Persian Tanbur is a string instrument in which the strings are installed on a long frame with a bowl shaped body. Player uses the hand fingers to play Tanbur. It is closely related to Setar and Dotar which are also played by fingers sometimes held together for strumming.
Tanbur has epic, mythical and mystical characteristics and it is often used to accompany the narration of epics. This instrument has traveled far and wide in time and space and it has taken on different names and shapes. The neck and body of Tanbur is one whole piece similar to Setar. Between 10 to 15 frets are placed on Tanbur. Iranian Tanbur has 4 strings and as mentioned before is played without a pick. Based on 3 statues found in the ruins of Shoosh, Tanbur can be dated back to 1500 B.C. Persian Tanbur travelled through Iran and Syria to Turkey and Greece and further west to Egypt. The Egyptian version has an elliptical body. It is known that Tanbur was widely used during the Sasanid dynasty and even before that. Today, Tanbur is used in mystical circles to accompany the Darvishes’ chants and mantras and is usually accompanied by Daf on such occasions.
Seyed Ali Jaberi. The tanbour is a sacred instrument among the Persian-speaking world, a powerful and sonorous cultural icon. Few have made this sound as beautifully accessible as Seyed Ali Jaberi. Jaberi is an award-winning master of his art, one whose albums remains hugely popular among lovers of traditional Persian and Sufi music. His most recent best-seller, Psalms of Loneliness, scored four out of five stars with Songlines magazine. Jaberi has been a pioneer for tanbour performing in Iran, North America, Europe and Asia. He gained his first professional experience in Asia with the famous Min-on Orchestra in Japan at the age of 20. Today, he lives in the UK and is seen as one of the most significant figures in contemporary Sufi music. To date, Jaberi has composed three world-class albums: Psalms of Loneliness, Dawn Risers, and Hamdeli, which was released when he was just 21, to critical acclaim. Jaberi has cooperated with other leading artists including the international composer and singer-songwriter Sami Yusuf. He is currently writing his new album and performing a world tour with Sami Yusuf. He continues to bring his unique take on Sufi and traditional Persian music to an ever-wider global audience.About Tanbur instrument