Ever Heard of a Doumbek?

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A doumbek is the goblet drum that’s one of the most popular instruments in Middle Eastern drumming. Understanding the history and rhythms of this music can help you become a better dancer.

The Doumbek in Middle Eastern Drumming

Did you ever imagine that becoming familiar with a doumbek could ever improve your ability as a Middle Eastern dancer? Well, it can. Plus, learning how to play is a lot of fun. Despite the simplicity of it and all other instruments involved in Middle Eastern music, these drums attain a truly refined complexity.

A doumbek is also known as a darbukam and it’s traditionally made out of clay or wood and covered with goat or fish skin. This instrument started gaining popularity in the middle of the 20th century.

There are two major styles of doumbeks. The Egyptian style has a rounded edge on the the head which makes for a forgiving playing surface. The Turkish style has a sharp edge which makes it easier to utilize some advanced playing techniques because the playing surface is more accessible.

Source: The Drum Doctor

Popular Middle Eastern Rhythms

The Doumbek in Middle Eastern MusicMiddle Eastern music is made of various elements: rhythm, improvisation, ornamentation, and call and response. There are also several rhythms within the style

  • Baladi: developed from traditional Egyptian music styles in the early 20th century.
  • Masmoudi: This is a more common rhythm. It gives the impression of rushing forward.
  • Malfouf: This fast and exciting rhythm is most commonly used at the start of a routine when the dancers enter the stage.
  • Chiftitelli: Born from Turkish rhythms. It’s generally used for rounded and sensuous movements.

Our Middle Eastern Drumming classes cover the basics of Arabic drumming. You’ll learn how to play basic sounds on the doumbek and drill specific rhythms to continuously improve in speed and sound quality. There’s a lot more to learn about this art. Come join our Middle Eastern Drumming classes today!