Musical Instrument Glossary D

Dabakan – A goblet-shaped drum from the southern Philippines.

Dadaiko – Large barrel drum. It is usually around two meters in diameter. Japan.

Daf – The daf is a frame drum found in the Middle East and North Africa. The daf is equipped with metal rings (jingles) on the inside which add a jingle effect to the sound. The frame is covered with goat-skin. Name variations: daff, dafli, dufli, def.

Persian daf
Persian daf


Dafri – A very small frame drum, usually only several centimeters in diameter. The frame is sometimes ornamental and the head is made from snake skin. India.

Dagaa gyil – A long xylophone, about 1.5 meters long, with seventeen keys, each with a corresponding gourd resonator. Also known simply as gyil. Ghana.

Dagu – Large bass drum. There are two types: huapenggu, which is shaped like a flowerpot; and datanggu or ganggu with a broad base. China.

Daiko – General Japanese term for drum

Daira – Frame drum with jingles. Afghanistan

Daire – A medium-sized tambourine used in Iran, Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, the Balkans, and many Central Asian countries. Name variations: dayereh, doyra, dojra, dajre, doira, dajreja.

Dalang – Tibetan mandolin-style instrument from Amdo (northern Tibet). Source: Penpa Tsering.

Daluo – Large metal gong. China.

Damian – A popular six string instrument used by nomadic people of Tibetan origin living in Ladakh. This instrument is closely related to the Tibetan dramyin or dranyen. India.

Damaru – Small Tibetan drum shaped like an hourglass with two pieces of string at the end of which are small round strikers. The drum is turned rapidly left and right. The strikers whip around and alternately strike each drum head. Also known as Ton Dhar.

Damman – A set of two kettledrums called fo and mo, meaning male and female. Fo has a hole under it so that water can be poured into it to produce a heavy, deep sound. They are played with small sticks called damshing. Damman provides a deep pulsating, resonant beat and is played with dances and singing in Ladakh. India.

Damman-ishkun – Double-headed bass drum. Iran.

Dan Bau – The dan bau is a one-string zither native to Vietnam. It is constructed of a long narrow sound box, with a tall curved stem made from water buffalo horn inserted at one end. The single string runs between the soundbox and a small wooden gourd attached to the stem.

The Stem is bent to change the pitch of the string. The player touches the string lightly with the heel of the hand at harmonic producing nodal points while plucking with the fingers. This produces the dan bau’s characteristic high clear sound.

Vietnamese music group Khac Chi has added frets to the instrument’s already complex array of pitch production mechanisms.

As the sound box of the dan bau is very narrow, it is not a loud instrument, and was traditionally used in more intimate environments. In recent years an electric version has been introduced, to be played in ensembles and large concerts. The bass bau was adapted from the dan bau to provide a musical range equivalent to that of a bass guitar. It is simply an electric dan bau with a very thick string on it. Due to the thickness of the string, it is quite a difficult instrument to play. Vietnam.

Dan Bau
Dan Bau


Dan mo – Set of wood blocks and bamboo rasps used for percussive effect. Vietnam.

Danpigu – Single headed drum. China.

Dan Trong – Small single-headed barrel drums of varying sizes and depths. Vietnam.

Daouli – Two headed goatskin drum. Greece.

Dap – A frame drum with a round mulberry frame covered with python skin on one side. China.

Darbuka – The most widely used name for a North African, Turkish and Middle Eastern hourglass-shaped drum. There are numerous name variations: darabuka, darrabuka, darbucca, darbouka, darabukkah, derabucca, drbakka, d’rbuka, drbekki, derbuka, derbekki, tarambuka, tarabuka, derbakeh, goblet drum.



Datonggu – Large barrel drum. China.

Daudytes – Wooden horns. Lithuania.

Davadyensivka – Wind instrument. It is a diatonic double sopilka. Also spelled dvadyensivka. Ukraine.

Davuli – Kosovar Albanian short wooden cylinder covered at each open end with leather-stretched with rope. It is played with two wooden drumsticks. Kosovo.

Dayera – Iranian and Uzbek frame drum. Also known as dayereh.

Def – Large frame drum without jingles used in Turkey, Egypt, Kurdistan, Kosovo, Armenia, Greece and other countries and regions in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Turkic countries.

Demung – Javanese Gamelan metal-keyed melodic instrument. Indonesia.

Devil drum – A rural percussion instrument made from a tree branch with a string joining both ends. Jingles or bells hang from the string. The string is struck with a small stick. The Latvian name is vella bumgas. Latvia.

