Arab Instruments Forum

Doumbek / Darbuka => Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons => Topic started by: bsfloyd on January 05, 2019, 03:51:17 PM

Title: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 05, 2019, 03:51:17 PM
Hello everyone!!  So, being very new in my darbuka journey, I have solely been working on getting a solid Doum, Tek, and ka.  I haven’t really been following any classic rhythms, just creating my own slowly and focusing on my tonal output.  Now, much more comfortable with my timbre, it is time to move forward.

I am looking for advice on a practice regimen and I think I have two theories.  I am thinking of starting out with three classic rhythms - however I am wondering if it would be best to start with three rhythms of one time signature (be it 2/4, 4/4, 6/8, etc.), or start with a mix of three.  I am feeling the latter, perhaps the most three commonly used rhythms and build from there once those three are glued in my muscle memory, and then add an additional rhythm each time to keep moving forward.   However, I wanted to get some insight from the much more experienced players here on what you all found to work best for you in your learnings.

Much appreciated for any advice!!
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 08, 2019, 04:25:14 AM
After about five years of  struggle I may tell you that you cannot avoid all this Maqsoum/Baladi stuff. - You can find it through the genres and it seems to me even that should be THE starter pack for all drumming children in eastern world.

Note the basics:

|DT-TD-T-| called "Maqsoum (" (مقسوم literally "Divided") is the Arabian Funk.
|DD-TD-T-| commonly known as "Baladi (" (بلدي "Balad" means "Countryside" or "Homeland"), but actually this pattern belongs to the "Masmoudi saghir" (مصمودي صغير "Small from Masmouda", what is a place in Morocco, between Tanger and Fez - often you find a pattern called after a town or region)

Those patterns are all 4/4 and you may find a lot of related styles, i.e.:

|DT-DD-T-| Saidi ( (صعيدي from Port Said)
|TD-TD-T-| Katakufti ( (كتاكفتي - I have no idea) what is a typical base for Dabke dances.

You may find all it's the same rhythms, but those styles differ in melody, speed and accordingly in variations, ornamentations and fills too. - There is a wide range of interpretations within, so I cannot explain it to the end. All depends of that guys you may find to play with...
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 08, 2019, 04:44:28 AM
For some good instructions to start on:
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 08, 2019, 04:24:38 PM
Hello dHuGo - thank you for the links!  I added the Iqa’ index to my bookmarks (I have very many so far:)).  These will be very handy.  I think we need to edit and add more content to that Wiki page.  I tend to always check Wiki when researching any kind of information.  When I checked this Wiki page I was a bit let down by the lack of content.  I think the right people could really do wonders for this page.

So yes, I wondered about that overlap in similarities between the various rhythms and was curious.  I did not take into consideration the actual music being played to the rhythms.  And now I see, just as in pop music, the same rhythm or drum beat carries over to different styles of pop music.  Certainly why not middle eastern music as well.  I’m curious, is there ever a time when the rhythms Maqsum and Beledi would be played in the same sitting?  Alternating the Doums and Teks?

Yes, Karol’s videos were the very first I came across when I first got my darbuka!  I learned my basic tones and starting techniques from them.  I am certainly going to watch his advanced videos when I feel I am ready.  I know I need to learn how to walk before I can run ;)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 09, 2019, 08:15:12 AM
 :) ;)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 09, 2019, 04:14:38 PM
I very much enjoyed watching and listening to this - thanks for sharing!  It was nice to hear and detect familiar rhythm in the performance :)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 11, 2019, 04:51:19 AM
So are you saying that different rhythm patterns will never be played in the same tune, even if they are the same time signature?  I used the example of Beledi and Maqsum because they are so similar.
But you have your answer here in the video, listen:
At start there's something with three heavy Doums 6 times, then you have a change in temp and it's 8 times Maqsum changing to a slower Baladi which is framing the solo part...

(... and I found something unexpected I wonder you might hear it too ...)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 12, 2019, 07:12:00 AM
Ah yes, I hear this now!!  You encouraged me to stop and really listen and I am grateful for that.  Actually, now that I listen I here a quite complex arrangement - yes, as you stated I hear after the “intro” (we’ll call it that) the fast Maqsum and then the slow Beledi.  But after that I hear the slow Beledi turn into a slow Maqsum.

Then after a dancer’s break I am hearing a rhythm I don’t know the name of at about the 2:07 mark - it goes: 
I need to know the name of this rhythm (4 beat Malfouf ??)

Then at about the 2:27 mark I am hearing a Saiidi, which at times alternates with the above rhythm I noted above until the end of the performance - which at this point alternates with two Doums sometimes in the middle.

So yes, I find this arrangement to be pretty complex!  Also, very nice to listen to and watch.  It is very helpful to here the Duff (?) players holding just the main rhythm skeletons which in end really drives the music and keeps it all glued together.  That player’s role, while remaining the simplest, just may be the most important.  I’m thinking maybe I need to invest in a dohola ;) :D

Did I get close on my findings?  I am curious now - lol!!

(Edit - the above rhythm diagram isn’t quite lining up after posting, sorry)
(All in line now - Mod.)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 17, 2019, 11:37:43 AM
Hello, again,
Let’s try to come to a point with the video stuff and then have the mind free for new ideas.

…and you’re right! – It’s Saidi in the performance.

