The daouli

The daouli, taulin or taul’ in the Pontiac dialect, is a membranous musical instrument of Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern folk music. In the form in which we find it today, it has been known since Byzantine times. It is a very widespread musical instrument, and its importance can be seen in secular and religious events, from the many depictions in Byzantine and post-Byzantine era frescoes. Historical evidence confirms that it was a war instrument, which animated the warriors and created panic in the enemy. In combination with the zourna, it made the enemy be afraid and run away (Νταούλι, χ.η.)

It is made from chestnut wood and from goat and rarely from sheep skin, although tradition says that the best skin for making a daouli is the skin of a donkey, wolf and ox. Its size varies according to the physique of the organist. It consists of the rim, the 2 skins, the ropes and the belt, while the sound is produced when the organist hits the kopali and viza, which are made of wood (Η ιστορία του νταουλιού, χ.η.). The kopali is thick and about 40cm long, while the viza is about 50cm and thin, so that it bends to the impact and vibrations of the skin. The skin on the side struck by the kopali is thicker, so as to withstand strong blows, while on the side struck by the viza thinner (Η ιστορία του νταουλιού, χ.η.). Usually, the instrument player hangs the tambourine over his shoulder with a strap.

In Pontos the daouli accompanied the zourna, the tulumi and the lyra, usually in outdoor spaces, because of the intense sound it produces. It also accompanied the musical instruments at weddings and engagements. In Greece, after the establishment of the Pontians and for a long time it was not an accompanying instrument in the Pontian musical groups. But, in recent years, it gradually began to regain its position, mainly next to the tulumi and the lyra.

The photos are from the Erasmus+ project entitled “Patchwork dances vol.2” by the photographer Katarzyna Wywrocka.

Η ιστορία του νταουλιού. (χ.η.). Retrieved March 15, 2023 from
Νταούλι. (χ.η.). Retrieved March 15, 2023 from