The Zarb Instrument (Tombak, Tonbak, Donbak, Dombak)







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!

Shirzad likes to play on tonbaks that are inlaid with khatamkari work.

Khātam (Persian: خاتم‎) is an ancient Persian technique of inlaying. It is a version of marquetry where art forms are made by decorating the surface of wooden articles with delicate pieces of wood, bone and metal precisely-cut intricate geometric patterns. Khatam-kari (Persian: خاتم‌کاری‎) or khatam-bandi (Persian: خاتم‌بندی‎) refers to the art of crafting a khatam. Common materials used in the construction of inlaid articles are gold, silver, brass, aluminum and twisted wire.

Designing of inlaid articles is a highly elaborate process. There are sometimes more than 400 pieces per square inch in a work of average quality. In each cubic centimeter of inlaid work, up to approximately 250 pieces of metal, bone, ivory and different kinds of wood are laid side by side, glued together in stages, smoothed, oiled and polished. Inlaid articles in the Safavid era took on a special significance as artists created their precious artworks. Woods used include betel, walnut, cypress and pine.