BD Assignment #5 - Chiftitelli Rhythm: Mixing Accents with Fluid Moves

Let's play with rhythm and dance!

In class and home practice we do a lot of drilling of movements, repeating them over and over in a two beat rhythm. Here we break free and explore connecting our movement to Middle Eastern rhythms.

Today's rhythm is the Chiftitelli:

D t t D D t / Dum tek tek Dum Dum tek


D ttt ttt D t D t t / Dum teka teka tek teka teka tek Dum teka Dum teka tek

Dum is the strong beat, created by hitting the center of the drum

Tek, Teka, Ka are weaker beats, created by hitting the side of the drum

The chiftitelli is an 8 beat rhythm. The eight beats to the bar offer more room for variations. As you may have noted above, the base rhythm has two teks in the beginning which hold four beats. By hitting all the beats and half beats on the drum, you can come up with more complex variations.

The chiftitelli can be played fast or slow, creating two very different feelings. We will work with the slow rhythm, today. The slow chiftitelli has a rolling smooth feel and is perfect for slinky, slow movements. It also lends well to mixing in soft accents over those fluid moves.

So let's play! Listen to the music samples and follow the steps below.


Find the dums and the teks. Say the rhythm aloud in time with the music.

Dum teka teka Dum Dum tek

Dum teka teka Dum Dum tek

Dum teka teka Dum Dum tek

Dum teka teka Dum Dum tek

Dum teka teka Dum Dum tek

Now just the stronger beats:

Dum...... Dum Dum Tek....

Dum...... Dum Dum Tek....

Dum...... Dum Dum Tek....

Dum...... Dum Dum Tek....

Dum...... Dum Dum Tek....

Step 2 --> FEEL

Get a feel for the roll of the beat, the tempo and timing of the rhythm, and any sensations/emotions that come. Close your eyes. Can you feel the drums echo in your body? If yes, where? What kind of movement, if any, do you feel the drums are calling you to dance?

Sept 3 --> DANCE

Start with just slow fluid moves. Dance to the different music clips below and get a feel for what feels good with the different musical variations.

Next go through all the songs again and mix some accents in with your fluid movements. Try circles, slow slides, undulations, figure 8s, arm and hand movements, sultry walking, and so on, for the first part of the phrasing and hit a soft accent (slide, lift or drop) of the hips, chest or shoulders on the last Dums and/or Tek.


Dum tek tek Dum Dum Tek

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Undulation ........... Drop Drop Drop

With the last song, try exploring arm and hand movements during the taksim and ease into fluid movements and then accents as the rhythm comes in.

Rhythm Breakdown and Drum:

Dark Sounding Percussion:

Live Band Jam:

Full song with various instrument Taksims (solos):

Leave a comment below to share your experience with Lulu and other students!

How did it feel dancing to this rhythm?

What was awkward?

What was fun?

What do you want to work on?

Do you have any questions for Lulu?

#chiftielli #chiftetelli #ryhthm #drums

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