The music of Belly Dance is a rich tapestry of rhythms from many cultures. Belly Dance rhythms come from many countries—not only from the Near- and Middle-East, but from as far away as central Africa, India, Bali, and even Latin America. Today’s trend is to “mix it up,” fusing rhythms and musical flavors from many cultures to lend excitement and originality to a dance performance. This fusion trend is also evident in dance styles, blending moves from many ethnic dances, necessitating the need for unique musical combinations.
The Rhythm Pages include descriptions of rhythms used in modern Belly Dance—from common to eclectic. Naming conventions for the clips follow this formula:
Rhythm name_[variation or instrument]_complexity/tempo
An example is:
…in which the rhythm is a Persian 6/8 known as Shish-Hasht played with the Darieh at a tempo of 100 beats per minute. “2x-complex” refers to a double-complex rhythm structure (other structures are basic and complex).
Most rhythms are generated with an electronic (MIDI VSTi) darbouka (doumbek), but some rhythms also include a version played with the bendir (small frame drum) or Darieh (darh-ee-AY—Persian frame drum with metallic jingles). Though the Darieh is appropriate for the collection of 6/8 rhythms on Page 3 (Group V), some clips include the instrument for enjoyment; that is, those rhythms are not typically performed with the Darieh, but are included for fun.
You may access the Rhythm Pages from the Menu or from these links:
RHYTHM PAGE 1
Group I: Maksoum, Baladi, Sa’idi, Masmoudi
Group II: Ayoub, Khaliji, Fallahi, Karachi, Africani, Adani
RHYTHM PAGE 2
Group III: Hajah, Bayou1, Bayou2, Fox, Jaark
Group IV: Bambi, Chobiyah
RHYTHM PAGE 3
Group V: Vals, Yuruk Daraj, Shish-Hasht, Kurdish 6/8
Group VI: Karshlamá, Samai’i Aqsaq
RHYTHM PAGE 4
Group VII: Dawr Hindi, Laz (Kalamatiano)
Group VIII: Jurjuna, Samai’i Tawashi, Aaraj
RHYTHM PAGE 5
Group IX: Zaar, Malfouf, Rasba
Group X: Wahda-Nous, Chiftetelli
RHYTHM PAGE 6
Group XI: Rhumba, Bolero (Ravelian)
Mastering Belly Dance Rhythms DVD—all the rhythms in animated graphics (CGI) timed frame-to-music for a total understanding of rhythm structure.
Sample Video Clip from the DVD: Maksoum rhythm
Belly Dance Rhythm Resource book by ethnomusicologist Richard Adrian Steiger. Includes most of the rhythms discussed on these pages with lots of background on structure, history, and origins.
Zills on Fire finger-cymbal training CD by Lily Splane. Comes with 22-page instructional booklet.
CyberBelly music CD. Perfect for the American belly-dance student who needs beautiful music to practice to without the challenge of unfamiliar ethnic instrumentation!