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Middle Eastern Rhythms, Drum & Instruments

I have been dancing for a long time and really didn't get the feel of the music until I learned how to play the Middle Eastern rhythms on the dombec.  Once I understood the various rhythms of the music I became a much better dancer.  I learned how to phrase and understand the music that I was performing to.  If you have a chance to learn to play the dombec, tambourine, def, etc. do it.  This will help your dancing tremendously.  Plus it is a lot of fun.  By learning the rhythms of the music it will also improve your zill playing.  Next time you see a workshop that offers drumming, go ahead sign up and start exploring the wonderful world of rhythm.

What you will find on this page are links to learning the dombec and other Middle Eastern instruments, the rhythms of Middle Eastern music, articles about drumming, vendors who sell Middle Eastern instruments, instructional videos, drum & Middle Eastern musical instrument websites and drum webrings.  Happy drumming.

Learning the dombec

Fingers of Fury - online drumming school will give you everything you need to learn the Darbuka/Doumbek and Frame drum.' Here you will find over 100 tutorial videos for Darbuka! Often called Derbouka, Darbouka, Doumbek or the Belly Dance drum. Play along with backing tracks, meet people in the forum, study from the e-book, catch the new webcam update videos and learn from one of the most passionate drummers you will ever meet! Take a look at what members can access!

Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ (rhythms for middle eastern dance for dumbek, dumbec, doumbec, doumbek, Arabic tabla, darabuka, tombak, zarb ...) - awesome web site, contains a lot of information and MIDI sound files.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Doumbek Rhythms - website by Mas'ud al-Sha'ir.  Great page.

Rhythm Web: the doumbek page - very informative page the doumbek.

Riq Lessons from Randy Gloss! - from Rhythm Web


Rhythms of Middle Eastern Music 

Kesslari's Advanced Doumbek Rhythms - contains six rhythms.

Music - learn about various Middle Eastern instruments.  The history, rhythms and care of the Tabla, zills, riqs, defs, oud and more.  - from Middle Eastern Dance page

Rhythm Guide - covers 10 rhythms and has sound files so you can hear how the rhythm should sound

Riq Patterns & Riffs - page has written notation and glossary of terms


Articles About Drumming, Music and Rhythm

Basic Rhythms for Cabaret Belly Dance Routine - by Mary Ellen Donald

Caring for your Tabla - short list of helpful hints about your drum

A Drummer's Advice to Beginning Dancer's - by Kirk Templeton

Drumming for Dancers and Dancing for Drummer's - by Frank Lazzaro

Middle Eastern Drum History - from Ja's website

The Percussion Virtuosity of Souhail Kaspar - by Karl Sprowl

A Review of Music and Rhythm: (from a belly dancer's point of view) - by Roxann (Ann Sabin)  This paper is organized into two sections. The first section is a very basic introduction to music and notation, and has a general application. The second section applies the first section's vocabulary and knowledge to middle eastern rhythms heard in belly dancing music.

Rhythms and Reason Series - by Mary Ellen Donald

Understanding Middle Eastern Rhythms - by Frank Lazzaro


Vendors of Middle Eastern Instruments

Burnt Earth - contains audio files so you can hear how the drums sound

Full Circle Drums - is a renowned maker of ceramic doumbeks. Their hand-made drums are created in Santa Barbara, California, and are distributed worldwide.

Lark in the Morning - large selection of doumbeks

Mid-East Manufacturing - the ethnic musical instrument company

Rhythm Fusion: Hand Drums, Musical Percussion Instruments and Sound Makers from Around the World


Instructional Videos & CD's

Arabic Percussion with Faisal Zedan:
Derbakki Fundamentals
- This Derbakki Fundamentals instructional DVD is rich with essential technique, designed for the professional percussionist or hobbyist who wishes to progress rapidly with the Derbakki (Doumbek, Darabouka, Darbuka)

Jonathan Kessler (The Dombek Video) -  has been playing music professionally since the age of 15, and has been performing M iddle Eastern music since 1981. He has performed with many of the world’s greatest Arabic, Turkish, and Armenian musicians, and is in demand to play for Middle Eastern dancers throughout the United States. He has taught Doumbek drumming for the University of California Santa Barbara’s Middle East Ensemble as well as in classes and workshops.

Uncle Mafufo - Armando, (Uncle Mafufo), is a master of shading and textures on the dumbek. He is a melodic drummer and enjoys playing the powerful tabl beledi and an assortment of Middle Eastern frame drums. He is also a renowned teacher on these instruments.


Middle Eastern Drum & Musical Instruments Websites

Frank Lazzaro
Mary Ellen Donald
Nikos Dimitriadis
Vince Delgado


Drum Webrings 
(note: these drum webrings include all types of drum information)

Drum Makers - webring for makers of drums
Drumming -
The Drumming webring features sites by drummers, sites that are prominent in percussion music, and sites that offer drums and drumkits for sale and related instruction and accessories.
Drumming Circles - This web is dedicated to anyone who has a web page about drumming circles. Sites must be about public drumming circles and not just about drums and drumming.


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What's Happening!
25th Annual Swap Meet

January 19, 2019

Women's Club of Mesa
200 N. MacDonald, Mesa, AZ.

Enjoy a day of shopping, workshops, networking with other dancers, festival dancing, scavenger hunt, having fun plus an evening show.  

Workshops with Carrie Konyha, Chelsea Stone, Krisenna and Yasmina

Registration for workshops and vending spots are now open.


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Last Updated: 10/01/18