The Structure of The Tonbak

The structure of the tonbak

The Structure of the Tonbak

Introduction. Tonbak is the chief percussion instrument and a goblet drum played mainly in classical Persian music. However, it does not have a standard size. Some wish to play on a large-sized tonbak some do not. Some prefer convex-formed body tonbaks some don't. What is common among the structure of all tonbaks is that any tonbak possesses five parts which we are going to discuss in this short note.

The Structure of the Tonbak (also known as Tombak or Zarb)

The tonbak has five parts and their names are skin, body, throat, small opening, and finally large opening.

  1. Skin: The skin of a tonbak is glued on the head of the tonbak. The goatskin is the most popular one.

  2. Body: The body of a tonbak is often wooden. This is, in fact, the soundbox of each tonbak. Sometimes many furrows are carved on the wood of the body.

  3. Throat: The throat is almost cylindrical, and it is connected from the top to the body.

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

  5. Large Opening: The large opening is in the top of the tonbak and the skin is covered on it.

For more, see The Skin and Wood of Persian Drums and Tonbak Drum Skin Replacement.

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

Keywords. tonbak, tombak, zarb, donbak, dombak, goblet drum, drums.

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