About Frame Drums

Frame Drums

Paul Marshall


bodhran riqq kanjira daf duff daff tar muzhar bendir doira pandeira pandeiroFramedrums are perhaps one of the earliest forms of drum made by many civilizations across the world, in essence they are a piece of animal skin stretched over a circular frame that has a depth less than the width of the head, or another definition is where the frame is half or less than the diameter of the head.  There are examples where the drum frames may not be circular, square & many-sided drums exist.  (see image below)

bodhran riqq kanjira daf duff daff tar muzhar bendir doira pandeira pandeiroPlaying the drum

The drums in the family are most commonly played with the hands. Specifically the fingers. Some, such as the Bodhran from Ireland are played with a stick, others are shaken and others still use a mixture of playing styles and strikes.  The playing styles vary hugely from drum to drum, from country to country, from region to region and indeed from player to player.  Frame drums can be held in one hand away from the body and played with the other, they may be rested on the knee, on the lap, or held between the knees. Some mounts are available for having them mounted imdependently of the player.


bodhran riqq kanjira daf duff daff tar muzhar bendir doira pandeira pandeiroMany treatments can be added to a frame drum to augment the sound, the most common is to add one or more sets of ‘jingles’, small cymbals set into the frame.  These are generally grouped by the public under the humble title ‘tambourines’. If you listen to a skilled, Kanjira, Riqq or Pandeiro player you will certainly get your eyes (& ears) opened.  Other treatments include the suspension of rings from the rear of the drum as shown in this image of my Persian Daf. Gut, leather or nylon strips may be stretched across the underside of the head to give a ‘snare’ sound as with the Moroccan Bendir.

This section attempts to gather together a list of all the different types of frame drums available.  Clicking on a blue link will take you to more information regarding a particular drum.

Snare drums such as are usually associated with drumset also qualify as frame drums apparently, however they are dealt with in the drumset section of the site.

bodhran riqq kanjira daf duff daff tar muzhar bendir doira pandeira pandeiroFor more general or specific information or if you wish to take up frame drumming I highly recommend that you subscribe to the framedrumming Yahoo group, there is so much knowledge assembled with the immensely talented and experienced participants there that you should never need to look further.  I also recommend that you visit the excellent Rhythmweb site run by Eric Stuer for framedrum central and information on all types of drumming around the world.

Paul Marshall -

Paul is the owner of Drumdojo and the Dojo Sites, He is responsible for writing and collating a lot of of the material that you see here on drumdojo.

Playing drumset since age 5, Paul has been a drummer on and off for most of his life. He plays every drum he can get his hands on. Paul works as an instrument designer, has designed many instruments for the Stomp orchestra and more recently in Holywood Movies. Paul is a prolific web designer and currently has a portfolio of around 40 business and hobby sites.

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