Dhad – A small, double-sided, hourglass shaped drum. It is held in one hand, and struck with the other. The hand holding it constricts the tightening strings as it is struck, thus creating a unique sound. It is generally used in the Punjab region (India/Pakistan) by Sikh poets while singing praises of historical figures in battle.

Dhapari – Percussion instrument made of multiple strips of skin. India.

Dhiplopadoura – Double reed pipe from Crete. Greece.

Dhol – 1. Ancient Armenian drum. The instrument is hung from the player’s neck and features two heads, of which only one is actually played. The dhol can also be played with sticks. 2. Large, double-sided barrel shaped drum from the Punjab region in South Asia. Its thundering sound is the heart of the Bhangra dance form. The dhol is generally made from mango wood or sheesham wood, and played with two sticks, a thin switch made from cane, and a heavier, curved stick generally cut from the roots of the Acacia tree.

Punjabi dhol
Punjabi dhol


Dholak – A South Asian double-ended barrel-shaped drum made from a hollowed out block of wood traditionally used across the Indian subcontinent. The heads are tensioned by lacing that passes through small metal rings. Also spelled dolak.

dholki – A small South Asian double-ended barrel-shaped drum, smaller and longer than the dholak.

Dhul – Double-ended barrel drum. Afghanistan.

Dhungchen – Long copper horns played by the monks of Tibet.

Dhut – Large Javanese drum. Indonesia.


Didjeribone – A tuned didjeridu made out of plastic, with a rubber mouth, invented by Charlie McMahon. for more information go to

Didjeridu – An end-blown, straight, natural wind instrument made from a termite hollowed eucalyptus branch. The bark is stripped off and then painted with traditional dreamtime symbols, and is played with a special technique called circular breathing. It was used by aborigines of Northern Australia originally as a ceremonial and healing instrument. Name variations: didgeridoo, yidaki, yiraki, magu, kanbi and ihambilbilg.



Dihn Pa – Percussive bamboo tubes struck on the ends by padded sticks. Vietnam.

Dihu – Low pitched bowed lute. China.

Dilruba – Bowed instrument with 4 metal and 24 sympathetic strings. It has frets and the bridge runs over a goatskin. India.



Dinh Pa – The dinh pa is a traditional instrument from the highlands of Vietnam. It is made from varying lengths of bamboo pipes fastened together in two rows and stood upright. It is played by striking the top ends of the pipes with a padded stick, although originally the open hand was used. The bass dinh pa is simply a much larger version of the dinh pa. Source: Khac Chi.

Diple – Reed instrument similar to a bagpipe but without a drone. Also known as mih and mjeh. Croatia.

Diplica – The diplica is an ancient, simple wind instrument that was played in different forms in many parts of Croatia. Today it is preserved and used only in Baranja (part of Croatia).

The diplica is mostly made from reed, but it can also be made from straw, goose feather, etc. The diplica consists of a pipe (chanter) with a few (usually five) holes for piping, and a single-blade reed also made of reed or elder. Usually, the diplica is in E tonality (E, F#, G#, A, B, C#), although it can be made in C, D or F tonality as well.

The diplica is a precursor of many different kinds of bagpipes. Even though it is a very small and simple instrument, it produces a rich and beautiful sound. Source: Stjepan Veckovic

Diplica - Stjepan Veckovic
Diplica – Photo courtesy of Stjepan Veckovic


Divan – Largest member of the saz family, about 140 cm long. Turkey.

Dizi – Transverse bamboo flute of the Han Chinese. It has 6 open holes.



Djabara – West African shakers made out of a hollow gourd, with a loose net, with beads, grains or shells worked into the net.

Djegok – Xylophone used in the Gamelan orchestras of Bali. Indonesia.

Djembe – French spelling of jembe.

Dobe – Kettledrums. Romania.

Dobro – Slide guitar with one or more metal resonator discs mounted inside the body. The dobro has become a popular instrument in American country and bluegrass music. Czech Republic.



Doedelzak – Bagpipe from Flanders. Belgium.

Dohol – Armenian percussion.

Dohollah – An Egyptian tabla or darbuka made out of brass.

Doira – Tajik frame drum.

Dolçaina – Traditional reed instrument made from wood, about 70 cm long. The cone shaped dolçaina is usually found in the Valencia region. In many other parts of Spain it is known as dulzaina or gaita. Spain.

Doli – Double-headed cylindrical drum. Georgia.

Domra – Three-stringed mandolin. Russia.

