"I am deeply grateful for the magic of the internet gifting me the opportunity to learn from you here in Ecuador.
Very excited to keep practicing, you are awesome!"

Pyasa Chetan

"You are an inspiration to me; there are not many people in this world who have the passion you have!"

James Francois

"I wanted to let you know how much I am getting from your site, or more so, your
non-ego style of teaching. The July Darbuka challenge was the biggest jump of growth in my life."

Arne Pederson

Click here for a Free Preview of the Fingers of Fury Subscription Plans

The cart is empty

"This will transform the drumming community more than any dvd, book or workshop series could ever do, and I've purchased every dvd, book and attended every workshop in the USA at one point or another!"

Andrew DesChenes,
Subscriber

 

 

 

Darbuka Rhythms Series- Part 1 Malfuf

The Darbuka-Doumbek-Darbouka-Derbouka-Belly Dance drum! (Or whatever you may call it!)

Today we will be looking at the 2 beat rhythm Malfuf. One of my favourite darbuka rhythms! Malfuf is like a Spanish rumba in the way that the notes are grouped and accented- 12312312. The 1’s are all accented over the rest. Malfuf is an amazing rhythm and works well at many tempos. Let’s take a closer look and explore the fundamental part that is Malfuf.

Essentially Malfuf is:

1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

Dum

   

Tuk

   

Tuk

 

As you can see the skeleton of Malfuf is made up of highs and lows: Dum’s and Tuk’s. This often overlooked but very interesting key to Malfuf is that the fist high note is just before the second beat. If it were exactly on the second beat the sound of the rhythm would completely change! It would sound very straight. I have seen many beginner darbuka players struggle to play the above pattern just with one hand. The first ‘Tuk’ often gets shifted to the 2nd beat. I have always said- ‘If you can say it- you can play it!’ Try for yourself and see.

The most common variation of Malfuf is the following:

1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

Dum

 

Tuk

   

Tuk

   

All we have done in the above example is shift the two high tones back a little, a semi-quaver to be exact. Such a small change makes a huge difference though!

If you have another ‘darbuka player friend’ then you should try this out, it sounds great if the two darbuka’s are tuned to different notes.

Before we move along and fill in those five remaining gaps with the flashiest of flash darbuka party tricks we need to look further into this fundamental pattern and what we can do with it.
The next step is to replace the ‘Tuk’ tones with other high tones. The ‘Tuk’ can be replaced by either a ‘Slap’ or a ‘Mute’ tone. I am referring only to the right hand and thus not replacing it with a ‘Ka.’

The ‘Mute’ stroke is really just a soft version of the ‘Slap.’ To play a ‘Mute’ we simply separate our fingers and strike the darbuka skin with the fingertips. This should be a gentle action and not heavy like a slap. Remember: It is the slaps soft replacement.

Once we have tried all of the above variations with placement and tones we should have around 12 different styles of playing just the malfuf skeleton.

Some of these would be- Malfuf with Tuks, Malfuf with Mutes, Malfuf with Slaps etc.

By experimenting at this ground level we think very differently about what the rhythm is and what can be done with it. We strip back to the essential parts and explore them with a ‘less is more’ ideal.

Let’s take that same approach and apply it to the ‘Ka’ tones that are about to fill in the gaps.

With all of the ‘Ka’ tones in Malfuf it looks like this-

1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

Dum

Ka

Ka

Tuk

Ka

Ka

Tuk

Ka

As you can see there is not a lot of room for anything else. It’s a very busy rhythm and one that can easily become cluttered.

So, let’s pull it apart and then put it back together again in the most clever way possible. In the above version you can clearly see that there are two groups of ‘Ka’ and one ‘Ka’ on its own at the end.

With these first two groups of double Ka’s, I will refer to the first of each group as the ‘early Ka’s’ and the second ones in the group as the ‘late Ka’s.’

Below you can see this written. The first is Malfuf with the early ‘Ka followed in the next example by Malfuf with the late ‘Ka.’

1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

Dum

Ka

 

Tuk

Ka

 

Tuk

Ka



1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

Dum

 

Ka

Tuk

 

Ka

Tuk

Ka

Get my drift? Now we have some real funky sounding variations.

If you are playing along with a group playing Malfuf, try throwing these variations over the top. They sound awesome! As easy as it looks, it may take a little while to get used to them and comfortable switching between the normal ‘full’ version and then the late or early ‘Ka’ versions.

That’s all for part 1 of the Darbuka Rhythms Series, stay tuned for many more to come…enjoy your drumming!

Matt Stonehouse- Fingers of Fury.

Click on the below options to see what is included-

FOF Darbuka Doumbek Bronze Memnbership

FOF Darbuka Doumbek Silver Memnbership

FOF Darbuka Doumbek Golden Memnbership

FOF Darbuka Doumbek Platinum Memnbership