The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Rhythm: 8/4 The Shifitelli

The Shiftitelli is a very open rhythm, with a lot of different interpretations as to how to ornament it, or even when to play it.   No one can even agree on how to spell it. I have seen Chiftitelli, Ciftitelli, Chiftetelli, Chifatelli, Chifftatelli, Chifititelli, Tsifteteli or Shiftaatellii all used.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of research and instruction available about the Shiftitelli.   The hard part is finding it all.

It is one of the very basic beats, and very easy to play in its simple form.

Traditionally Shiftitelli is used as a wedding song in some cultures.  It is meant to be a slow, deliberate beat.  Belly dancers like this because it allows them time to make slow, sensuous movements, and move about the stage with the challenging, playful strut that really gets an audiences attention.  Also, more drummers have dropped their drums during Shifitelli than all other rhythms combined.   A little known stat, but I am sure it must be true.

The Shiftitelli (8/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count (First Half)

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

T

T

Simple Count (Second Half)

5

&

6

&

7

&

8

&

D

D

T

Learn the Shiftitelli as a simple count first.   Practice until you can play it while speaking it, or counting.

Literally, say, “Doum         Tek      Tek     Doum   Doum  Tek”.   It helps!

Being able to play a consistent, slow, steady Shiftitelli for any duration at all is sure sign of a strong drummer.  It is a good test of patience, concentration, and stamina.  Practice until you can play the basic Shiftitelli while holding a conversation, or listening to other music on the radio.

Once you get there then you should start thinking about ornamentation, and here is an example.

The Shiftitelli (8/4)

Ornamentation 1

(First Half)

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

K

T

K

T

(Second Half)

5

&

6

&

7

&

8

&

D

D

T

T

K

One Response to “Rhythm: 8/4 The Shifitelli”

  1. Love your notations and beat drills.


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