Published on 28 Jul 2013 | over 3 years ago
The goblet drum (also chalice drum, darbuka, debuka, Kratom, doumbek, dumbec, or tablah, Arabic: دربوكة / ALA-LC: darbūkah) is a single head membranophone with a goblet shaped body used mostly in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. The African djembe-wassolou is also a goblet membranophone. This article focuses on the Eastern and North-African goblet drum.
The origin of the term darabukka probably lies in the Arabic word darba ('to strike'). The original use of goblet drums in Babylonia and Sumeria 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 . There has also has been some debate that they actually originated in Europe and were brought to the Middle East by nomadic Celtic tribes.
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) than hand drums such as the djembe, found in West Africa.
There are two main types of goblet drums. 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.
The goblet drum may be played while held under one arm (usually the non-dominant arm) or by placing it sideways upon the lap (with the head towards the player's knees) while seated. Some drums are also made with strap mounts so the drum may be slung over the shoulder, to facilitate playing while standing or dancing. It produces a resonant, low-sustain sound while played lightly with the fingertips and palm. Some players move their fists in and out of the bell to alter the tone. There are a variety of rhythms (see dumbek rhythms) that form the basis of the folkloric and modern music and dance styles of the Middle East.
There are three main sounds produced by the goblet drum. The first is called the 'doum'. It is the 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. The second is called the 'tek' and is 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'. The third is the closed sound 'pa', resting rapidly the hand on the head to not permit an open sound. Additionally, there are more complex techniques including snaps, slaps, pops and rolls that are used to ornament the basic rhythm. Hand clapping and hitting the sides of the drum can be used in addition to drumhead sounds.
Another technique commonly used in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt is to tap with the fingers of one hand and with a thin stick in the other. In Turkey the stick is called the çubuk, which means wand, or stick. The Romani of most of the countries associated with the goblet drum use this technique.
Middle Eastern Tabla - Various Artists
It was invented in India but still the history of this instrument is uncertain, and has been the subject of sometimes heated debate. Rebecca Stewart suggested it was most likely a hybrid resulting from the experiments with existing drums such as pakhawaj, dholak and naqqara. The origins of tabla repertoire and technique may be found in all three and in physical structure there are also elements of all three: the smaller pakhawaj head for the dayan, the naqqara kettledrum for the bayan, and the flexible use of the bass of the dholak.
The tabla (or tabl, tabla) (Hindi: तबला, Marathi: तबला, Kannada: ತಬಲ, Telugu: తబల, Tamil: தபேலா, Bengali: তবলা, Nepali: तबला, Urdu: طبلہ, Arabic: طبل، طبلة) is a popular Indian percussion instrument (of the membranophone family) used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term 'tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means "drum." 
Playing technique involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds, reflected in the mnemonic syllables (bol). The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure or in a sliding motion on the larger drum so that the pitch is changed during the sound's decay.