20 Middle Eastern Dance Rhythms
Do you want to further your dance by learning all the various rhythms that go along with this artform?
Do you feel overwhelmed with all the rhythms out there?
Are you the type of person that likes a quick and handy reference sheet?
I answered Yes to all of the above a few years ago and created this list. I hope that you find my Rhythm Reference Sheet beneficial for your own personal Dance Practice Fun.
4/4 Rhythm (1&2&3&4&)
The most common and versatile rhythm – pop, folkloric, and classical at various speeds.
D T _ T D _ T _ (Basic Form)
D T k T D k T t k
D K T k D k T k k (most common walking rhythm)
*When this Rhythm is played slower it forms a variation of the Masmoudi Rhythm.
2. Beledi/Baladi (or Masmoudi Sagheer/Little Masmoudi)
Folkloric, Earthy, Weighty. Also a common and versatile rhythm.
More Doums than the Maqsoum
D D _ T D _ T _ (Basic Form)
D _ D _ tkt _ D _ tkT _ tk
8/4 Rhythm = 2 parts, 4 counts each
The most varied rhythm based on the speed.
DDD_ D_ _ _D T _ T D _ T _
D D TTT D TT TT
D _ T k D _ T k D _ T _ _ _ T k D _ T k T k T _ T k T k T _ T k
2 Down (Doum) Beats
In this quick dance form, it is great for traveling. The slower version is referred to as Zaar.
D k D K
D kk D K
D KDK D KDK
D T D T D T D T
D _ _ k D _ T _
4/4 Rhythm from Upper Egypt. Strong Doums.
DT _ DD _ T _ (Basic Form)
D T _ D D _ T _
D tD T
A perfect entrance and exit rhythm.
D _ _ T _ _ T _
D _ k T _ k T _
D TT D T T
D k k T k k T k
D k t K t k T k
Turkish rhythm. Softer movements.
D _ KT _ KT _ D _ D _ T _ _ _
D _ _ T_ _T _ D _ D _ T _ _
D _k t _ kT _ D _D _ T _ tk
D _ tk T _ T _ tkD_ T _ tk D _ _ _ D _ _ _ Tktk T _ _ _
Greek Rhythm. Alternates accents on every other measure.
D _ k D _ k t k D _ k T _ k t k
D d k T t k T k
D k Dktk D k Tktk
9. Wahda (which means One)
Played as the slower, melody part.
Very circular and undulating
One strong beat in the 4/4 Rhythm
D_ _ _ t _ t _
From Egyptian Farmers and their Celebration Rituals
Energy and Bounce.
D k _ k D k T _
D k k _ D _ k _
D t t D t
4/4 Rhythm (1 e and e, 2 e and e, 3 e and e, 4 e and e)
Slower rhythm brought over from Spain.
D _ T _ T _ D _
D k T k T k D _
D _ T k T _ T _ D _ T _ D _ T _
D k k T k k T k T k D T|
Soft rhythm played by one instrument. And actually almost has no rhythm, but more a feeling/essence.
This is the area where the dancer can dance for herself and her inner feelings.
Often improvised or semi-improvised.
Emotional, heartfelt, reflective.
Sometimes heard as:
D _ t k D _ t k D _ t k T _ T _ D _ t k T K T _ D _ D _ T _ t k
Persian and Arabian Gulf region. Each region puts their own style into the rhythm.
Dance of the Gulf.
Heavy rolling beats.
1& a 2 & a 1 & a 2
D K DKT K D K DKT K
D _ t k T k D _
Box steps, ¾ shimmies are good to this rhythm.
1, 2, 3, 4, 12345
D D D TTT
D _ T _ D _ T T _
D tk TtkD tk TT tk
D _ _ _ t _ k _ T _ _ _ t _ k _ D ___ t _ k _ T _ _ _ T _ _ _ T _ _ _
Not a tradionally based Egyptian rhythm, but commonly used in Egypt and North Africa.
* It’s noticeable characteristic is that it starts with a Tek.
T _ Tk T _ D _
T kk T D
Lebanese Line Dance
Feet stomps and moving side to side are two of the basic moves.
DD TD D T
1 2 3 1 2
D tk tk D T
D _ _ _ t _ k _ T _ _ _ D _ _ _ T _ _ _
Classical Egyptian consisting of 3 parts and one of the most complicated.
D _ _ T _ D D T _ _
D tk tk T tk D D T tk tk
Trancelike, spiritual dance
Slow beat that speeds up towards the end
D D t
D k D t
The Wedding Celebration March
The Bridal Couple is escorted in to their reception by the dancers, led by the Ramadan.
D D tk tk D _ T T
D tt t t D t t _