The naghara is a cylindrical wooden drum, covered with goatskin on both sides. A popular folk percussion instrument, the naghara produces a strong, deep sound that resonates at crowded ceremonies and dances. Nagharas are standardized in three sizes, large (boyuk naghara), medium (goltug naghara), and small (jura naghara). The boyuk naghara is played with large sticks, whereas the goltug naghara and the jura naghara is played with drumsticks or bare hands.

The goshanaghara is a double drum. Although the drums are similar in height, one drum is slightly smaller than the other in circumference. Originally made from clay, they are now made of wood or metal and are covered with goatskin, camel, or calf leather. They are usually played with wooden sticks.

The Def
The ghaval and the def are ancient Near Eastern percussion instruments. Both the ghaval and the def are stretched with tanned sturgeon skin, which is more delicate than animal leather. The ghaval is a handheld drum with copper rings fitted to the inner side of its wooden frame to amplify its particularly light sound. The def is similar to a tambourine, with four pairs of copper jangles on the side. It produces a crashing sound when struck.

The dumbul (dunbul) is a type of goblet drum ubiquitous throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, and better known as the dumbek . The drum is placed over the performer’s leg, with or without a strap, and played with both hands. Originally made of clay, these drums also can be made of walnut, apricot wood, or metal, with a face of calf or goat leather, or plastic.

The AZERBAIJANI Musical Tradition

A postage stamp from Soviet-era Azerbaijan, depicting a few of many traditional Azerbaijani musical instruments.Azerbaijan has a rich, varied musical tradition. Musicians draw upon an ancient selection of Near Eastern instruments, such as the balaban, the naghara, the tar, the saz, and the zurna, to create musical forms unique to Azerbaijan. Instruments can be played individually, in an improvisational manner, or in ensembles, during traditional ceremonies and folk dances.



Jeffrey Interview VideoAmerican Jeffrey Werbock began his love affair with Azerbaijan mugham, and Azerbaijan, in the 1970s, when he first witnessed the music performed. Fulfilling his ambition to master the complex form, Werbock went on to engage deeply with the Azerbaijani culture and Azerbaijani people. Jeffrey Werbock is highly regarded across continents as an expert mugham player and as an important bridge between Azerbaijanis and Americans.