The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Rhythm: 4/4 The Beledi

The Beledi

We might as well start with the first rhythm that every doumbek player learns: Beledi.

It is also spelled Baladi, Beledy, Balady, etc…  Beledi, in some languages, means “country” or “folk”.   It is seen as a very basic rhythm, although it is incredibly common in not only belly dancing music, but also in current music.

Beledi is also a family of rhythms, all grouped together as they are played on the same beats, with the same groove, but different placement of the Doums and the Teks.  This group of rhythms is called the “Beledi Family”, and consists of Beledi, Maqsum, Saidi and Nawari.  (And, no doubt, some others.)

The Beledi is a simple 4/4 time beat, with strong Doums and good Teks for accents.   It is pretty easy to add ornamentation (read: faster, sharper notes in between the basic beats) to the Beledi and more importantly, it is very catchy when you listen to it.

Beledi (4/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

T

D

T

The key to the groove and sound of Beledi is to not hurry, and to have a good, deep Doum on the “1” and the “3”, and a clean, sharp Tek on the “4”.

It is a really simple beat, and easy to learn in about 20 minutes time.

Beledi is not only a great rhythm for dancers, with the distinctive double Doum off of the 1, but it is also a great practice exercise for learning to transition from Doum to Tek with your dominant hand.

I really believe you should practice the basic rhythm, with no ornamentation, until your tone is perfect, and you can play while counting it out, and while speaking it.

Literally, say “Doum Doum   Tek Doum  Tek” as you play.  It helps!

Practice until you can play the basic Beledi while holding a conversation, or listening to other music on the radio.

Once you get there then you should start thinking about ornamentation.

3 Responses to “Rhythm: 4/4 The Beledi”

  1. Nice site. Started learning tarbuka about a month ago. Any audio files to go with the basic rhythms?

  2. I like what you are doing.

    Two classical variations are DDkTDkT and DkDkTDkT (The 1st two doums stay on the 1&, with the Ka played on the “e”. As in 1 e & a …) Either can have a TekKa chain played on the 4&.

    I have heard it played as DDtkTdtkTtk but my Egyptian instructor says that is not an Arabic rhythm. It is Turkish and they don’t call it Beledi.

    • I know exactly what you mean.

      I have done my best to take instruction, and play with, drummers from as many countries and regions as possible.

      The vast majority are really great, and have very little ego. But some can certainly make the nomenclature about “Right” and “Wrong” and it seems to be fairly nationalistic. But I agree, you can play a “Beledi” in nine different countries, and have nine different drummers tell you, “That is not Beledi! THIS is Beledi!”, and then have them play you nine different variations on a 4/4 rhythm with a Doum on the 1, a Doum on the 3, and a Tek on the 4.

      *shrugs*

      This blog is western in nature, and I go with the most common name on things as much as possible…

      Thanks for reading! Hope you find it of some use!


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