والاحضرت همایونی

شیرزاد شریف

(طرب السلطنة) مکتب افسانه ای ضرب و سازهای کوبه ای رقص شرقی

His Imperial Highness

Shirzad Sharif

Golden Age of Bellydance Art, Song & Dance!

Middle Eastern Percussion, Lutes & Software Engineering

Persian & Egyptian Bellydance Raqs Sharqi (Tarab-ol-Saltanat)



The Zarb (ضَرب or ضرب), also tombak, tonbak, donbak, dombak (تنپک, تنبک, دنبک، تمپک), is a goblet drum from Persia (ancient Iran). It is considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music. The tonbak is normally positioned diagonally across the torso while the player uses one or more fingers and/or the palm(s) of the hand(s) on the drumhead, often (for a ringing timbre) near the drumhead's edge. Sometimes tonbak players wear metal finger rings for an extra-percussive "click" on the drum's shell. The instrument is also played with all ten fingers, producing rolls using all fingers and also snaps & strikes on the side of the drum that allows for complex rhythmic patterns unique to the Zarb drum amongst all percussion instruments of the world!
The tombak is a single-headed goblet drum about 43 cm in height with a 28 cm diameter head. Its shell is carved from a single block of (sometimes highly figured, knotted or marbled) wood, maybe with a carved design or geometric pattern (such as furrows, flutes, diamonds and/or spirals—it is often a costly, heirloom-type or vintage musical instrument). At the bottom the shell is somewhat thicker than at the top for strength (since the drumhead adds to the strength at the top). The shell's wall thickness is approximately 2 cm. The throat is nearly cylindrical and connects the top (body) cavity to the hollow base (the throat itself, the interior of which forms the small opening).

A sheepskin or goatskin head is stretched and secured with glue, tacks or both. The fairly wide top opening permits full bass tone as well as various treble tones (see below). Tonbaks with adjustable tuning have been produced experimentally but the head tension is normally fixed prior to performance with careful attention to the temperature and humidity. The player may heat or cool or dampen or dry the membrane to reach a desired fundamental pitch. The pitch can be raised somewhat during a performance by applying finger pressure but a variety of tapping and clicking timbres reduce overall focus on the drum's pitch. Typically, two or three clearly contrasting timbres (through varying finger placement or clacking of a ring against the drum shell) are played in an antiphonal style.

Shirzad Sharif (شیرزاد شریف) performs the Riqq ("Tambourine") and Zarb ("To Strike") drums and other customized lutes and assorted percussion instruments of the Middle East.

He also has proficiency in Bellydance (Egyptian Cabaret Styles of Bellydance, Oriental Dance, Baladi Dance), Persian Court Music and Dances, Persian Belly Dance Music, Persian Authentic Music, Persian Folkloric Music, Mystical Islamic Music, Persian-Arabian Knights Battle Rhythms.

Shirzad has his own unique style and performs one of the oldest and most authentic styles of Persian bellydance drumming of Iran.

He was born to a highly privileged family very closely related to the late Shah of Iran (King of Persia) and by birth descends from a long successive lineage of Persian Imperial Royalty (Pahlavi & Qajar Dynasties) and is a Prince Sultan Imperial.

He was raised in an acclaimed musical family in Iran which has nurtured the likes of Legendary Tar ("Persian Lute") Grand Master Ostad Mirza Farhang Khan Sharif (Pictured Above).

While growing up in Iran he was fortunate enough throughout his teenage and adolescent life to have studied Persian percussion & strings under the direct tutelage of some of Iran & the United States's finest Grand Masters of Persian Classical Music & Bellydance including the world renowned Tombak (percussion) Grand Master Ostad Bahman Rajabi, Grand Master Ali Akbar Moradi & Grand Master Ostad Mary Ellen Donald as well as numerous other master musicians.

He has also highly customized, redesigned & re-invented his string instrument the ("Tanbur") & customized it according to his own specifications, he has since developed numerous unique styles and highly specialized techniques to accommodate his specific style of performing Persian music. This electric-acoustic instrument combines 4 very important principle Persian instruments ("Setar", "Oud", "Tar") into the original ("Tanbur").

This has allowed for the unique creation of a full bodied instrument that allows the utilization of various techniques, tones and sounds, related uniquely to each of the 4 instruments capable of utilizing either electric effects or simply being played acoustically in a concert hall setting & format.

He has developed two lutes that consist of the Small and Big Baghdadi Tanbur (طنبور بغدادی بزرگ و کوچک) based on the teachings (زندگی و اندیشه های حکیم ابو نصر فارابی) of Hakim Abu Nasr Al-Farabi known in the West as Alpharabius which sounds like the Morrocan ("Sintir\Gimbri"), the Egyptian Oud ("Lute") and the Persian Dotar ("Lute") which was used in the Harems of Persia and other Middle Eastern Countries Worldwide for Healing Purposes and is played with a feather.

Shirzad's body of work & music is some of the most creative, authentic, innovative, progressive classically based Persian music ever heard till this day & has been breaking genres, musical boundaries & geographical borders worldwide.

He is also responsible for restoring and preserving what is known as the Persian Bellydance style called ("Reng"). An extremely elaborate art form & body of rhythms, dances & techniques preserved within the courts and harems through-out the ages.