Dombak – Iranian hourglass drum. Also known in North Africa and Turkey as darbuka. Also spelled donbak, tonbak.

Dombra – A traditional long-necked lute of nomadic cultures in Central Asia. It is found throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well with Kazakhs living in China.

Dondon – Talking drum from Ghana. Hourglass shaped, variable pitch pressure drum. Also known as dun-dun. Ghana.

Dondondo – Ghanaian thumb bell.

Donno – Hourglass-shaped taking drum from Ghana, popular with the Dagomba people.

Dora – Small gong with a deep lip and pronounced center. Mongolia.

Doshpuluur – Tuvan two or three string banjo-like plucked instrument. Russian Federation.

Doso – Double Pit wooden xylophone. The resonator is a pit dug into the ground. It is the largest xylophone of its kind in the world. The longest keys are huge beams measuring 1.8 meters. The keys lie parallel to one another over and across the pit, which is about 70 centimeters deep and almost 2 meters wide. Benin.

Dotar – 1. two-stringed lute from India, Central Asia and the Middle East. 2. Bengali short-necked fiddle derived from the rabab.

Dranyen – Tibetan folk lute from U-Tsang (western Tibet). Dra means “sound” and Nyen means “melodious.” Sources: Penpa Tsering and Tenzin Choegyal.

Drilbu – Tibetan hand bells used by monks in Buddhist rites.

Drehleier – German hurdy gurdy. Also known as radleier, leier and leyer.

Drum – A percussive device that when struck repetitively, either by hands or other implements, yields a noise.

Duasi – Drum. Mozambique.

Duda – Hungarian and Latvian bagpipe.

Dude – Ancient Croatian bagpipe.

Dudelsack – German bagpipe.


1. Armenian oboe dating to Armenia’s pre-Christian times that is made of apricot wood and capable of sustaining drone notes for long periods of time. The duduk’s range is only one octave and requires considerable skill to play, its dynamics being controlled by constantly adjusting lips and fingers. The duduk has a warm, soft, slightly nasal timbre and is used in folk songs and dance music.
2. Flute of Western Bulgaria with 20-100cm long six finger holes.
3. A large wooden pipe from Serbia.

Armenian duduk
Armenian duduk


Duduki – Georgian short cylindrical oboe, related to the Armenian duduk.

Dudumba – Large drum that produces the base beat in Guinean music.

Dudy – Czech bagpipe.

Duff – Nubian frame drum.

Dufli – The dufli, also popularly known as dafli or daf is an Indian tambourine used in weddings and other celebrations. It is a wooden ring with a double row of bells and a drum head playing surface .

Dugg Small kettledrum worn around the waist by Baul performers in Bangladesh and India during the singing of philosophical and devotional songs.

Dukka – Pair of Indian drums similar to tabla.

Dulcimer – General term for musical instruments of the box zither type.


1. Spanish traditional reed instrument made from wood, about 70 cm long. Also known as dolsaina, chirimita and gralla in other parts of Spain.
2. Two metal flutes joined by a single mouth piece. Capable of producing harmony and heard in traditional Ecuadorian music.

Spanish dulzaina
Spanish dulzaina


Dumbek – A single-skinned, lap drum who name comes from the two principle tones that the drum produces: a deep thump (dum) and a tight snap (bek). dumbeck, dumbeg. doumbec, doumbek.

Dumbéleki – Greek drum.

Dumbra – Lute of the Tartar people.

Dundun – Hourglass-shaped talking drum from Nigeria.

Dungchen – Very long bass trumpets used by Tibetan monks in Buddhist rites. They are 2 meters (12 feet) long and are played as a pair.

Dungur – 1. Tuvan term for drum. 2. Large Tuvan shaman’s drum or tambourine.

Dunun – A double sided cow or goat skinned cylindrical barrel drum, which is slung horizontally over the shoulder and hit with a curved stick. The dununs come in three sizes, from highest in pitch but smallest in size, to lowest pitch and largest size- the kenkeni, the sangban, and the big dununba (West Africa). Djundjun Doundoun.

Dununba – The largest of the dunun drums.

Dutar – A 14-stringed Afghan plucked lute, with a long neck, from the Herat region. Also known as a dotar. The dutar can also be found in the Uighur and Uzbek people of China.

Dvojnice – Double flute. Croatia.

Dvorgrle – A double pipe flute, with seven holes, from the Balkans.

Dvoyanka – A double pipe from Bulgaria. Its length ranges from 30 to 40 cm.


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