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Pete's Req (Riq) basics page

Introduction to the sound of Req   AUDIO     VIDEO   

This traditional drum has a fishskin head which is glued onto the shell . The shell is approx 8 and a half inches in diameter by 2 or 3 inches deep and made of wood. Five double sets of heavy brass jingles are suspended in cut-outs in the shell. Before the skin is glued in place, the shell is elaborately decorated with a mosaic of ivory, mother-of-pearl or other materials such as plastic etc. The detailed decoration work found on these drums can be quite staggering. There are also tuneable varieties of the drum and some fixed tension plastic skin versions by REMO drum company.  These drums can be particularly effective and save you the problem of humidity effecting the tuning. The drum should be tuned to a fairly high cracking tone. With the traditional drum, this high pitch can be achieved by holding it over a heat source. Some players use a light bulb fixed inside a biscuit tin with holes in the lid, some use tiny electric blankets, others cry because their drums sound like cardboard boxes. I recommend you proceed with caution if you try the biscuit tin idea. Use a low wattage bulb (the lowest you can find) and be aware that even then it still gets quite hot.

Let’s look at the basic playing positions and strokes. The drum is held in the left hand. The thumb locks onto the rear jingle and forms a clamp with the first finger on the front bottom edge of the drum.

 
Thumb holding position inside drum.
Holding position for Req
; VIDEO   

This frees up the ring finger to strike the bottom jingle. The drum should fall slightly over towards your left, causing your forearm to face upwards. Try not to tense your arm and stiffen up when you hold the drum in this position. The secret of all well-articulated technique is relaxation. From this position, try striking the bottom jingle with your ring finger (some players use the middle finger for this stroke). Next we’ll introduce the jingle strike with the other hand, again on the same jingle with the tip of the ring finger. Start with an even 16th level RLRL.

The dum and tek and slap strokes are articulated with the right hand. The dum stroke is played with the first finger striking flat. Notice the finger moves in towards the centre of the head slightly to help pull some of the bass sound out of the drum. The dum stroke should be bass orientated, while the tek (AKA tak) stroke is sharp and treble orientated. It is important to hold the drum stable when articulating these strokes. The last thing you want is a jingle wash underneath the rhythms. The dum stroke is articulated with the first finger, slightly in towards the centre of the drum whilst the tek stroke is articulated right on the edge of the drum, almost like a rim shot. It is played with the tip of the ring finger which strikes the edge in a sharp and staccato manner bringing a high and clear note from the drum.   The final stroke we have is the slap stroke, played with all four finger tips in the centre of the head in a similar manner to the Conga or Bongo slap.  Be patient with this stroke as it is worth the wait.

Here is a summary of the basic strokes on Req;
DUM;
Right hand open tone.
TEK; Right hand hi pitched tone on edge of shell.
SLAP; Right hand in centre of drum.
JINGLE; Either right or left hand on the jingle.

 
Striking the jingle with the left hand.                   'DUM' open tone with the first finger

 
'TAK'  right hand on the edge of the skin.            'SLAP'  in the centre of the head.

Here is how we will notate them;

Here is the audio and video of these basic strokes. 
Basic strokes and jingle technique for Req
  AUDIO    VIDEO   

Slap stroke for Req                              AUDIO    VIDEO   


Spend some time working on the comfortable execution of the sixteenths
jingle pattern demonstrated at the end of the basic strokes files.

Grooves on the Req

We can now begin to introduce some 'dum' and 'tek' sounds into the sixteenths jingle pattern.


Example 1  Click to enlarge
Click on the photograph to enlarge  AUDIO     VIDEO   

We can now begin to introduce some 'ruffs' into the patterns as well.  This is articulated by a quick 32nd note flurry fingered 'RRRL'


Example 2  Click to enlarge
Click on the photograph to enlarge  AUDIO     VIDEO   

We introduce the 'slap' stroke for this traditional sounding Arabic rhythm called 'Saadi'.


Example 3  (Saadi)  Click to enlarge
Click on the photograph to enlarge  AUDIO     VIDEO   

The rhythms of Req can sound very effective even when there are not a lot of 'dum' and 'tek' sounds being used.  Check out this quite sparse pattern.


Example 4  Click to enlargeClick on the photograph to enlarge  AUDIO     VIDEO   

There also a number of other techniques for Req.  Shaking the drum with the left hand backwards and forwards as sixteenths like a shaker whilst striking 'dum' and 'tek' can be very popular, either continuously or in short bursts within the rhythm.

Jinngle ruffs and shaking techniques for Req   AUDIO    VIDEO   

Also, the 'SOFT' position is a really skilled employment of the drum. The drum is held in a vice like grip with both hands with the fingers coming round the front of the drum.  All the fingers are then used to strike and/or mute the drum whilst playing.  This really in the art of Req.  I will add some more lessons on this a little later.

Demonstration of 'SOFT' position for Req   AUDIO    VIDEO    

Other stuff

ARABIC RIQ SOLO by PETE

Note from Pete

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