(Last Updated on : 26/03/2013)
Daf or Dafli is a kind of drum, a musical instrument with Persian frame which can be played in classical and popular form of music. The frame is carved out of hardwood and plenty of ringlets of metal are attached to it, with goatskin being used for manufacturing the membrane surface. This instrument is found mostly in the regions of Iran, Kurdistan, Middle East, Pakistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. It is seen to be accompanying other instruments like Violin, tambura, saz, oud and few from the Middle East countries. In some kinds of dafs, there are small sized cymbals, which is similar to tambourine.
Daf emerged in the days of Sassanid Iran as the ancient history of Iran speaks of the instrument as dap as language underwent tumultuous change it came to be known as daf. Some paintings have been seen depicting the daf, which are probably prior to Common Era. Due to the presence of dap in Iranian Behistun reliefs, it is considered and also proved that these instruments date before the existence of Islam. Even before Sufism had its roots deep delved into the roots of Islamic religion these instruments were being played during religious occasions in Iran, which was a part of the religious tool. During the rule of Kavusakan dynasty, when the Sassanian times were prevalent, the dafs were seen to play an important part in the Mazdean Iran. In the Behistun monuments, which were located about 25 kms away from the city of Kermanshah, there are some frames in square shapes of Taq-e-bostan stone cuttings, also situated 5 kms near to Kermanshah city, which are proofs of this instrument being used those days. It is believed that these instruments were being played by Kurdish women in Middle East during ancient times, as well as in Rome, Greece and went into Europe in the medieval era from Islamic culture.
Also known as defi, and sometimes daire in few areas, this instrument has a large outer structure along with bangles made of metal. This instrument's construction is like that of tambourine, along with a screw system which is made of metal, for tightening the head and tuning it. In many areas of Greece, this instrument is quite popular, mostly during the Klarino music. Defi is famous in the region of Epirus in the north-western part of Greece, where they are made with hands till today. Their tone is quite low and beautiful while low pitched sound is from the bangles. A player, who is virtuous in defi, can play songs in various exciting manners. Tef is a Turkish word, used to describe a traditional version of Turkish Tambourine. In Turkish language, the daf is also known as Bendir.