Modern Tombak (Zarb) Compositions: A Comparative Study

  • Author / Creator
    Johnson, Kevin
  • The early 20th century marks the beginning of an important new period in the history of the tombak, the main percussion instrument in Iranian Classical Music. This period is referred to as the ‘modern era’ of tombak. It is characterized by the development of Western based music notation for the tombak, the tombak’s rise in social status, and its increase in musical importance. The objective of this study is to better understand the new role and repertoire of the tombak in this era, fixed by notation and situated in the foreground of the concert stage. The research method centers on a close examination of compositions for tombak duet. Such works, composed starting around the middle of the 20th century, comprise an important representation of the modern tombak era. At the core of this thesis is the structural analysis of seven tombak duets, composed by four masters. The focus of the analyses is to determine the compositional approaches and techniques used to create these pieces. By identifying key compositional techniques, this analysis will shed light on the tombak’s new musical role in the modern era. Supplemental material containing audio files related to this thesis are available at

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Frishkopf, Michael (Music)
    • Byl, Julia (Music)
    • Moshaver, Myriam (Music)