The etchnic culture of Azerbaijan
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The prototypes of Azerbaijani percussion instruments are rooted in very ancient times, in primitive society. Back then, people learned to play rhythms in various ways. The simplest way to keep rhythm was by tapping one's foot. Then people began experimenting by covering a well with dry wood and stretching an animal skin over it. Various rhythmic patterns could be produced by tapping on the skin. Presumably, the first percussion instruments originate from those times.

Even now, one of the zorkhana plays used in wrestling is called "Ayag-doyma" (foot tapping). There is a large rock "Gaval Dash" (tambourine) in one of the ancient human settlements in Gobustan on the Jingirdagh mountain slopes. By striking or tapping this stone, one can produce a sound that is reminiscent of the instrument known as the gaval. Some people believe that the name "Gaval Dash" came to us because this stone really was used as a percussion instrument in the distant past.

Various kinds of percussion instruments were historically widespread in Azerbaijan and have played a special role in the spiritual and material life of the Azerbaijani people.

These instruments are mainly divided into three types:

1) membranophones,
2) idiophones, and
3) idio-membranophones.

Membranophones include the tabil, kos, (boyuk naghara) gosha naghara, naghara, dumbak and other instruments of this type.

Idiophones include earthenware crockery, various types of laggutu, shakhshakhs (trinkets), zingirovs (bells) and gumrovs (handbells).

The gaval (tambourine) and daf belong to the third group.

The naghara is the most widespread of the membranophone instruments. There are several types of naghara, which is considered to be the lead instrument in folk ceremonies and weddings. The naghara differs in size and goes by various names such as "boyuk naghara" (big naghara), "jura naghara" (small naghara), "chiling naghara"(played with drum sticks), "goltug naghara" (drum held under the arm) and "el naghara" (hand naghara).

There are two types of construction for nagharas: single and double. The drums which are played on one end include the gosha naghara (double naghara), nagharazen, tabil, daf and gaval. The drums which are played on both ends are the kos naghara, boyuk naghara (big naghara), jura naghara and goltug naghara. The goltug naghara and gosha naghara are the most popular among these types.

Many of the percussion instruments that have played an important role in the development of Azerbaijan's cultural history unfortunately do not exist today. These include the tabil bas, danbal, mazhar, tabil, gumrov, zil, duhul, zang, zingirov, kaman, sinj, davul, nagus, khalkhal and others.


        © Musigi Dunyasi