Tips On How To Differentiate Three Most Common Belly Dance Rhythms

Essential knowledge for all belly dancers!

belly dance rhythms

Tips On How To Differentiate Three Most Common Belly Dance Rhythms

Three most common rhythms that we hear in belly dance song are Maqsum, Saidi and Masmudi Saghir (also known as Baladi rhythm). Yet many dancers keep confusing them because they sound very similar, and have the same 4/4 time signature. Moreover, a drummer sometimes gets bored of playing the same rhythm, so he may even start interchanging them. Their 4/4 time nature makes it super easy to switch from one rhythm to another.

So let’s dive into the structure of each rhythm.

Masmudi Saghir:

Dum Dum – Tak Dum – Tak

 

Saidi:

Dum Tak – Dum Dum – Tak

 

Maqsum:

Dum Tak – Tak Dum – Tak

Pretty similar structures, right? I is not a surprise that it’s often so confusing for dancers to differentiate between these rhythms. The difference is simply in the position of a single Dum or Tak, but here are some tips that could help you memorize what is special about each rhythm.

Ever cutest belly dance mug with rhythms cheat sheet from   My Inner Dancer  .

Ever cutest belly dance mug with rhythms cheat sheet from My Inner Dancer.

Masmudi Saghir:

It always starts with two Dums. As a result it creates a heavy grounded feel. It often calls for nice juicy hip movements. 

Although in the informal talks you may hear dancers referring to this rhythm as Baladi rhythm, don’t forget that there is a difference in terms. Baladi is the name of dance or music style that uses this rhythm, but Masmudi Saghir is the name of the actual rhythm that can be present in other songs, not necessarily just in Baladi.

Saidi:

It has two Dums in the middle instead of the beginning. It is a folkloric rhythm, but it is common in oriental songs too.

There is also a variation of this rhythm called Heavy Saidi. It starts with two Dums in the beginning, but still has two Dums in the middle: Dum Dum – Dum Dum – Tak.

Maqsum:

It doesn’t have any Dums together. It’s always a variation of Dums and Taks.

 

Ok, so lets do a quick review:

Masmudi Saghir – two Dums in the beginning;

Saidi – two Dums in the middle;

Maqsum – no sequence of  two Dums together , always interchanging between Dum and Tak.

Also, see below a visual chart with helpful tips about other rhythms!

Author: Iana Komarnytska
Photographer: Pedro Bonatto

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