnut and mulberry. Azeri Kamancha is usually made from one piece of wood and its spherical structure is hand carved. Persian models are traditionally made from sliced woods. The sound box gets its round shape from compressed woods.
Length of strings is 33 cm for Iranian and 29 cm for Azeri models. Formerly the silk strings were in use for the kemancha but in modern versions, metal strings took place instead. Traditionally the bow of an Azeri kemancha is made of slightly curved wood and horse hair. The hairs are not stretched tight and the player can adjust them to get softer or sharper sound.
How to play and tune a Kamanche?
It is soft and easy to listen timbre makes kemanche a suitable instrument for solo and ensemble. The player rests the Kamanche on the knee and instead of using the guidance of the bow it turns the instrument to meet the bow. During the performance, player uses fingers by inserting them between bow hair and the wood part to get the desired sound.
Kemanche can be tuned in a wide range and gains it a technical advantage. Lowest could be : La – Re – La – Re until Re – Sol – Re – Sol. Some prefer to utilize the mid-tense strings. Less commonly some players prefer to tune Kamancheh like a violin. There are many versions for tuning and at the end, players taste is the final for tuning pitch. Some player prefers to play on tense strings while others more on loose strings.
You can view our catalogue for both Persian and Iranian high quality kemancha models made by famous makers.
Tombak is an ancient Persian drum. It is also named as Zarb. Although it is a traditional instrument of classical and folkloric Iranian music it also finds ground in modern fusion music. It has a goblet shape and made of wood with a skin membrane. It is not made out of a single wood and has three parts. A thin stand, a large body and a strained membrane head.
Tombak is one of the main percussion instrument of classical and folkloric music in Iran. Unlike other drums, this goblet drum is played by using all the fingers. That technique makes Tombak one of the most interesting traditional drums of the world. Persian musical tradition is a way of expressing joy, sorrow, strugles and love. In short, everything that is about life and Tombak is one the best instruments to express these feelings in musical form.
Structure of the Tombak
Persian drum Tombak is a large wooden instrument. It has a goblet shape with a goat skin head. Unlike other goblet drums, it has a much more squared shape. It is traditionally made from Mulberry , Ash or Walnut. Like all other ethnic instruments the size of it varies according to the preferences of the musicians. A large tombak is approximately 30 cm in diameter and 46 cm in length. There are several types of Tombak and 5 of them are preferred mostly by modern Persian musicians.
How to Play the Tombak
There are two main strokes to be played on Tombak. They are known as Tom and Bak. The first one, Tom, refers to the bass tone and is played in the center of the head. Bak, on the other hand, is played on the rim and produces a treble tone. Combining of these two tones results in a harmonic Tom-Bak ryhtm. It can be played on the lap or off to one side under the arms of the musician. Hands and fingertips are used to produce the ryhtm.
The Sound Of the Tombak
Melodic effects can be obtained by applying pressure to the membrane on different points. It provides the sound with a range of tones and extends over an octave. Even soft tones can be produced with regards to the size and tension of the membrane and can be tuned very easily by the players. Professional players can produce a variety of expressive musical tones even modern fusion sounds.
The tombak was not very popular till the twentieth century. It was considered even as a low profile instrument and was only used to accompany melodic instruments and singers till late 1800's but became very popular gradually in the mid's of 1900's and started to appear for solo performances as it gained more popularity. Today it is the most popular percussion instrument in Iran.
All the Tombak models at our store are hand made and are products of excellent craftsmen with affordable prices. If you are looking for buying a convenient Tombak at the best value, please visit our store in İstanbul or check our online catalogue.