Damphu

Name: Damphu.
Type: Frame > Drum > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.311
Country: Nepal.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The damphu [in Nepali: डम्फु damphu] it is a percussion instrument similar to a large tambourine with out the addition of any rings. This instrument is used by the Tamang people to play the Tamang Selo and mythical narratives [hvāi] as well as dances. Similar to the the dah of the Newari people and the daph in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the Arabic daff.

Legend: According to folklore Damphu was invented by Peng Dorje a Tamang King and named it after Nepal’s national bird the Daphne bird. The damphu and tungna are the main instruments of the Tamang people and these two instruments are said to be the ‘nail and flesh’ on a finger.

Construction: The frame of the damphu is carved from a single piece of wood. The membrane being of python or animal skin is stretched over the frame. In which the membrane is stretched by wooden pegs holding it in place. The tuning pegs also increase or decrease the tension of the instrument.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music, Mierrelle Helfer, Page 540 Dammam ; Websites:

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