Finger Cymbal Patterns for Beginners, continued
Video PLAYLIST how-to play Finger Cymbals for Beginners
by Anthea (Kawakib)
Finger Cymbals - Beledi
Thanks to one of my intuitive students, Alesha, we’re going to quickly cover the one and only, world famous bellydance pattern of ...Beledi! How could we skip that one? In our cymbal pattern exploration we off on a couple of tangents, that’s creativity for you!
Remember to review the basic patterns if you are new to playing finger cymbals (see my previous articles), and you can watch them on my youtube channel (youtube.com/DanceEternal).
As you may know, beledi (meaning “country”) is our nickname for the Egyptian rhythm of Masmoudi Seghir (“Small Masmoudi”). The finger cymbal pattern is played very much like the drum rhythm, and that’s why learning a little bit of drumming - Middle Eastern style, not African - is so helpful to bellydancers. This cymbal pattern is also quite similar to the Triples pattern you learned before; with just a couple of changes inside the rhythm.
But, what’s very easy about this rhythm is that your dominant hand (H) will play almost constantly, and only “drop in” the non-dominant (h) hand a couple of times. It sounds much more complicated than it really is.
The Beledi pattern is related to another pattern, the 3-1-3-1-3. You can learn both of these right now! Here’s the graphic breakdown, below:
In the Beledi diagram above, see how the dominant hand is playing on 1 + 2 + 3 + 4?
Also, see how the numbers 1 2 3 4 in BOTH patterns line up one underneath the other? That shows you that the only difference in these two patterns is that the 3-1-3-1-3 has an “+ a” before the start of what’s simply the Beledi pattern. In drumming we call that “and a” the Arabic Chain: the chain that hooks two rhythms together.
Playing with ACCENTS
However, you can REALLY make this Beledi pattern come to life if you ACCENT the Beledi accents: use Both hands at the same time (and hit them slightly harder). That will give it a much different feeling than the straight 3-1-3-1-3. Here’s what I mean, using Both hands (B) on the accents of the rhythm in the diagram below:
Musicality... that indefinable quality
All of the patterns I've been writing about in these articles work well together, that is, within the same piece of music. As you get experience by playing to different pieces of music you’ll develop an ear for knowing WHICH pattern to play WHEN. It’s something you subjectively judge from how the music’s melody and percussion are working together. Playing cymbals means you are part of the band, so to speak! You’re an “accompanist” as well as a dancer. No wonder bellydance is such an impressive art!
If you’re not so musically inclined, or don’t know how to listen to music, find a teacher you trust to work with on developing musicality - that will not only help with your finger cymbals, it’ll also help your dancing so much!