The clue is – it isn’t present in the original tune. So we have both: a regular change from Maqsoum to Baladi and an irregular change from Baladi to Saidi too. A great illustration for the stuff we started with here in this topic!!! – That’s what I’d like to show you…

That’s enough for now. You may see in the clip, the performance was at a wedding day. You can find the couple right in the picture at mark 1:55. The video is named to be an improvisation.
I guess someone of the guests asked the musicians to play the widely known tune – and they did it.
In those bands it is normal to have some new stuff on the least drum –with instruction to play the base only for training. That newbie failed once being confused whether the double Doum in Baladi occurs - but when – fromt or middle…?!. – (Saidi is often used for bellydance, and comes a bit various and tricky.)
You can hear (and see) the man failing first time at 0:45s. Only due to the great professionalism, I hope so, the whole ensemble follows and plays Saidi with a taste of Baladi like one man. It’s life - really, I like it!

Let’s stop with that now. (I will come back on this stuff in the “Semantics” topic.)

Better look here this:
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 21, 2019, 06:00:19 PM
Aha!  I never thought of a newbie mistakes - that would be me trying to play with a group right now  :D. But I do see exactly where you pointed them out.

Thanks for sharing the new video, I enjoyed listening to it!  A nice blend of Spanish in there.  So, I don’t know if this was the intention but I had to try to find the rhythms used.  The first rhythm at 1:30 threw me at first but then I came up with Hacha.  I’ve never played this rhythm yet but I really like it a lot!  I am going to play this one next time I am practicing.  Then at 2:00 I hear it transition into what sounds and feels like a Walking Maqsum.  It blended nicely.  At 2:30 I hear a very tasteful Ayoub.  Then at 3:00 I hear Malfouf.  At about 4:50-ish I hear Karachi.  The blends of the 2/4 rhythms above are quite seamless and unless listening closely might be missed.  Then towards the end I hear a bounce back and forth between Karachi and Malfouf.  A very nice rhythm arrangement to my still learning ears, and the solo towards the end was a great surprise!!
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 22, 2019, 07:29:38 PM
WOW - you surprised me - you really did your lesson!

... and now, listen it again:
.... a caballo, a caballo, a caballo, a caballo ...

Something common.?!
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 23, 2019, 04:51:26 PM
Ha ha - my Spanish is not very good at all so I had to look it up - a caballo=“on horseback”.... (ok, that cant be it).  Next definition is “halfway” or “in between”.  Ah, this makes more sense.  I’m thinking you are referring to a mix between two rhythms.  This is what I thought I was hearing towards the end but I thought this was a no-no in traditional music.  Then again, this is a fusion of two different styles so why not fuse rhythms as well ;)
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 24, 2019, 04:55:51 AM
...aaah,  I see ... you're not familiar with latin rhythms...

| a -  - cabal - lo - | a - - cabal - lo - |

We play

|Slap - - slapSlap - Tone - |

on Congas or Bongos

... and now Karachi:


This pattern came from Andalusia with conquistadors.

And it is common in African rhythms too. - Cuban rhythm Conga uses the pattern, but changes the sounds.

... and now Ayoub:


I'd bet a million, that you just know those patterns ... and some related variations and fills. - Adapt those stuff for your new drum. It increases your repertoire up to 1001%!!!

 ;) ;D

I actually learned a lot adapting Conga stuff for Darbuka (as technical exercises). It helped me to do nice sounds and be fluent while increasing the speed.
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 27, 2019, 06:18:48 AM
Aaaah... I understand what you were meaning now.  You are correct, I know absolutely very little in regards to Latin rhythms - which is a shame really because so many wonderful and moving rhythms are found in such.  Perhaps I should expand my knowledge.  As you know, it wasn’t until just very recently did I discover the wonderful world or Arabic rhythms!

However, your references are very good ones.  These world rhythms are so wide spread, and not just in world music.  Just the other day I was listening to a local rock and roll station and I immediately identified Ayoub being played on the drummer’s kit.  I don’t remember the song off the top of my head right now, but it was a common beat used in several other rock songs.  Before I started my darbuka journey, I would not have the knowledge to recognize it as such and just keep thinking it is an American drum kit beat.  To further on this, of course the rhythm should be world wide spread - after all, rhythms are basically a form of math and technically are pretty much all divided the same.  I believe what sets them apart from different areas of the world is the styling and voicing of how they are played.

On slightly another note, I remember you saying that you have a “New Generation” drum.  What sets this instrument apart from a standard darbuka/doumbek?  I feel I have been advancing well in my skills and would like to upgrade to a nicer drum.  Sadly I cannot afford a quality clay instrument, but would still like to get into a nicer aluminum instrument over my plastic one.  Thanks!

Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 29, 2019, 02:12:17 PM
I see - you're progressing...

Let me answer the hardware question in your "Newbie" topic - we have already some related stuff there.

Here I'd continue with some ideas on how to transfer your skills from drumset to Darbuka:
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: dHuGo on January 29, 2019, 02:37:42 PM
I choose that video to show you three different positions you can hold your drum:

All these positions are with its own playing technique, but it should be same (or similar) sounds, when you are using same drum.

This might be a powerful setting for some experiments with sounds.
Title: Re: Training / Practice plan
Post by: bsfloyd on January 30, 2019, 05:18:08 PM
Thank you for the video post!!  Hey, another Toca drum player :).  I remember reading about his venture with Toca drums and his signature models, but I never looked into them very seriously.  It looks like they too are plastic like the one I have.

In regards to the playing styles - I’ve read about the between the knees style but this is the first I’ve seen it.  Very much like djembe playing style.  I would think that maybe dohola drum might suit this style well.  On the stand opens up very many different playing possibilities.  His example proves that well.

I’ve seen some players play on the leg traditional style, but in a standing position with the drum holding leg resting up on a chair or bench.  I do this at times when walking by my drum just for a quickie rhythm.  Balance is a bit tricky at first, but then you get it well enough.  I’ve also seen some players using a strap and standing while playing.  This looks interesting to me and something I may try one day.

Ok,.... off to the newbie thread soon....