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Persian Percussion Encyclopedia


Kettledrums of Iran and other countries

Peyman Nasehpour ©2002


Persian large-sized kettledrums are called Kus. Many poets have mentioned the word Kus in their works. It is a pair of drums made of clay, wood or metal in the form of a hemispherical kettle, with skin stretched over the mouth of it. Kus was played with leather or wood drumsticks (The leather drumstick was called Daval). Kus usually was carried on horseback, camelback or elephantback. It was played in many occasions such as festivals, wars, decamping and so on.


Igha' (Theory of Old Rhythms)

Peyman Nasehpour © 2002

A Brief Discussion of Rhythm Cycles (Advar-e-Igha'i)



Safi al-Din Ormavi, one of the most celebrated Persian theorists and musicians, was born in Orumiyyeh city of Azerbaijan province in Iran. He has written two important books about theory of Persian art music of his time, which they are Al-advar and Al-sharafiyyeh. In the past music was divided into two important chapters: 1. Talif-e-Negham 2. Igha. Talif-e-Negham (literally means composition of notes) is in fact the same as melody. Igha is the same as rhythm.

Dzhabbar Kariagdiev

azerbaijani frame drumGhaval (not to be confused with qawwali music) the Azerbaijani frame drum is played in Azerbaijani folk and art music. In folk music of Azerbaijan Ashigh (poet-musician) sings and plays on gopuz (nine-stringed long-necked lute) and sometimes composes poems in different festive occasions. The drum that usually accompanies the Ashigh is ghaval. In Azerbaijani art music a traditional ensemble contains a singer, which plays on ghaval and two instrumentalists, one plays on tar (long-necked lute) and the other plays on kamancheh (bowed spike fiddle). In modern art music of Azerbaijan an ensemble can contain more than two instrumentalists. Usually the drum that accompanies the modern ensemble is naghara (a kind of cylindrical drum that is called in Armenia dhol).

Framedrums in Asia, North Africa and Europe

Daf and other frame drums in Asia, North Africa and East Europe

Peyman Nasehpour ©2002


Daf is one of the percussion-skinned instruments of Persia that it has become very popular these years. In Middle East there is a broad class of drums known to musicologists as Frame Drums. In this article I will discuss these percussion instruments


Frame Drums are the musicologist's term for a class of percussion instruments constructed of a shallow cylindrical frame over which a skin is stretched and may or may not have jingles. Persian Daf is a good example of a frame drum with jingles. The history of the frame drum begins in the ancient Middle East. The following is a list of frame drums:

Historical Persian Drum Paintings
Drums in Persian Paintings
A Research by Peyman Nasehpour and Mehdi Moghiceh (Painter) ©2002


Painted by Soltan Mohammad in 1519 .....................Painted in 1590 probably by Soltan Mohammad.........

peyman nasehpoor ............ peyman nasehpoor

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