DOZĀLA,kind of flute consisting of two parallel pipes pierced with holes and fitted with a removable vibrating mouthpiece made by cutting a U-shaped incision into a thin reed. The principle of this instrument is used in different forms in the Mediterranean and western Islamic world (in instruments like the mezmār, motbej, mejwez, and čefta, Turk. çifte) and as far east as Central Asia (as in the qošney). It is attested from as early as the New Kingdom in Egypt (Hickmann, p. 121). The principle of the dozāla flute was described by Farābī (p. 272) in the 10th century but not in its doubled form. On the other hand, it is not mentioned in later works and is never represented in miniatures.

In Persia today the dozāla (sometimes called zammāra, qošma, or joft ney) is played in Khorasan, Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan. Most examples are made of reeds, but the Kurdish examples are made of eagle bone set in wax, each pierced with six holes; they are 16-17 cm long without the vibrating reed, which is 5 cm long. The dozāla is played according to the principle of circular breathing, which produces an uninterrupted sound. It is used only in popular music, except in the Tajik-Uzbek tradition, in which the technique of playing it has been refined to the needs of art music.

For a music sample, see Raqs: Dozale va Tombak.


J. During, “Dozāle,” in S. Sadie, ed., The New Grove’s Dictionary of Musical Instruments, London, 1984, s.v.

Idem, “Mezmār,” in S. Sadie, ed., The New Grove’s Dictionary of Musical Instruments, London, 1984, s.v.

Farābī, Ketāb al-mūsīqī al-kabīr, tr. R. d’Erlanger as La musiqe arabe I, Paris, 1930.

H. Hickmann, Ägypten,Musikgeschichte in Bildern 2/1, Leipzig, 1961.

(Jean During)

Originally Published: December 15, 1995

Last Updated: November 29, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 5, p. 526