Tombak is the main percussion instrument in Persian Music. The name of this drum comes from the two basic sounds of the drum, the Tom, the low pitch sound of the drum and the Bak, the high pitch sound of the drum. With TomBak Academy, we are going to learn the basic language of this Persian drum.
In the level one, we are going to explore 4 basic syllables: The Tom, the Bak, the me and the ke.
The Tom and Bak, as we learned, are the low pitch and the high pitch sound on the drum. The “me” and “ke” are like soft bak played with the left hand. We would say “me” if it comes after Tom and we will say “ke” if it comes after Bak. So, we have “Tom me Bak ke”.
The Tom, which is the bass tone of the drum is played with the top of all the fingers of the right hand (left hand if you are left-handed), near the center of the drum. You can make your hand the shape of the question mark “?” and using the wrist and the hand to heat the drum. You must immediately take off your hand from the drum and let the bounce happening. Be careful to not leave your hand on the drum, this would damp the sound and we don’t want that. We want a nice open bass sound.
The Bak, the high pitch sound of the drum, is played with the first phalanx of the ring and the middle finger of the right hand (left hand if you’re left-handed) on the edge of the drum. Again let the fingers bounce from the drum and don’t damp the sound. We want a sharp, open and clear sound.
With the first phalanx of the ring and the middle finger of the left hand, you can play on the edge of the drum, using the wrist and the fingers. Again, we want a sharp, open and clear sound. This stroke is named “me” or “ke” depending if it comes after Tom or Bak. After Tom, we say me and after Bak, we say ke. It’s only because it sounds better and both “me” and “ke” would sound the same on the drum.
The goal at the first level of the TomBak Academy is to develop the sense of rhythm through simple exercises and creating independency between the both hands. It would help to increase the concentration. It’s very important to stay conscious about what you are playing. By saying the rhythms and playing in the same time, it would develop the sense of mindfulness, because you always have to be aware of what your body is doing and what your mind is thinking. You have to tune your mind and your hands.
T = Tom, played with the right hand
B = Bak, played with the right hand
m = me, played with the left hand
k = ke, played with the left hand
If you don’t have a Tombak, you can contact me and order your new instrument! I made tunable tombaks. You can also use any other drum that you already have. Just choose the three basic sounds on your drum. If you use a djembe, a darbouka or a dumbek, they are very similar to the Tombak, so you can easily adapt to the Dum, Tek, me and ke on your drum. You can also use frame drums, cajon, or even body percussion. Or simply use only your voice to recite the rhythms.
If you have questions or you want private class, you can contact me by email : firstname.lastname@example.org