Arab Instruments Forum

Doumbek / Darbuka => Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons => Topic started by: cobra on June 18, 2017, 01:52:00 PM

Title: Vintage Darbuka Help
Post by: cobra on June 18, 2017, 01:52:00 PM
Greetings Darbuka Gurus,

I hope you can help me identify the origin of this darbuka (please see attachment).  I'm thinking Lebanon.  The drum is obviously quite old, and is engraved with what appears to be Arabic.  Anything you can offer will be appreciated - age, maker, materials, etc.

I'm also curious about the purpose of the wooden strip wrapped around the top within a groove.

Thank you in advance.
Title: Re: Vintage Darbuka Help
Post by: drtom on June 18, 2017, 02:59:57 PM
The decorative metalwork is very similar to that of the old Syrian darbukas I'm familiar with, but this lacks the hardware for mounting the skin typical of the Syrian drums.  I can easily believe this drum originated in Lebanon but can't say for sure.

Based on my knowledge of many types of drums and their construction, I can imagine two possible functions for the wooden strip.

First, it is meant to hold the skin in place by pinching it between itself and the shell's groove.  The skin goes over the top edge of the groove, down and under the strip and up and over the lower edge of the groove.  Glue might also be used.  This technique is more commonly used with frame drums such as bodhrans.

Second, the strip provides a surface upon which the skin can be glued.

It's possible that this drum lost it's hardware for mounting the skin (something like a Syrian darbuka) and was modified accordingly.

Hopefully someone has first hand knowledge of drums like yours and can correct me.
Title: Re: Vintage Darbuka Help
Post by: dHuGo on June 18, 2017, 07:23:53 PM
Nice piece!  - Looking the wooden strip, I'd remark some resting glue on its surface. Its appearance looks like colophony. Probably, skin originally was glued with natural resin based on pine or similar tree. It seems to be an old handcrafted drum. - What a beauty!!!
Title: Re: ntage Darbuka Help
Post by: cobra on June 20, 2017, 03:51:54 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Your suggestions make sense Dr. Tom.  I think it's more likely that the wood serves as a surface to adhere to, since (as dHuGo noted) there seems to be a lot of residue on it.  Now that you mention it, I can also see the possibility that this shell once came with additional hardware.