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DAF / Daff / Def:

Daf is the large Iranian frame drum, with a row of small circular metal hoops fastened to the inside of its rim, the hoops will rattle when the membrane of the drum is struck. It was originally used in Khangah (temple of dervishes) during the zekr (spiritual chanting) ritual, that is why it is considered the main sacred percussion instrument in Iran.

Its Pahlavi (pre-Islamic Persian language) name is Dap and Daf is the arabicized version of Dap. Persian literature shows us the importance of this Persian frame drum in Persian Sufi music and many Persian poets have alluded to the Daf in their works; perhaps the most famous one is Molana Jalal-al-Din Rumi.

The structure of daf is divided into six parts:
Frame is wooden. Skin is glued on the frame. The most popular is synthetic skin (more resistant, any wripples). Pins are applied in behind part of the frame in order to keep the skin on the frame tightly. Hooks are applied in order to hang the rings in the inner part of frame. Rings are the jingles of daf. Leather band is applied in order to help the player for long duration performances.

It has become very popular these days and is now integrated into other styles of Persian music. Indeed, the Daf is becoming more popular around the world.



It should be mentioned that similar frame drums with similar names are played in some other countries such as daf in India, tef in Turkey, duf in Arabic countries and dap in Uyghuristan of China. Thanks to some famous daf players, daf integrated into Persian art music and it became the second national drum of Iran. The chief national drum of Iran is tonbak (the Persian goblet drum). Today daf is used in all genres of music in Iran and in this article I will give a brief description of different daf-s used in different genres of Iranian (Persian) music.


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