The frame drum is one of the most ancient musical instruments; it is reputed to be the first drum to be invented.

Basic, primal & extremely powerful musical instrument.

Early depictions of the instrument can already be found in ancient Mesopotamian art from the third millennium BCE.Its unique sound characteristics & intense rhythms have made it the perfect accompaniment for religious ceremonies & rituals in different cultures causing the participants to go under a trance and reach an ecstatic and spiritually-high state.

The frame drum has different names in different cultures :

Daf, Bodhrán, Tar, Bendir, Dayereh, Shaman Drum, Tof, Dob, Parai & Rebana to name just a few.

One cannot ignore the phonetic resemblance of some of the frame drum names :

Tof ( Hebrew ) – Daf ( Kurdish-Persian ) – Dob ( Hungarian ) & even Thappu ( Indian ).

The frame drum is basically a frame or a hoop usually made of wood & a skin stretched across it.

The size of the frame is usually 14″-16″ in diameter or larger.Its smaller family relative is the tambourine drum.

It has 3 main variants :

1.Frame drum with skin only : Tar, Bodhrán, Shaman Drum.

2.Frame drum with skin & jingles : Daf, Ghaval, Doyra.

3.Frame drum with skin & snare : Bendir.

Frame drums are usually played with the hands & especially with the fingers but it can also be played with

a ‘beater’ or a stick like the Irish Bodhrán or the Sri Lankan Parai drum.

Click here for a beautiful image gallery of frame drums.

In my YouTube playlist above I tried to introduce some of the most amazing & awe-inspiring frame drum solos so that you can experience the ecstatic qualities of the instrument & the amazing mastery of the drummers.This YouTube list is by no means complete & I have probably left out some other amazing frame drum masters.I will share more frame drum delights in my future posts 🙂

So what’s on the list ?

1.Zohar Fresco – an Israeli frame drum & percussion master.He is playing a David Roman frame drum in this performance.Like many other modern frame drum masters he is utilizing various middle eastern & central asian techniques creating his own unique style of playing.A percussion genius in action.Breathtaking.

2.David Kuckhermann – a German percussion master & educator.Additionally to his unique style of playing & overwhelming mastery he also introduces the multi-frame drums playing technique which I find so musical & beautiful.

I have the honor & pleasure of featuring David & his unbelievable technique, sound & mastery on 3 tracks from my new ‘Ecstatic Rhythms‘ album.Thank you David !

3.Glen Velez – an American percussion master.The man & the legend.Considered by many to be the pioneer in modern frame drum techniques, adopting various playing techniques from around the globe & adding his own style & touch.
Here he is playing the Bodhrán.Enjoy this great master 🙂

4.Mohsen Taherzadeh – an Iranian percussion master.In this amazing solo Mohsen is playing the Kurdish-Iranian Daf frame drum & introduces different techniques & approaches to the instrument.I especially like the ecstatic & spiritual character of his playing.

5.Abbos Kosimov – an Uzbeki percussion master.Abbos is an amazing virtuoso in various percussion instruments.In this clip he plays the Uzbeki medium sized frame drum named Doira.A few of them actually.Great inspiration.

6.Shane Shanahan – an American percussion master. Shane is a virtuoso on different percussion instruments.I believe it’s a 22″ Cooperman frame drum that he is playing here & he also incorporates an interesting Mongolian overtone throat singing technique which adds a unique ceremonial character to this frame drum playing.

7.Mokhtar Zand Salimi – I couldn’t find much information about this apparently Kurdish frame drum master but his frame drum playing was so ecstatic & awe-inspiring that  I had to include it in this list.

Enjoy 🙂

SplitBrain