The tombak
Performances of art music now use the tombak or zarb as the chief percussion
instrument.This is a small one-faced drum whose upper half is wider than the lower.
Carved of a single blocj of wood ,its body is hellow,open at the lower end covered
with a sheepskin membrance at the upper. Becuse this membrane is glued firmly onto
the frame, gross differences in tuning cannot be obtaind. To prepare the drum head for
playing,musicians warm it over a stove or an electric heater. The frame of the tombak
is usually of wood ,but inexpensive instrument are now constructed of metal. a tombak
player holds  the drum diagonally across his lap with the wider section over his right
thigh. The tombak is not played with drumsticks,but with fingers and palms of both
hands. tombak who have developed an elaborate technigue, are able to produce a great
variety of different sounds on the single face. For example ,the thick.dull sound,tom,
comes from striking the center of the face with whole hand,the sharp, dry sound,bak,is
produced by string the face near the rim.  for a rhythem such as one two and three
four,the first beat is the tom played by the right hand striking the center,beats two and
three are played by the fourth finger of the left hand snappet against the thumb then
onto the face near the rim of the drum,and beats and four by the third finger of the
right hand striking the edge of the face. In recent years ,as rhythmic music has become
more favored in classical music ,the use of the tombak has increased.
The popularity of the tombak may also be due to the presence of a virtuoso player .
For the past twenty five year  hossein Tehrani has fascinated listeners with his
virtuosity, and he has even been sent to perform in Europ and usa. a great number of
students have been traind by Thrani , the best famous  mohamd esmali .
That the present tombak maybe of recent origin is suggested by its absence from all
iconographic sources until the Qajar peroid. The major percussion instrument for
many centuries had been the daf,or tambourine.
Theory of music
Tel: 425-761-8015  USA
Tel: 425-761-8015  USA