Introduction to Middle Eastern Hand Drumming Winter 2024

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Class Details

Since ancient times, percussion instruments have been at the heart of Middle Eastern musical and ritual life, providing intricate rhythmic patterns as foundation. Today, many of these drums accompany musical traditions across a wide Mediterranean region, from the Arab world to Greece, Turkey, Armenia, and beyond. This class offers students the opportunity to engage, in a hands-on ways, with the vibrant tradition of Middle Eastern drumming and its heritage of cross-cultural flows. In this course, we will study the fundamentals of Middle Eastern drumming on traditional percussion instruments. We will focus on exploring the doumbek (i.e. Arab tabla), riqq, and frame drum. Students who have drums are welcome to bring their own, but the instructor will provide a variety of instruments for students to use in class and at home. Each class session will highlight technique, rhythm theory, and accompaniment. We will also dedicate time to learning a composition for this drum section. Some short readings and audio and video samples will supplement our in-class drumming, and there will also be optional evening practices. Evaluation will be based on a self-recorded demonstration of core rhythmic patterns as well as a final performance.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: NA
Class#: 1037
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Presentation(s); Performance(s)
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Graduating students, Middle Eastern Music Ensemble members, and related Majors will be given priority in the event of overenrollment
Unit Notes: Rami El-Aasser is co-director of the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at Williams. He plays traditional percussion (darbuka, riq, deff) and sings worldwide with groups including Alsarah & the Nubatones, and Zikrayat.
Materials/Lab Fee: $5
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration
WELL Winter Study Wellness

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