Instruments In Middle Eastern And Bellydance Music
Percussion Instruments
Bendir or Douf - (Doof or Duf) a flat frame drum with a pair of snare strings stretched across the back of the head to give it a little buzz when played. Resembles a tambourine. Used in Egyptian folk and in sufi sacred music. Has a deeper voice than the Tar.
Doira, daire- a tar like drum with a close set row of rings inside the frame creates a jingle when played.
Double drums - Moroccan - a pair of drums similar to doumbeks that are made as an attached pair, one large one small with skin heads
Doumbek, darabouka, derbeki, doumbek, tabla , zarb - the arabic/Persian/Turkish goblet or hourglass-shaped drum we most often think of for dancing. It can be aluminium, ceramic, or wooden and can have natural skins (goat, fishskin) or a synthetic head. Sometimes a set of tambourine jingles may be mounted inside the head. The Shape varies from country to country. Doumbek is generally Turkish and Darabouka Egyptian. The Doubek has metal around the top, whereas the darabouka is smooth. They sound slightly different. The centre of the drum makes a doum sound, the edge a tek. Other sounds can also be made.
Duff, def - see Bendir.
Ghungroo - Indian Ankle bells
Karaksh - Moroccan - heavy black clackers that look like double sets of zills, heavy non resonating sound
Mazhar - a large base riq like a Duff with jingles.
Riq, Tambourine - (say: rick) a small frame drum with jingles in the sides (similar to zills)
Tabla - another name for Doumbek, sometimes also used to refer to frame drums
Tabla Beledi (Egyptian) or Davul (Turkish) A large double-headed frame drum played with sticks, one on each side. Is very loud.
Tar - a flat frame drum (basically a wood hoop with a head) rim is usually 24" deep, head may be 8-24" across
Tupan, Davul, Dawul, Tabl baladi - large bass drum carried on the chest and played with a hard stick on one side and a softer beater on the other
Zills (Turkey), Saghat (Egypt)- (say: saag-HAAT)- metal finger cymbals. Up to about 4" across. Worn on the middle or first finger and the thumb of each hand and banged together in various ways. Sometimes used by the dancer especially cabaret style, Turkish bellydance and to baladi or folk music. Used much more in Turksy and America by the dancer.
String instruments
Afghani Rebab - looks like a cross between the rebaba and the kimenche, shaped more like the kimenche but with a heavier wood body with a skin face, and side cutouts for playing with a bow.
Baglama, Bozuk, Cogur, Cura, Divansazi, Kupuz Irizva, Tambura - (say: BAH-lah-mah). Mainly Turkish stringed instrument with a long neck and round body played with the fingers or plectrum. The frets are moveable.
Bouzouki, Bazooki, Bouzook, Buzuk - shaped roughly like a banjo, but with a small wood tear drop gourd-shaped body similar to an oud with a long narrow neck. (Greek) a long neck mandolin with set frets and double-strings.
Cumbus - (say: joom-bush) fretless instrument shaped similar to a banjo, with a metal bowl body covered with a skin head with double strings. (Turkish, Romani, Kurdish)
Guitar - acoustic guitar is heard in Spanish / Arabic fusion music
Kabak Kemane - (say: kah-BAK Keh-mah-NEH). Played with a bow in Turkey and Azerbeijan. Looks like a lollipop.
Kanoon - see Qanoon.
Karadeniz, kemencesi - Roughly rectangular bowed instrument with a short neck and three strings. Used in Turkey especially the Black Sea region.
Kimenche, kamance - (say: Keh-MEHN-chi) Turkish precursor to the violin - smaller and with a narrow body, shorter neck and 3 strings. played with a bow. Spike fiddle.
Laouta - Turkish lute similar to an Oud but with a longer neck and a smaller body
Oud - (say: ooooood) large-bellied short-necked fretless arabic lute with a tear drop shaped body, round back and a short neck. 11 strings, usually played with an eagle feather (Turkish or Arabic). Mostly heard in Sharqi music.
Qanoon, kanun - an arabic zither - rather like a trapezoidal harp on its side but with a resonating box underneath, played with finger plectrums (Turkish or Egyptian). Perhaps the most difficult to play, it is rested on the knees. Used particularly in Sharqi music its shimmering sound makes it ideal for tiny shimmies.
Rebab, rebaba, spike fiddle - usually made from a coconut shell half covered with a skin head and having a long narrow neck, rather like a soup ladle with horsehair strings, played with a bow. (often Egyptian).
Santoor - Middle Eastern hammered dulcimer similar to the kanoon but played with light weight hammers. Body is slightly more trapezoid. Also known as Santouri: (Persian or Greek).
Sarangi, Serengi - Afghani, Indian, Pakastani - heavy bodied boxy looking instrument with a short thick neck and both played and sympathetic strings, played with a bow or the back of the fingernails. eerie sounding.
Saz, Baglama Saz - Turkish instrument similar to a bazooki , gourd-shaped long-necked lute with movable strings. 7 strings.
Tanbur - Fretless long-necked lute. Usually played with a plectrum, but sometimes a bow. Often heard in Turkish classical music.
Tar - Stringed instrument played with a plectrum in Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbeijan and Uzbekistan. The body is made with two bowls, the top one being smaller.
Violin - pretty much the same as here - hour glass shape with 4 strings, played with a bow
Yayli Tambur - similar to a cumbus but with a deeper voice, sometimes played with a bow
Wind Instruments
Arabic/Turkish Bagpipes - like a simpler version of the Scottish ones - edgier sound
Argul - double reed pipe with a long pipe (makes a single drone note) and a short pipe which is played, the chanter. Used in folk music
Been or Punji - bulging snakecharmer's pipe - made from a gourd so it has a bulging belly in the middle of the pipe.
Clarinet - modern single reed instrument often heard in Greek music, similar to Western but tuned differently and outfitted for quarter tones
Gaida: Asia Minor bag-pipes.
Kaval, Guval, Kuval - (say: Kah-VAL). Turkish instrument that looks similar to a recorder, and used for playing laments. Can be made of wood, cane, bone or metal.
Kawala- A deeper-sounding flute than the Ney. Used in Baladi and Sharqi music mainly.
Mey, Duduk - a different sort of reed flute with a very large double reed, mellower tone than most of the reed pipes. (Armenian and Kurdish)
Mijwiz - another form of the reed flute - may be single or double bodied (looks like two pipes side by side)
Mizmar- this high-pitched, squawky instrument is only used in Shaabi music.
Ney - (rhymes with eye) - Arabic bamboo reed flute. Goes back 5000 years and has a beautiful, yearning quality. Used in Sufi music and Sharqi (classical). The Turkish version has a wooden cap.
Oboe - modern version of the Zurna - richer and more refined.
Sipsi, Kaval - Turkish reed pipes similar to the Ney
Zurna, Mizmar, Shawm, Raita - belled snakecharmer's pipe - wood double reed with a straight body ending in a bell, gives a raw, loud rather squawky sound, precursor to an oboe.
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