The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Technique: Doum and Tek

Doum

Doum is shown on my rhythm notations as “D”.

Doum is the most important tone for doumbek players.  It forms the recognizable base for nearly all middle eastern beats.

Doum is played to the middle of the drum head with your dominant hand.  Keep your fingers flat and extended, and your hand slightly cupped.   With your fingers together strike the drum head, letting your hand bounce off naturally.   You don’t need to hit hard, just make sure your fingers are together, and your hand is cupped and relaxed.  The tone should be a deep DOUM sound, with a little reverberation and sustain.

Tek

Tek is shown on my rhythm notations as “T”.

Tek is a very important tone for doumbek players adding a high tone to compliment the low tone of the Doum.  It is used variously as an accent tone, or rhythmic tone, depending on the beat.

Tek is played on the outer edge of the drum, right where the drum head meets the rim, with your dominant hand.  Keep your fingers flat and extended.  You strike with the pads of your middle and ring fingers, just above the first knuckle.  Try to raise your index and little finger out of the way, so that they do not hit the drum.  Strike cleanly, with a bit of a whipping motion from the wrist.  The motion is very similar to turning a doorknob, strange as that might be to imagine.  The sound is a sharp, snapping TEK, with no sustain at all.  Do not strike too hard, as it can hurt.   Be patient and develop your hand strength and stamina before you start treating your fingers as if they were drumsticks.

As always, there are a ton of video clips out there, so by all means, type “Doum” and “Tek” into your favorite video search engine and get a visual of what I am describing.

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