TheDaf, is a large Kurdish/Persian Wooden frame drum which a thin skin is stretched on it and played with the fingertips. This instrument is similar to a circle onIranian percussion instruments, but it is larger and with a lower sound.Dafused in popular and classical music but also used in religious ceremonies among Kurds. TheDafalso considered as the national musical instrument of Pakistan. In ancient times, a smallDafor circle made of zinc and brass was called khamk or khumbak.
The instrument is depicted inmesolithiccave painting at Lakha Juar,Bhimbhetkaand inAssyrian Empirerelief. ThePahlaviname of the dafisdap. Some pictures of dap have been found in paintings that date before theCommon Era. The presence of Iranian dap in the reliefs ofBehistunsuggests thedafexisted before therise of Islam.Shunga artandMathura artcarved panels around 2nd BCE - 2nd CE, also showancient Indiansplaying this instrument by beating it with metal or wooden sticks likedholak or simply using their hands.Dafs were part of religious music in Iran much beforeSufism.
In Pre-Islamic times, the Daf was present in Iranian and Kurdish music, so that the traces of its rhythms are still present in Kurdish music, but with the advent of Islam, this instrument closed for survival in the monasteries and prayers of Kurdistan and for more than 13 centuries in the monasteries of Kurdistan. He became the companion of the dervishes of Kurdistan and was mixed with their dhikr and sky, so that the dhikrs in each position are accompanied by their own rhythm in the daf, and in other words, each dhikr has its place, which are called Daf maqams. Daf positions in Kasenzani and Ghaderi methods and other methods are from 7 to 10 main positions. This daf sit-in continued until 1974, when it was completed by Mohammad Reza Lotfi and with the efforts of Bijan Kamkar, and in this year, after centuries, it was used in public performances and in non-mystical music.
Daf amp; Nowruz
Nowruz and other festive occasions have been accompanied by daf in Sassanid periods. This traditional or classical music was created by Barbod the Great and was named the khosravani after the mythical king Khosrow. The art of playing Daf in Iranian Kurdistan and other parts of Iran has reached us by the effort of Iranian Sufis; especially in the 20th century. The daf still functions as an important part of Persian art music (traditional or classical music) as it did in ancient times. It successfully encourages many young Iranians to take up learning this ancient instrument.
The history of frame drums based on theancient times.The persian dafis one of the ancientmusical instrumentin Iran and neighboring countries.They have strong and dramatic sound with a simple structure and used both inspiritual ritualsandentertainment gatherings.Daf instrument is known as one of theoldest frame drumsfrom the ancient history ofAsiaandAfrica. InSufi culture,they use daf for spiritual chanting and Iranian musicians integrated that successfully inPersian music.The player usually holds the persian daf with left hand (for right handed players).Persian daf hasfour main techniques.Using these four techniques, all different rhythms and sounds can be produced on Daf. The right hand techniques are calledldquo;Tomrdquo;andldquo;Bakrdquo;and left hand techniques are calledldquo;Chaprdquo;andldquo;Zanjirrdquo;.In Iran, Sufis use persian daf during their Zikr rituals (spiritual chanting); in recent years Iranian musicians have successfully integrated it into Persian music.
What are the different types of daf?
Solo daf is a model specifically designed for solo performances. The jingles have a high pitched clear sound. It has ahigher-toneanda voluminous sound.The soloist plays the instrument easily by relaxed finger movements on the surface.
The skin of the daf might be affected by the humidity because of the natural materials used in the making process. A studio daf is a special model produced to prevent the changes on tightness of skin. It helps to play the instrument for the whole performance without worrying about the changes of the tune.
The daf instrument is astrong voiced instrument.But in an orchestra this strong voice could kill the sound of the other instruments. To avoid this problem in an ensemble, the player should use an orchestra daf which has a lighter soft sound that blends warmly with other instruments.
The bass Daf is a model which is larger and has a thicker skin. This helps it to catch a fuller, deeper and more appropriate bass sound.Treble Daf is another specialized style, designed to catch high notes. They are also suitable for winter performances.
Hold the instrument in front of your body. Place theleft hand at the 6 orsquo;clockposition and theright hand at the 3 orsquo;clock.The rings should face towards the player while drumhead faces away. The three beginning strokes are; bass tonedldquo;dumrdquo;,high pitched toneldquo;takrdquo;and another high pitched but softer and slightly muted toneldquo;kardquo;.The dum and tak strokes are produced by right hand while the ka stroke is made by the left hand.To create the dum stroke, keep fingertips together in a little arc position and hit the center of the daf with the tips. It will help the daf bounce and creates a deep, bass tone. For the tak sound use four fingers and hit the instrument slightly from the edge. To create the ka stroke, twist your left wrist hit with four fingers slightly from the upper edge of the frame.Playing of the daf involvesarms,wrists,handsandfingersworking together at the same time. The hands and the wrists help player hold the instrument firmly while fingers creates the sound. At the same time arms get lower or rise up and shake the frame to produce simultaneous movements with the head and the rings. Hand and finger techniques create a wide range of tonal and rhythmic variations.
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