The Structure of the Tombak

Structure of Tombak (Zarb)

 A Note by Dr. Peyman Nasehpour



Tombak is the chief percussion instrument played in classical Persian music. Though, it is a goblet-shaped drum, but it does not have a standard size. Some people play on a large Tombak and some on a small one. Some like Tombaks with convex-formed body and some don't. The different forms of the Iranian tombaks are not the subject of this short. Here only the five parts of a tombak will be discussed. 

Structure of Tombak (Zarb) 

Tombak has five parts: Skin, Body, Throat, Small Opening and Large Opening. 

Skin: Skin of a Tombak is glued on the head of Tombak. Goatskin is the most popular one. 

Body: Body of a Tombak is wooden. This is in fact the sound box of each Tombak. Sometimes many furrows are carved on its wood. 

Throat: Throat is almost cylindrical and it is connected from top to the body. 

Small Opening: Tombak is of the goblet-shaped form, which is open from the top and bottom. Small opening is in the bottom. It is similar to the mouth of trumpet. In fact throat and small opening together are in the form of a trumpet. 

Large Opening: Large opening is in the top and the skin is covered on it. 

Acknowledgement: The author wishes to thank Hormoz Dilmaghani, the webmaster of Tombak Network, for his graphic work.