In Search of 6/8 Rhythms

topic posted Fri, November 3, 2006 - 2:16 PM by  Anna
I'm having a difficult time finding examples of various 6/8 middle eastern rhythms.

More specifically...of the Moroccan variety....but any examples would be appreciated whether they be audio, links to websites, or some form of graphical notation.

Any info would be appreciated....
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  • Re: In Search of 6/8 Rhythms

    Sat, November 4, 2006 - 7:15 AM
    Another one I really like is a modern invention, accredited to Daveed Korup:

    Chaka (6/8)
    1st Drum: D_tktkT_tktkD_tkT_tkD_T_

    2nd Drum: D_tkD_tkDktkD_tkD_tkD_D_
    • my own arrangement of a Shabia rhythm from Algeria

      Sun, November 5, 2006 - 2:07 AM
      This is a traditional rhythm that I made some non-traditional arrangements in incorporating the traditional hand clapping that the women do
      in Algerian culture.

      Shabia can be spelled many ways but if we want to get really anal about it, we have to learn Arabic
      traditionally it would be played


      It was taught to me, originally, by the percussionist with Algerian dance/historian and national treasure Amel Tafsout who was her husband at the time, Salah Sidi Benn 'MM who played originally with 3 Mustaphas 3 and the German middleeastern fusion band Dissidenten.
      Just like Ngoma Bkonga from the Congo and Shish Hash from Persia/Iran, I have been told that the term Shabia refers generally to a whole family of rhythms that are 6/8 in nature in both Algeria and Morocco (though I'm no expert).
      When first learning Ngoma Bkonga from various Congolese drummers back in the late 70's we were perplexed that everytime we studied with someone different they would play a different 6/8 rhythm...................later we found out that the term means drums of the kongo and, indeed, refers to many variations of rhythms there (all of which, I believe, are 6/8 rhythms). As a trapset player in the 80's conscripted into playing with very lucrative gigs with Persian traditional wedding bands in the Sacramento area, I also learned the hardway about
      Shish Hash rhythms (again, not totally sure of the exact spelling) only to learn later that the term meant 6/8 and refered to a lot of different rhythms.

      Anyone with more knowledge than me on the subject please chime in and educate us, okay?


      The women do that beautiful northwest and west african hand claps where there palms form a little suction cup as the fingers hit flush with each other (unlike a traditional western handclap) which causes a piercingly high sound (one of my favorite percussion instruments)
      when done correctly.

      The would clap thusly

      _ _ X _ _ X _ _ X _ _ X

      Which is wonderful as it's one of the rare clapping tradtions on the planet that doesn't land on the downbeats. Flamenco, of course, has some of this style of clapping too, though the timbre and technque of the claps is different in tradtional Flamenco

      I loved the 'shuffled' nature of the clapping I incorporated it into the tradtional Shabia.

      Here's my version:


      D = Dum
      K = Ka
      X = finger snap on rim with left hand (as in Turkish darbukka technique)

      This also sounds beautiful if you use a jazz nylon brush in your left hand instead of a finger snap and is so close
      to a tradtional Southern Afro American rhythm that you can use it as a syncopated blues rhythm under almost anything 6/8.

      I also am in the habit of using the very thin tip to a fiberglass fly fishing rod (find them on sale cheap at Kmarts everywhere)
      and playing it like a rim shot (as in Tabla Beledi or Davul or Tupan technique) on the drum.
      • Great description of the North African (Shabia) hand clap. I was taught to clap this style from a Tunisian family. The Flamenco style, I hazard to guess, are where the finger tips are pulled apart just a tiny bit, for a more flat sound. I have an inquiry about this fly fishing brush you describe. Did you indicate you use this on a darbukka, laying it on it's side (the drum, that is) and playing with this brush and a drumstick? I have seen it used on a duval a few times, and would like to know of it's possibilities, Thanks...*
        • What I'm doing is using the very top 12" or so of a fly fishing rod
          in my left hand in traditional, cross lap, position, using one of the very large
          metal Turkish Darbukas that have timbrourine jingles inside of them.

          I play the drum with my right hand, tradtiionally using the fishing rod
          as a switch to either
          1) make the drum have a 'snare'
          2) whisp the drum for light unaccented strokes or
          3) rim shot the drum for a loud 'snaredrum-esque' crack

          In a non-traditional way, I am playing only constant 'dums' and then varying the timbre of the sound with the placement
          of the fishing rod across the head. When it barely touches it causes a 'fuzz box' kind of sound and when placed in the middle
          of the drum (and depending on how hard you can hit it) it has a much more thickly granulated distortion sound.

          Someone listening to is said it sounded like a dijeridu played through a variable distortion pedal.............I like that............<smile>

          The thickness of the rod, switch,stick (bamboo barbecue skewers work wonderfully as do metal barbecue skewers) completely
          changes the timbre of the dum.

          Additionally you can put just the very tip of the fly rod onto the center of the drum and hold it extremely loosely in your left
 playing a 'dum' sound, it will cause the fly rod to make multiple bounces.............with a little work you can
          start to control this 'buzz' roll's speed so that it becomes a musical rhythmic value (say, 4 32nd notes)

          I hope that helps, Nicole
  • Unsu...

    Re: In Search of 6/8 Rhythms

    Wed, November 8, 2006 - 9:39 AM
    Hey :)

    one of my fav's is:


    123 123
    12 12 12

    I'm playing it on Riq on one of the jam tracks on the Djinn CD....

  • Unsu...

    Re: In Search of 6/8 Rhythms

    Wed, November 8, 2006 - 1:33 PM
    Here's one I roughly transcribed from a field recording (probably made around 1973).

    Legend: s=slap, k=ka, d=doum, t=tek, uppercase letters are accents

    Part 1
    SkkSkkSkkSkk (12 count phrase with a six feel)
    Part 2
    DkT-tkDkT-tk (12 count phrase with a three feel)

    It's played moderate to fast. I included it in my new book and cd released in August.

    Have fun!

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