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date: 14 November 2019

Ḍaph [daf, ḍaff]locked

  • Alastair Dick


[daf, ḍaff]

South Asian name for the frame drum. It derives from the Arab daff and is found in various Indianized forms, such as ḍaphrī (ḍaphṙā), ḍhȧplā (ḍaphlī), damphu, and ḍamphā. The name, and a frame drum of Middle Eastern type, entered India with the Muslim Turko-Afghans who established the Delhi sultanate in the late 12th century (it is mentioned in the works of the 13th-century court poet Amir Khusrav). This type, a medium-size shallow frame drum about 30 to 60 cm in diameter, can be found with or without jingles (interior metal rings or bronze discs set into the frame), with the skin pasted or tacked to the frame (without lacings), and played by hands or sticks; it is common in many parts of the subcontinent. The Middle Eastern pattern linking this instrument either with women or with Muslim dervishes and mendicants (faqīr) can also be seen in this area. In court musical scenes in Mughal miniatures the tambourine is usually played by women, while in South Asia both Muslim and, especially in the north-west, Hindu mendicants play it. In Indian folk music generally, however, it is not specially linked with women players. This type is especially common in north India and Pakistan (where it is also called ...

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