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The COMPLETE DÜMBEK

A Comprehensive Resource on
Origins, Acoustics, and Playing Techniques

By Richard Adrian Steiger, M.A.

The Complete Dümbek begins with an exploration of the origins and history of this versatile drum, citing archeological evidence from numerous authoritative sources. This impressive guide investigates the traditional and modern cultural perspective of the dümbek (“doom-beck”) from ancient to modern times, and the spread of the dümbek via diasporas of Armenian, Lebanese, and Arab peoples. A brief analysis of the development of the presence and use of the dümbek in musical ensembles, development of the live ensemble for dance, turn-of-the-century bands, and café ensembles, concludes the discussion on origins and context.

The second section of The Complete Dümbek explores the various shapes, models, and physical characteristics of this instrument from the archaic Egyptian dümbek, to the central Asian Altai dümbek, the southeast Asian thon, and the Persian tombak (or zarb). The dümbek in the current era includes Orientalist drums, Turkish concave dümbeks, Afghanistan zirabaghali, and modern metallic and synthetic dümbeks.

This section also includes a discourse on the acoustics of the physical drum. A resonance-tuned musical instrument, the physical components of the dümbek influence its sound. The theory and mechanism of vibration, including pitch and tone color of the dümbek, are discussed. The instrument’s overall acoustical interaction—performance space acoustics, drumhead, bearing edge, and resonator and draft tube generative shapes—is analyzed. A survey of drumheads—the materials of which they are made (organic and synthetic), varieties and tones, pitches and timbres, affixation methods, tuning, maintenance, and modifications—is investigated, along with the material aspects of the parts of the drum body, including methods of construction.

An extensive discourse on choosing a drum and playing techniques—including holding/playing positions; hand placement; tonal zones; a primer on rhythm theory; and a section on developing rhythm skills for performance playing, including a drum-note lexicon and a compendium of rhythms from the Greater Middle East with details on the provenance and variations (with citations)—rounds out the book.

The Complete Dümbek includes comprehensive appendices encompassing a rhythmic skills notation guide, historical timeline, list of alternate names for the instrument, an instrument collection, and detailed endnotes for further study and research. Includes a complete bibliography, glossary, index, and audio-visual resources.


Detailed Table of Contents with Notes

ISBN 978-0945962-30-4

7½" x 9¼"           528 pages

Softcover        Retail $49.00

Not Yet Available

Detailed Table of Contents with Notes

About The Author

Richard Adrian Steiger was born in 1953 in San Diego, California and succeeded at becoming a musician, artist, and author. Richard has been involved in a diversity of music and art since childhood. At SDSU, Richard received a B.A. in Art (painting and printmaking) in 1986, and an M.A. in Music (ethnomusicology) in 1988. He has studied and performed Persian music, Balinese and Javanese gamelan, Sumatran drums, Indian music (classical and popular), Brazilian batucada, European Medieval music, American Folk, Rock, Fusion, Progressive, World, and Jazz. He has also worked with orchestras, the Harry Partch ensemble, the Rinaldi String Quartet, John Kaizan Neptune, and others. Richard has composed music for modern dance, theater, and recorded a large body of (as yet unpublished) work in experimental acoustic, electro-acoustic, electronic, and musique concrète. As a recording and sound engineer, he has been involved in many projects for other artists. He teaches drumset, dümbek, frames, and other percussion. Richard has taught seminars and been a guest lecturer at colleges, universities, and private events. His art and graphic work includes paintings, intaglio prints, drawings, mixed media, flyers, programs, instructional diagrams and imagery, and scientific illustration.