The most favorite percussion instrument among the Uzbeks is doira. Doira is translated a “circle”. By type this musical instrument is like a tambourine. The instrument of doira is distributed in Central Asia, mainly in Uzbekistan. Uzbek doira consists of a round rib (rim) and a tightly stretched from one side of membrane with a diameter of 360-450 mm. The metal rings are fastened to the rib, the number of which now amounts to 60. Previously, the rib was made from fruit plants - dry grapevine, walnut or beech tree. Now it is made mainly of acacia. The membrane was formerly made from the skin of catfish, goat skin, sometimes the stomach of an animal, now the membrane is made of thick calfskin. Before playing doira it is heated in the sun, by a fire or lamp to increase the tension of the membrane. This contributes to the clarity and sonority of the sound. Metal hoops on the rib contribute to an increase in thermal conductivity when heated. The membrane is so strong that it is able to withstand jumps of a person and knife blow.
Initially, the Uzbek doira was a purely feminine instrument. The women were sitting and playing on doira, as well as Iranian women gathered and played on dafa. In the mountains of the Ferghana Valley, one can see a portrayal of a woman, dated 2000 BC. The woman plays doira accompanied by other women-dancers. Also a statue found by archaeologists dating to 2000 B.C. depicts a woman playing a tambourine, which is similar to doira.
Now the skill of playing doira has reached an unprecedented level. In the world such a master of doira as Abos Kasimov from Uzbekistan is well known. Make a travel to Uzbekistan and enjoy playing of Uzbek doira.
The sound is extracted by striking of four fingers of both hands (thumbs serve to support the instrument) and palms along the membrane. A blow in the middle of the membrane gives a low and dull sound, a blow near the rib gives a high and ringing sound. To the main sound the ringing of metal pendants joins. The difference in the sound is achieved due to different techniques of the play: finger and palm strokes of different strength, flicks of little fingers (nouhun), gliding of fingers along the membrane, shaking of the instrument, etc. The range of dynamic shades is from a gentle piano to a powerful forte. The technique of playing doira, developed for centuries, has reached high virtuosity. Uzbek doira is played (by lovers and professionals) solo, accompanying singing and dancing, as well as in ensembles. The doyra's repertoire consists of various rhythmic figures - usuls. In the hands of a virtuoso performing usul, doira can produce gentle sounds resembling a rustle of the wind, or a loud drumbeat, like a spring thunder.
Uzbek Doira is also used in the performance of makoms, mugams. In modern times, doira is often a part of folk, and sometimes symphonic orchestras.
The instrument doira is also known as dap and childirma.