Naqareh: Wikis


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Other names Naqqārat, "naqqare, nakkare,nagora,نقاره
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The naqqāra is a drum with a rounded back and a hide head. It is thus a membranophone. The term naqqāra (نقاره), also naqqarat, naqqarah, naqqåre, nakkare, nagora comes from the Arabic verb naqr- that means "to strike, beat".



The rounded section of a naqqara is made of baked clay, while the flat side consists of treated skin fastened around the rim with string which is tightened over the back of the bowl.


This percussion instrument is often played in pairs, where one naqqara will produce low pitch beats called nar and the other for the high pitch beats (the female). The instruments are beaten with short wooden sticks bent outward at the upper ends called damka.

History and Literature

After the Islamic conquest of Iran, the word naqqara was used to refer to small-sized versions of the ancient Iranian kus. Many poets have mentioned the word naqqåre in their works, including the great Persian mystic poet Rumi. It is exactly like the kus, which is a pair of drums made of clay, wood or metal in the form of a hemispherical kettle, with skin stretched over the mouth of it. These were played with leather or wood drumsticks, the former called daval. A popular poem that mentions the naqqåre runs:

Dambel-e Dimbo naqqåre!
The bride has no tonban [long, loose skirt formerly worn by women]!
The bridegroom has gone to fetch one
May he come back healthy

Dambel-e Dimbo or zimbil-e zimbo is the sound made by a drum. This is a very important poem because the rhythm of the verses calls to mind the rhythm of the Mazdaranian chahårchube, which is played on desarkutan. Different names such as gavorga, kåse, khom, naqqåre and many other names have been applied for the kettledrums.

Middle-Eastern varieties



Naqqåre can be found in different sizes in different regions of Iran:

Northern Naqqåre

One of them is Naqåre-ye Shomal, which is played in northern Iran. Its native name in Mazandaran Province is desarkutan. Desarkutan is in fact a pair of small drums whose bodies are made of clay. Their structure is like that of a bowl. One is larger than the other; the larger is called bam and the smaller one is called zil. which respectively mean "bass" and "treble". The diameter of the bam is about 22 cm and the diameter of the zil is about 16 cm. Two drums are covered by cowhide, though in the past boarhide was used. The skin is tightened on the drums by bands made of cow tendon. Desarkutan are played with two wooden drumsticks. The length of the drumsticks is 25-27 cm. The thicker drumstick is used to play on the larger drum. The diameter of the drumsticks is 1-1.5 cm. Serna, the Mazandarani oboe, (Dari Persian sorna) is accompanied by one or two sets of desarkutan. These instruments are played in festive ceremonies such as wedding ceremonies, sport ceremonies and so on. Desarkutan is not used as a solo instrument.

Indian Naqqara

Naqqara are also found in India, where the word is pronounced nagara or nagada. They are paired kettledrums traditionally used in the naubat "Nine Things", a traditional ensemble of nine instruments. Nagara are also played with sticks. Today, this instrument is usually used to accompany the shehnai or "Indian oboe", an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding.

Azerbaijani Naqqāra

In Azerbaijan there is a kind of kettledrum that is called Ghosha-Naqara. Ghosha means "pair".

Persian Naqqåre

The naqqåre played in the Fars province of Iran is a little larger than ordinary naqqåre.

Sanandaji Naqqåre

The naqqåre played in the Sanandaj city of Kurdistan province of Iran is a little larger than ordinary naqqåre.

Egypt and the Other Arabic Countries

Naqqārāt is the name of kettledrums to be applied in Arabic countries. Naqqārāt, hemispherical with the skin stretched over the top, come in pairs. The larger ones are carried on camels and played during the pilgrimages. Another type is used to accompany one of the Mawlawi ceremonies. Under the late Abbasids and Fatimids in Egypt, kettledrums were beaten before the five daily prayers, and small ones form part of the present-day orchestral ensembles.


In Turkey, this word is pronounced nakkare and refers to small kettledrums beaten with the hands or two sticks. Kös, or giant kettledrums played on horseback, are a separate instrument. These drums and the davul or cylindrical drum were used in Ottoman mehter music. Please see also Kudum.


In Uzbekistan the kettledrum is called naqara. Dulnaqara is a large kettledrum that gives a low and loud sound (i.e. "tum"). Reznaqara is a small kettledrum that gives a high and loud sound (i.e. "tak"). Koshnaqara is a small-paired kettledrum, a pair of clay pots with goatskin tops.


In the form of the pot clay tool with the stretched goat skin or the deer skin with a diameter of from 60 to 600 mm.

Dul nagora

Large nagora with the low, loud and resonant sound. It is used as signal tool. They play by one comparatively thick rod.

Rez nagora

Small nagora, which possesses high-pitched and resonant sound.

Kus nagora

Of average size, possesses a comparatively low-pitched sound.

Qosh nagora

Paired nagora consisting of "cut" and "kus" nagoras of those attached to each other is used more frequently.

European Naqqārāt

Kettledrums were adopted in Europe during the Crusades (13th century). The Arabic term naqqara became French Nacaires, the Italian Naccheroni and the English Nakers. Nakers have been described like this:

They were more or less hemispherical, 15-25cm in diameter, frequently with snares and usually played in pairs, suspended in front of the player. They were usually played with drumsticks, mainly for martial purposes but also in chamber music, dance and processional music and probably for accompanying songs.

Kettledrums in Europe today are called tympani or timpani. They entered the symphony orchestra as a purely musical instrument in the mid 17th century; they were played in pairs tuned to tonic and dominant pitches. Beethoven was the first composer to vary the tuning of kettledrums from the conventional tonic-dominant. Berlioz was possibly the first to require a change of tuning during a single movement. Bartpk made use of the glissando, which is a rapid slurring effect created by mechanical tuning of the kettledrum.

Indian Tabla and Persian Naqqåre

As the excellent study of tabla by Rebecca Stewart ("The Tabla in Perspective". Unpublished thesis, UCLA, 1974) has suggested tabla was most likely a hybrid resulting from experiments with existing drums such as pakhawaj, dholak, and naqqara. The origins of tabla repertoire and technique may be found in all three and in physical structure there are also elements of all three: for example, the smaller pakhawaj head for the dayan, the naqqara kettledrum for the bayan, and the flexible use of the bass of the dholak.


Khåne literally means "house, home, room, place" and in Iran, there were different kinds of naqqårekhåne and there were places for announcing important news by playing on the kettledrums such as rising and setting of the sun, victory, mourning, birth of a male baby etc. These were also called Kuskhåne or, in Indian languages, naubat-khāna.


This is a widespread percussion instrument all over Georgia. It comprises two small cone-shaped clay pots (jars) of the same height, but different width, which are covered with leather. One of the clay pots is smaller than the other. A cord ties the two jars together. The height of the jars is 200-250 mm, and their diameters are 90mm and 170mm. The diplipito is played with two small sticks called "goat legs." The instrument is used to provide rhythms for vocal music and dance music. It is often combined with instruments such as duduki, buzika panduri, and salamuri. The diplipito is generally played by males, and plays an important role in Georgian folk ensembles.

See also


External links


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