Frame Drums, Tar & Bendir
Originating in the Middle-East and throughout North Africa, the Tar is a popular name for this simple frame drum, usually played held in the hands or upon the lap. The Bendir uses a snare under the skin which vibrates when you play.
The frames are steam-bent from Oak, Cypress, Red Cedar, Yew or Black Locust, designed to be light and strong. Two tuning systems are used: cams you turn with your hands or internal bolts you turn with an allen key. Many frame drums have jingles, and these can be added in different ways to diversify the playing experience.
Tars can be any size, but usually are 12″ to 22″ wide and rarely deeper than 5″. Goat skin is used most often, and the skin thickness is a big factor in the sound.
Ranging from 10″ – 16″ in diameter, Bendirs are usually not large because the snares become too dominant on wide playing surfaces. The snares can be silenced to leave the simple Tar sound.