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Middle Eastern Rhythms

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Middle Eastern Rhythms

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Middle eastern Rhythms

Basic Doumbek Notation

Doum (D) – Right hand, clear low tone (from the center) 
Tek (t) & Ka (k) – Right & Left hand, crisp high tone (sharply striking the edge of the head) 

Although Tek and Ka can be played with either hand, Tek is usually played with the dominant hand since it is more often accented (played louder and in capitals below). The above key is reversed if you’re left-handed.

Common Middle-eastern Rhythms

The following rhythms have many correct names and variations. Here, I’ve provided some of the more common ones. After learning a basic rhythm, experiment with your own subtle variations and embellishments; then you can switch between these at-will while playing with others! 

Audio samples created by Jas' Rhythm Generator

Beledi [4/4] – (Here with optional connector) 
1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a
D D tkt D tkt tk
Maqsum [4/4] – Means "cut in half" 
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D t t D t
Ayyub (aka Camel) [2/4] – Very versatile and high energy! 
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D kD t
DktkDktk
Gawazi [4/4] - a popular local creation
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D tkD D tkt tktk
Masmudi [8/4] 
1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a5e+a6e+a7e+a8e+a
D D tktkt D tkTkT tkTkT tk
D D D t t D tkTkT tkTkT tk
D t k D tktkD tktktkD D T
Chifteteli [8/4] – Best played slow 
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D t t D t D D t
D tkt t tkD t tkD D t
Kashlimah [9/8] 
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+
D t D T T T
D tkt tkD tkT T T
Dawr Hindi [7/8] 
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+
D tktkD tkt tk
Serto [2/4] 
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D kD ktkD kT ktk
Malfouf [4/8] – A trance rhythm. Whoa! 
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DkkDkkDk
DkkDkkTk
Chaka [6/4] – A countdown from five… 
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D tktkt tktkD tkt tkD t
D tktkT T tkD tkT T D t
Turkish Five [5/4] 
1+2+3+4+5+
D k t k t
Fifteen Eighths [15/8] 
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+A+B+C+D+E+F+
D k k D k k D k k D k D k D k
(An Eleven) [11/8] – A countdown  
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+A+B+C+
D tktktkT tktkT tkT tkT
Bolero [4/4] 
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D tkT k t k t k
Julianna's Jam (Joshua's Bender) [16/8] - a local creation 
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+A+B+C+D+E+F+G+
D tkt tk k kD tk k kt Tk kD tkD
Samai [10/8] - Filled with lots of finger rolls
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D tkt k t k T tkt k D D T tkt k t k