DAF - دف

Daf (Persian: دف) also known as Dâyere and Riq is a Middle Eastern (mainly Iranian) frame drum musical instrument, used in popular and classical music in South and Central Asia. It is also used in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, many regions of Georgia, Pakistan as well as in parts of India and Russian polar regions. It is also popular among Balkans, Bukharan Jews, Caucasians, Kurds, and Macedonians.

Daf is the national musical instrument of Pakistan and is also depicted on the reverse and obverse of the Azerbaijani 1 qəpik coin and 1 manat banknote respectively, since 2006.

It traditionally has a round wooden frame (although in the modern era it may also be made of metal), jingles, and a thin, translucent head made of fish or goat skin (or, more recently, a synthetic material).

The sound is produced by hitting the membrane with either hand – the left hand, which also holds the Daf, strikes the edges, and the right hand strikes the center.

The right-hand fingers are fastened about their neighbours and suddenly released (like the action of finger-snapping) to produce loud, rapid, sharp sounds.

The Pahlavi (an ancient Iranian language) name of the daf is dap. Some pictures of daf have been found in paintings that date before the Common Era.

The presence of the Iranian daf in the 6th–5th century BCE Behistun Inscription suggests that it existed before the rise of Islam and Sufism even though it is used extensively in Sufi music and is performed widely by the dervishes of Iran.

Iranian music has always been a spiritual tool. It shows that daf played an important role in Mazdean Iran emerging as an important element during the Sassanian period during the Kâvusakân dynasty.

Also, there is a kind of square frame drum in the stonecutting of Taq-e Bostan (another famous monument located 5km northeast of Kermanshah city).

These frame drums were played in the ancient Middle East (chiefly by women in Kurdish societies), Greece, and Rome and reached medieval Europe through Islamic culture.

The jingles, which are thin metal plates or rings, are attached to hooks in three or four rectangular holes in the circular wooden frame. The drumhead is made of fish or goat skin.

The width of the frame is 45–50 cm (18–20 in.) and the depth, 5–7 cm (2–3 in.). In order to bend the frame, the wood ("buka", "orev") may be softened in water before being bent around a hot metal cylinder.

The frame is closed by gluing the ends together. Finally, the skin is attached to the frame by fixing it with another wooden frame or by using nails.

Another variation is to have the ring-style jingles arranged around the edge of the inside of the drum the whole way around or to have several tiers half way around the inside edge.