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Egypt (Middle East)
Tablah (Dumbek)

The "tablah", sometimes referred to as a "dumbek" or "darabuka", is the lead percussion instrument in traditional Egyptian Arabic music. Goblature drums, and similar instruments, are also used in many music traditions. With a history that extends back to antiquity, this drum is found in a vast geographical domain stretching from Morocco in western North Africa, eastward through Egypt, Mesopotamia/Assyria and several Mediterranean countries. The shell is usually made out of ceramic, but there are many different versions, such as this modern one shown. Seen here is a pre-fabricated head which is unaffected by changes in humidity, unlike natural skin. Commonly covered with goatskin, fish skin is preferred because of the sound quality it produces. Rhythms are organized in metric modes or patterns called iqa'at, and these rhythms are then carefully combined with the melodic system, maqamat.

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The WORLD BEATS video features live, costumed performances of ancient, ethnic, percussive traditions. Aaron Plunkett puts it all together in this fascinating 33 minute program. SEE MORE...

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