Tasht the Pan Percussion Instrument

Female Tasht Player

Tasht the Persian Pan Percussion Instrument

by Peyman Nasehpour

Introduction. Traditionally, the tasht is a pan in which people wash clothes and other things. However, when the weather is very humid and natural-skinned drums such as the dayereh and the tonbak are not usable, Persians play on the tasht on festive occasions. This is a brief introduction to the art of playing the tasht which is a kind of traditional Persian junk percussion music.

A lexical discussion of the word "tasht". The "tasht تشت" (also spelled in the Persian alphabet as "طشت") is a wide pan in which people wash clothes and other things. Many Persian poets have mentioned the term "tasht تشت" in their works. For example, Ferdowsi has included the term "tasht" in his poems several times and I bring the following verse as an instance:

کنیزک ببرد آب‌دستان و تشت ز دیدار مهمان همی خیره گشت

Apparently, the tradition of playing the tasht (for any possible purpose) dates back to ancient times. According to the Dehkhoda dictionary, the following verse belongs to the Persian poet "Khosravi Sarakhsi خسروی سرخسی" who died between 1090 and 1097:

تو چه پنداریا که من ملخم که بترسم ز بانگ سینی و تشت

And this can be translated into English as follows:

Do you think I am a grasshopper That I am afraid of the sound of tray and pan?

To rescue the sun from a dragon by beating the drums and other things. As Naser Vahdati reports, in the past, people in the Gilan province of Iran believed that during a solar eclipse, a dragon was trying to eat the sun! Since the sun was the epitome of life, people were trying to rescue the sun from the dragon during the solar eclipse. Therefore, they were making strange sounds and beating any loud object such as the "naghareh نقاره" (a pair of kettledrums), the "tasht تشت" (pan), the "diyareh دیاره" (frame drum), the "dig دیگ" (pot), and so on "to be as noisy as possible in order to scare the dragon!"

Tasht the pan percussion instrument. In some regions of Iran where the weather may be very humid (like the Gilan, Golestan, and Mazandaran provinces of Iran which are near the Caspian Sea), natural-skinned drums such as the dayereh and the tonbak are not usable. In this case, the tasht is perhaps the preferred alternative to playing happy music and having fun on Persian festive occasions.


[P] Keivan Pahlevan, Daf and Dayere, in the history of Iran, in Farsi literature, and in Iranian world, Arvan publishers, Tehran, 2014.

[S] Mehdi Setayeshgar, Vazhe-Name-ye-Musighi-ye-Iran Zamin, Tehran, Vol. I (1995) & Vol. II (1996).

[V] Naser Vahdati, Alborz Khastgah-e-Musighi-ye-Iran, Zendegi va Musighi, Negah Publishers, 2005.

In this video clip, Fatemeh Khorshidi Pachi plays the tasht.