Topic: Tombak (Iranian) drum technique question! (Long shot-but eh) :)  (Read 1781 times)

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Offline FusionTech

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Hello my fellow percussion & drummer friends.  I am new to this forum.  I hope this forum is nice and active. 

I have been preforming and cultivating various fusion hand-drumming techniques for a while now.  I enjoy Indian fusion (Carnatic) techniques on the djembe, and preform on the tombak (Iranian) drum, amongst other drums as well.

Currently I'm really digging into the Tombak and its amazing array of technique and sound possibilities.

Getting an answer to the question I have may be a bit of a long shot, I dunno how many on this forum are versed in the Tombak drum, but perhaps someone out there has practiced this technique, or heard of it-or maybe implemented something like it on another drum/instrument. 

So first--please watch this video, particularly the first 30 seconds of his awesome solo:


You will notice that at 4-5 seconds he does a unique technique (and gets a unique high pitched sound) where he uses his wrist to put pressure on the rim of the Tombak, whilst the ring finger hits the skin head.  The tombak is a very capable drum in regards to pitch adjustment, so much that the wood body of the drum can be squeezed to manipulate the tone as you can see/hear in the video.

So my question (which is sorta a long shot for an answer)---does anyone have any more input on the technique he preforms at the 4-5 second mark?  Any hints/tips/tricks to produce that sound?  I've attempted to emulate what he's doing there, but not getting quite the same results.  lol

Thanks for ANY input whatsoever.   

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Tombak (Iranian) drum technique question! (Long shot-but eh) :)
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 10:23 AM »
I don't play Tombak specifically, but I do play a number of other goblet drums.

I think you are on the right track in regards to striking the drum while applying pressure and releasing, giving the pitch bend effect.

Now, this isn't the way he is doing it, but the sound you are talking about can be achieved in another way, which I will explain, only so you can get the sound... then see how you might get the same sound using the one hand technique this guy is using... which is amazing by the way.

To achieve the sound with two hands you would use one hand to "zone off" a small area of the playing surface, lightly touching the head while striking the drum with the other hand (ie. finger). To create the pitch bend, you increase the playing surface area which you zoned off by sliding the hand away from where you struck. Hope that makes sense.

I'm wondering if this effect on the Tombak could be achieved with one hand by striking the drum as you've said, but only one finger is striking while another finger (same hand) is lightly touching to create that harmonic sound (which I described earlier). What I'm thinking is something similar to the TA stroke on tabla ... more specific the dayan (small drum) ... where you lightly touch the edge of the head with the ring/picky fingers while striking the drum with the index finger.


By the way, I would love to own a Tombak drum, as well as learn to play it. Do you have any suggestions on where I could purchase a high quality Tombak in the USA?


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