Instruments similar to the darbuka, of various shapes and sizes, were used by civilisations in Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Central Asia in ancient times. In later periods, these changed and developed, but continued to be used in the same areas.
The Darbuka has been known by different names at different times and in different places. These include: dumbek, dumbelek, deplek, deblek, donbek, tombek, darbeki and debulak. This percussion instrument was originally made using baked earth, although this increasingly gave way to such materials as copper, aluminium, various metal compounds, plaster, porcelai wood and glass fibres.
Generally speaking, the darbuka resembles a pipe with one narrow end and one wide one, and was formerly covered in leather, although synthetic materials are now preferred. The skin is passed over a hoop, and the instrument is tuned by stretching the skin with screws. The body carries various forms of decoration, and these change from region to region.