His skillful presentation and comprehensive teaching technique has lead to him performing and conducting seminars at many prestigious academic institutions such as the University of Maryland, University of Utah, UCSF, San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley & UCLA.

Shirzad's percussive musical domains range stretches from the borders of India all the way to Morocco. He has been working on the below setup which allows for a wide range in tones and tonality providing a full range of percussive sounds and dynamics, something he has been working on achieving for over 20 years!

The instruments he has studied and performs include: Chimes, Cymbal, Rain Stick, Mazhar, Wooden Doumbec, Metal Doumbec, Daf, Skin Dayereh, Azeri Dayereh, Bendir, Naqaareh, Traditional Tonbak, Classical Tonbak, Qajar Zarb, Persian Riqq, Turkish Riqq, Egyptian Riqq, Roman Tambourine, Dohol, Dammam, Persian Naqarreh & Other Assorted Percussion & Gongs.

Shirzad's wife is a Bellydancer and Shirzad has his own unique style which he learned from his grandmother and performs one of the oldest and most authentic styles of Persian drumming which was almost extinct & was strictly within the domain of the Imperial Court Musicians & Bellydancers and Harems of Persia, Egypt and other countries Worldwide. Persian belly dancing, also known as Persian dance or Iranian dance, is a traditional form of dance that has its roots in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran). This dance style emphasizes fluid movements of the torso and hips, intricate footwork, and graceful arm movements.

In Persian belly dancing, the dancer typically wears a flowing, colorful costume that accentuates her movements. The costume usually includes a long skirt or harem pants, a top that exposes the midriff, and a veil or shawl that can be used for dramatic effect.

One of the key elements of Persian belly dancing is the use of intricate footwork, which often includes fast spins and turns. The dancer's feet move in a pattern that is similar to the rhythmic beats of the music.

The upper body movements in Persian belly dancing are also very important. The dancer's torso and hips move in a fluid, undulating motion that creates a mesmerizing effect. The arms and hands are also used to create graceful and flowing movements that complement the footwork and torso movements.

Persian belly dancing is often performed to traditional Persian dance music, which features a variety of instruments such as the zarb (goblet drum), santur (a type of hammered dulcimer), tar (a type of lute), and daf (a type of frame drum). The music is typically rhythmic and energetic, and provides a strong foundation for the dance movements.

Overall, Persian belly dancing is a beautiful and captivating dance style that combines intricate footwork, graceful arm movements, and fluid torso and hip movements. It is a celebration of Persian culture and a testament to the beauty and elegance of Persian dance.

As of late Shirzad only performs Golden Age of Bellydance Song and Dance with his beautiful wife who goes by the stage name: Sultana Jamileh which means Beautiful Queen!

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Shirzad Sharif on Aparat (Iranian YouTube)!

Sharif Family Musical Legacy:

Read about Grandmaster Ostad Farhang Sharif & Authentic Persian Music!

My Instruments:

Bellydance Zills (Sagat)

The Egyptian Mazhar Drum (Big Tambourine)

The Middle Eastern Riqq (Small Tambourine)

The North African Bendir

The Turkish Dayereh

The Persian Daf

The Persian Dammam Instrument - دمام

The Persian Dohol Instrument - دهل

The Naqareh Instrument - نقاره

The Zarb Zoorkhaneh - ضرب زورخانه

The Persian Zarb Instrument (Tonbak)

The Arabic Doumbec (Darabuka) Instrument

The Persian Tanbur & Dotar Instrument (Lutes)

My Teachers (Grand Masters):

Read All About Grandmaster Mary Ellen Donald's School of Thought!

Read All About Grandmaster Bahman Rajabi's School of Thought!


Top Awards and Highest Honors

Press and Media Coverage

Musical Projects Information:

Get to know & listen to Persian Sufi Music and Sufi Mystical Concepts

Middle Eastern Percussion - Page 1

Middle Eastern Percussion - Page 2

Middle Eastern Percussion - Page 3

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Amir Ehsan Aghaie (Tar) & Shirzad Sharif (Zarb) - Persian Authentic Music

Alan Kushan (Customized Santur) & Shirzad Sharif (Zarb)

Narayan Sijan (Oud, Saz) & Shirzad Sharif (Zarb)

Get to know & listen to Sacred Tanbur Maqaam Music

Get to know & listen to Other Musicians and World Music

Get to know & listen to Persian Fusion Jazz (Allstar Lineup)

Get to know & listen to Persian Fusion Electronica (Som'ma \ Dubistan)

Ambient Electronica & Middle Eastern Drumming (Crystal Awareness)

Persian & Middle Eastern Rock Art & Music (Qalandariyun)


Read All About Historical Persian Dance!

What is a Sword?

Historical Persian Martial Arts - ورزش های ایران باستان

Secret Islamic rituals (Wazaif), prayers (Dua), practices (Amaliyat) & Talismans (Telesm)

Read All About Middle Eastern Musical Modes!

Rengi Music (Dance Music)

What is Riyaaz?

Read All About Persian Drumming Concepts!

Read All About Celestial Persian Music & Shirzad's Research On This Topic!