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date: 26 August 2019


  • Michael Pirker


Arabic generic term for drums. It is particularly applied to double-headed cylindrical drums in the Arab Middle East, including North Africa (especially Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sudan). It may occur in combination with other words, indicating drums of the same type with regional differences of size or drums used in different regional combinations of instruments. The term ṭabl can vary from region to region; it is sporadically found as tabīl in Osmanli, and in modern Turkish the term davul is most commonly used for the double-headed cylindrical drum. The ṭabl baladī (‘people’s drum’) is regarded as the smaller version of the ṭabl turkī (‘Turkish drum’, davul).

Cylindrical drums were known in classical antiquity, and various different sizes of such instruments are still in use. The cylindrical drum is central to Islamic musical cultures; it is used in military bands and is also played at village ceremonies such as weddings, circumcisions and funerals and on religious occasions. During Ramadan, the month of fasting, the drum and ...

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