The tambourin of the Arabic world. It has 10 pairs of jingles in 2 rows around the frame. The skin is usually fish-skin, but also different kinds of animal skins and synthetic skin are used. It is played with a very elaborated technique where the fingers hit the skin and also the jingles.
watch the beginning chapter from instructional DVD “Worldpercussion 2 – Riq and Darbuka”
Holding the Riq is a little tricky in the beginning. You open your left hand and place the instrument between your thumb and index finger. The thumb is placed on the back of one jingle pair and the index finger holds the drum at the edge of the skin. It is not a question of force but of balance. When you play, tilt the drum a little away from yourself to keep the jingles as quiet as possible.
For the bass sound you use your right index finger and hit the skin at the side so that 2/3 of the finger hit the skin.
This stroke is done with the ring finger. You hit the skin at the very edge of the drumhead.
This is what we know from other drums as slap. You hit the skin with all four fingertips in the midle of the drum.
The jingles are mostly played with the left and right ringfingers.
It is also possible to produce a lot of different sounds by using different techniques of shaking and you can play different rolls using more fingers, most commonly the right index-, middle- and ringfinger.
The Riq – soft position
This position is used to play more softly than in the standard position. For holding the instrument you form a “U” with both hands and place the instruments between the thumbs and index fingers of both hands without grapping.
The bass stroke is done with the right ringfinger. The movement comes mostly from the wrist and the finger bounces off immediately.
This one is a little tricky. In this position “Tak” is not an open sound, but closed. To make the sound closed, you put both index fingers on the skin and press just a little bit while your ring fingers play on the edge of the skin. The difficult part is to close the “Tak” sounds, but lift your index fingers for the bass sound.
When you lift your left thumb from the jingle while playing, you get another jingle sound. Now two pairs of jingles sound at the same time, sounding more open and ringing. In the second example the last accent is substituted by a stroke on the jingles, so that the last four notes you play are open jingles.
Apart from playing the jingles directly with the fingers, you can shake the instrument back and forth to get another sound. You tilt the instrument backwards after a right hand stroke and forward on the next 16th. There are different places where you can put this movement inside the Malfuf rhythm. You can hit the drum again with your right hand together with the forward motion like in the next example, or wait until the next 16th like in the two following ones.
Now let´s have a look at the soft position. The tricky part are the index fingers. You have to press them on the skin for the taks, but lift them to get the open bass sound. First some exercises to get a feel for the movements:
These are some examples to play rhythms in different ways. Of course there are many more. Try around with the different jingle sounds. Also you can substitute the “taks” with slaps or with bass sounds. The possibilities are endless.
© David Kuckhermann 2006