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The playing style of this instrument became more rich and expressive by the work of great tonbak masters in the last century, especially Ostad Hossain Tehrani whom man consider the father of modern tonbak playing
Place the neck of the instrument on your left leg. The left arm lies on the body of the drum so that the fingers reach the skin comfortably. Most of the tonbak strokes are done mainly by movements from the wrist, not only the fingers.
This stroke is done with the ring-finger, or with middle- and ringfinger. Straighten your right hand´s fingers and hit the edge of the skin. For the left hand bak, raise your hand (but not the arm) from the drum, execute a fast downwards-motion and “throw” your fingers to strike the rim. Be careful with both hands not to press the fingers on the skin.
The technique for this stroke is a little bit similar to snapping your finger. It can be done with all fingers, but for now use the most common ones, the ring and middle finger of the left hand. The finger is placed against the thumb and then snapped against the rim. You can use the ring and middle finger to do two strokes in a row.
The middle stroke (Meyaneh)
To execute this stroke with the right hand, place your thumb on the side of the drum to give your hand stability. Then hit the drum with your ringfinger so that 2/3 of the finger hit the skin. The movement or the left hand is similar to the left hand Bak, only that you hit the drum also with 2/3 of your ringfinger. The motion comes from the wrist.
The nine-finger-roll (riz-e-por)
The right hand bak is substituted with a meyaneh.
Now use pelangs (snaps) with the left ringfinger instead of baks.
Once you are familiar with this rhythm, you can extend it by adding variations. In this variation you add the roll (riz-e-por) in the 3rd bar.
The next rhythm is in 4/4. It is introduced step by step, starting simple and adding more and more notes:
and now we substitute the last ton: