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Persian Percussion Encyclopedia

Peyman and his Tonbak

Peyman Nasehpour demonstrating a wide range of skill and dynamic on his Tonbak

For more information on this Drum, please see our Persian Percussion Section 

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Persian Percussion

The area known as PersiaThe percussion of one of the most ancient regions of civilisation. Goblet drums and Frame drums, jingles and plain, high and low. An amazing selection of instruments and information here. Thank you to our Donors.

This section is donated to Drumdojo by my friend and drum brother Peyman Nasehpour and also contains pieces graciously donated by and collaborated on by Matt Hannafin and by Shahin Mohajeri .

Thank you to everyone who wishes to develop an interest in the percussion of this region, possibly the oldest percussion inthe world

Tonbak Players and their styles of play

Every artist has his own unique style. Therefore, any classification will be very broadly based. Modern method of playing Tonbak can be divided into four major overlapping styles. One of them is based on traditional style of playing Tonbak and recent masters have developed the others.

The structure of a tonbak

Tonbak does not have a standard size. Some people play on a large Tonbak and some on a small tonbak. Some like Tonbaks with convex-formed body and some don't. The different forms of tonbak is not the subject of this article. Here only the five parts of tonbak will be discussed.

Social Status of Tonbak Players

Social Status of Tonbak Players

Peyman Nasehpour © 2002

Social Status of the Tonbak Players of the Past Tonbak was not considered as a solo instrument in the past. I should explain that in Ghajar period vocalists were of two kinds: avazkhan and tasnifkhan. The avazkhan's job was to sing the non-rhythmic compositions of Persian radif repertoire and the tasnikhan's job was to sing the rhythmic compositions of Persian art music. Though there were some vocalists that were the master of the both kinds: for this maybe the most famous example is the late Ostad Abdollah Davami. Also most of the tasnifkhan-s were tonbak player (zarbgir). So tonbak was the instrument to be played by the singers and it was not considered as an independent instrument.
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