A dohol is a double-sided cylindrical drum
. It is used in a lot of Middle Eastern folk music
, such as bandari
(Iranian) and as an accompaniment
to the sorna in Persian
The dohol is widely used across the cradle of civilization, but each culture has a different name for it. In Armenia and Azerbaijan it is covered with goat skin on both sides; one side plays a high note, the other a low. However, Armenians call it a dhol, and Azerbaijanis a naghara.
In Persia, it is a dohol and is played with special drumsticks: one is a thin wooden twig called a deyrak, the other a thick stick which is bowed at one end and called a changal or a kajaki. It is played the same way in Bulgaria, where it is called a tupan, although there it may be covered with sheepskin. In Egypt this drum is called tabl ballady; in Greece, dauli; in Russia, tumyr; in Yugoslavia, teppan.
The root of this instrument may actually lie in India, where there is a double-headed cylindrical drum called a dholaka. Some believe that this where the name "dohol" comes from, others that their "dholak" comes from the term "dohol." India has three of these drums: the dholak is used chiefly in qawwal, or Muslim devotional music; the dholki is a small cylindrical drum used in street performances; and the tavil is a larger drum used in South Indian weddings and temples, which like its Persian counterparts accompanies the nadaswaram, a large oboe. The drum and oboe combination is very common, in fact: it is also used in Macedonia, where the tapan (cylindrical drum) accompanies the zurna (guess), as well as in Turkish davul-and-zurna music.
Out of the Indian use of this drum came the Sri Lankan dolak, which is used there in Buddhist and Hindu religious ceremonies to accompany music from India. In Sri Lanka it is conical rather than being a cylinder, and has hemp or nylon strings and a particular spot on one head which are used for tuning. This drum is so common there that the term "dolak" is often used to refer to all drums used in folk or popular music, regardless of what kind of drum is actually being used.
Kurdistan has produced group dances much like the Persian dohol-and-sorna festivities. Their double-sided drum is a daval, and it is one of the most frequently and broadly used percussion instruments by the Kurds of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey . Their sorna is called a saz; both are related to the oboe, and music using these instruments is called saz-daval. They also use two differently-sized drumsticks with the daval, but their thicker stick is actually a cane; the larger stick plays the strong bass line of the rhythm, while the thinner drumstick plays shorter beats and rhythmic ornaments.
Turkey itself has developed specific variations on this drum. There it is a davul, and hangs off of the shoulder by a strap. One head is covered with sheepskin, the other with goatskin, and as in other Kurd-influenced cultures two drumsticks of differing thicknesses are used, one for each side. (Interestingly, they also have a drum called a naghara, which is played in the armpit.)
Both Persia and Turkey have a proverb that literally means "the distant davul sounds pleasant," which must be referring at least in part to the loud voice of the drum. Many of these dohols, in fact, are only played outdoors.