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The dobulbash, dobulbas

The dobulbash, dobulbas, is a drum with a single membrane of camel skin. The case across which it is stretched is made from archa (juniper) and measures about 50 to 60 cm across. Sound is created by beating the membrane either with the handle of a horsewhip (kamchy) or with the palms of the hands. A modern innovation involves striking the membrane with two drumsticks with soft tips. The sound of the dobulbas is strong, sonorous and can serve as a military or sacral signal.
The dobulbash underwent a revival in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the creation of folklore ensembles. The first modern examples of the dobulbash were made by craftsmen in the Osh area in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. A press report of the time reported “an ancient musical instrument of the Kirghiz – the dobulbash drum has begun to sound. Considered lost forever, it was mentioned only in national legends ... Scrupulously having studied them, the craftsman T.Ergeshov has made a copy of this instrument”, (Soviet Kyrgyzia, 19 September, 1981). Ergeshov’s instrument was made in three sizes, large, medium and small – and although they varied in size they had a similar shape and form.

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