Finger Cymbal Patterns for Beginners, continued
Video PLAYLIST of "how to play" Finger Cymbals Patterns for Beginners: YouTube.com/DanceEternal
Speaking of which, I received a great question from Marcia T. via YouTube recently about how various drum rhythms impact which cymbal patterns to use. I realize my bias is Egyptian so to me the “basic rhythm” for playing cymbals is the 4-beat rhythm we call “Beledi” (Masmoudi Seghir); and sometimes the “light beledi” Maqsun. However, in American belly dance, or even Greek and Turkish styles, there’s a wider variety of rhythms where playing cymbals is appropriate, so let’s delve into this topic a bit with the cymbal patterns we’ve already covered.
However, because of variables in music like tempo, melody, and feeling, it’s impossible to pin specific cymbal patterns to specific rhythms - we can’t say “always play this cymbal pattern with this drum rhythm”. So it makes more sense to be able to mentally break down your cymbal patterns like we did in the beginning of this article series, into the foundations of Singles, Doubles, etc. Then you can play what you feel matches the music at any particular moment - that means following the melody as well as the rhythm and tempo! But having said that, let’s go ahead and make a few wild generalizations anyway, just to get you started.
If your music is a medium-fast* 2/4 like Ayub, then simple Triples or Rolls fit - in terms of sound - better than a complex pattern like 3-3-7 or 2-2-5. Check Amazon’s mp3 downloads by rhythm name if you want to add a piece to your music collection. There are some songs that don’t seem to fit the melody they’re supposed to represent though, so I’ll mention a couple that you can trust.
For a song where the melody goes in 4-measure phrases (2+2+2+2 = total of 8 counts), a good example is “Muhabet” by Melissa and Carmine. You could play a simple, straight pattern like Doubles from count 1 to count 7. That would be the "Cymbals Strokes" in Figure 1 (below):
If the song’s melody goes in
2-measure phrases (2+2 = 4-counts total), you want to change
your cymbal pattern to match it. Try the 2-2-5 cymbal
pattern to Melissa and Carmine’s “Uskadara”. (Your 2-2-5
pattern covers 4 counts--2 measures of Ayub!)
But, in this song the
melody is also following a longer pattern over 4
sections, where the 4th one is very different - and the 4th
section is where you should change up your cymbal pattern to
follow it. So in other words, you could play your 2-2-5
pattern three times, then finish up the last section playing
Doubles (similar to Figure 1)!
Rhythm is a big subject isn’t it? I was going to include Chifti-telli here too but I think this is enough right now! We’ll delve into the beautiful chifti-telli rhythm in the next article.
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