All About Arabic Instruments – Sala Muzik

All About Arabic Instruments

All About Arabic Instruments


Music has been around since the start of the history.  It has been an integral part of so many societies and cultures. There have been many mutual influences between music of different cultures. Arabic music was no exception. Ever since they came to the world, Arabs were interested in music. There have been dozens of Arabic instruments and Arabic artists ever since the start of the history.

arabic music instrument

Arab instruments can be categorized in 3 different types. Aeorophones, Chordophones and Percussion are main categories that are used to classify Arab instruments. These categories are also sub-categorized in themselves such as Flutes, which belongs to Aerophones. In this article, we are going to introduce you to the most prominent Arabic instruments throughout the history and talk about their importance over different cultures and society. 

What instruments are used in Arabic music?

There are dozens of different Arab instruments over the course of the Arabic history. Their musical history is divided into two parts, before and after the Islam. There are so little records about pre Islamic period for Arabs that it is almost impossible to talk about them. In contrast, after the introduction of Islam, Arabic Instruments have gained an immense popularity. There are dozens of various instruments that are recorded in the history of Arabs. Here are some of them:

Arabic Oud

Oud is one of the most well-known instruments in the Arabic Culture. It is a pear shaped chordophone instrument with strings. Arabic oud has been an integral part of their culture. There are different types of Arabic Ouds such as Syrian Oud and Iraqi Oud which belongs to these countries.. There are also different variations of oud in different cultures. Turkish oud and Persian Barbat are very similar to Arabic oud, yet there are still sharp differences between them such as their size. Oud is one of the most prominent Arabic instruments in the history.



Bendir is another historical Arabic instrument with deep roots. It is a percussion instrument with a wide drum. It has a snare across his head which helps with producing various notes. Over the years, Bendir has been one of the limitless musical instruments thanks to magical music it produces. From North Africa to Southwest Asia, Bendir has managed to become a popular Arabic instrument in different parts of the world.

For more about Bendir:


Daf, like many Arab Instruments in the history, has affected many cultures. It is an Arabic percussion instrument. Nowadays, Daf’s worldwide popularity still holds strong in comparison to other Arab instruments. It’s very common to come across different versions of the Daf in neighboring Cultures such as Turkey and Iran. Daf was also introduced to Spanish by Arabs which made it popular even in Europe.

daf arabic music instrument

What are the traditional Arabic instruments?

Music knows no limits or borders. There is only one condition required for a musical instrument to become famous in different cultures. They only need to produce quality music and any culture will accept them. Arab instruments produce such an extraordinary music that they have spread to many different cultures throughout the history. Arabic music influenced not only the neighboring cultures but also as far as Europe back in the medieval period. Here are some of the most famous traditional Arab instruments which have influenced various cultures:


One of the arabic instruments qanun has touched many cultures. It is a chardophone instrument with long strings on it. Qanun can be played either solo or with an orchestra. Qanun like many other Arabic instrument, have managed to gain a regional fame. It has become popular in Turkey, Greece, Iran, Armenia, and many other countries of the Middle East.

qanun arabic music instrument


One of the oldest musical instruments, Ney is almost 5000 year old. It is an aerophone instrument. Like many other instruments of the middle east region, Ney has been a part of many different cultures. The most prominent Ney models are Arabic Ney, Persian Ney, and Turk Ney. Ney is similar to a flute in shape. It has 6-7 holes depending on the country where it is produced. 

Features to look for in a professional quality ney; The reed is yellow in color and densely fibrous, not very thick or thin, and proportionally decreasing in node widths and lengths. What is thick or thin affects the deepest sound it can lower and the highest it can output.

You may also like: Turkish Musical Instruments



Another arabic instrument is the Santoor musical instrument. Santoor is the Persian dulcimer played with two light hammers (mezrâb) by striking the strings. Santoor's origin goes a long way back until the ancient Babylonian and neo-Assyrian eras. Santoor's contemporary versions are used in Iran, its neighboring countries, and Greece.

Santoor has a case made of walnut wood in the shape of a trapeze. The strings are fixed to the pins on both sides, you can tune santoor with the metal wrest-pins on the right. Santoor has a great melodic potential, 27 different notes can be played on this instrument.

The classic Persian santoor has 72 - 160 wires. But The Persian Santoor is about 90 cm wide at its broad end, 36 cm wide at its narrow end, and 6 cm deep. These wires are played with a small plectrum(zahme) made of wood. There are also piano-like pedestal types of santoor called ”Cimbalom”. In this way, both musical instruments and percussion instruments are called chordophones. The instrument, a Kitara genre, is formally similar to the qanun. Persian santoor occupies a material place in the traditional Persian orchestra, it also has a place in motrebi (music for entertainment) but never in folk music.

Overall, there are many more important Arabic Instruments in the history. If you are a fan of Arabic Music and want to find some quality Arabic Instruments, you are in the right place. Check out Sala to explore more top quality Arabic instruments!

Arabic Instruments

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