Video demonstration by Vince Delgado
The tablah (also known as darbukkah or dumbak) is a single-headed hand- drum found in most Arab music ensembles. The goblet-shaped body (cylindrical with a slightly narrowed waist) was traditionally made out of fired clay, and the sounding head out of goat, calf, or fish skin, stretched and glued permanently on the body.
Using both hands, an accomplished drummer can produce a great variety of sounds: Usually the right hand strikes the tablah at the center of the skin to produce the dum (resonating lower tone) or the slap (muted dum), or on the edge to produce the tak (high, crisp tone). The fingers of the left hand strike close to the circumferencefor the various fillers. Syncopated rhythms and rolls are also common. Since the mid 1980s, an instrument with plastic (mylar) head and a cast iron body with modifiable skin tension has become the norm.
Most tablahs are intricately decorated, some with wood, tile or bone inlay, etched metal, or paintings of geometric or other designs typically found in the Near East.