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A Brief on Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese Drums

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A Brief On Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese Frame Drums

A Note by Maestro Juanjo Fernández and Dr. Peyman Nasehpour

At right is Inés López, from Piornedo (Galice) playing a kind of frame drum that in Galicia is called "pandeira" (feminine). The "pandeira" has metal rings though there are some without jingles and those are not popular. In Morocco, it is called "bendir". Bendir has been popular during the Abbasian period in Persia and the other Islamic countries.

In Galicia and Spain, a smaller one is called "pandeireta" and is somehow similar to rikk. The Persian name for rikk is raq. For example, the Persian poet, Molana Rumi, mentions this name in his poems. This one has always metal jingles. This is more popular and modern than the "pandeira" and the playing technique is different.


The square drum in Spain and Galicia is called "pandeiro" (masculine). The drummer at right is Emérita Monteagudo, from Quireza (Galice), playing the pandeiro. We guess the words "pandeira" and "pandeiro" are related to the Persian-Arabic name "bendayer" (a kind of frame drum).

In the middle Ages, the name "adufe" was used for the frame and square drums. In many Arabic countries, these kinds of frame drums are called daf, taf and dof. The Hebraic version is called tof and in Turkey, the name is tef, a dilect of taf. It is interesting to mention that the Arabic definite article is “al” and if we add it to the word “duf”, it should be pronounced “adduf”. Therefore, we guess the name “adufe” is derived from the Arabic name duf. Today in Portugal, both the frame and square drums are called “adufe”.

This note was originally published at RhythmWeb.com, but it needed a bit edition, so we decided to re-publish that in Dr. Nasehpour's official website.

Frame and Square Drums

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