How To Choose A Riq | Riq Instrument | Riq Drum | Tambourine

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Tips For Purchasing A Good Riq

Percussion instruments are the purest and the most adaptable instruments. They create expressive, strong and dramatic sounds. The riq players are the "Rhythm Masters" of the ensemble. In classical Eastern pieces and folk music the sound of the riq sets the rhythm, so the player controls the speed and dynamic of the whole orchestra.

What is a Riq?


What is a riq


The riq is a traditional instrument that is quite similar to tambourine. It is used in folk music in the Middle-Eastern countries, Turkey and Greece. It can also be spelled as riq, riqq, rik, daf, tef or reqq. The playing techniques of the riq are similar to tambourine.

Traditional riq is made of a wooden frame and animal skin. Sometimes complex design patterns are used to decorate the wooden frame. The transparent head of the instrument is made of goat or fish skin. But in modern days, metals and synthetic materials are also commonly used. The wooden or metal frame has five double jingles attached to it. The translucent head is tightly mounted to create the instrument’s clear, high pitched sound.

In North- Africa there is a smaller version of riq and it is played with a whole different technique. Egyptian riqs are usually 20cm wide. In Turkey the frame can be between 20 to 25 cm wide. The diameter of the frame changes for Iraq too, it is slightly larger than the other models.

How to play a Riq?

how to play riq

Applying the right techniques, this little instrument can produce a surprising amount of sounds. There are some well known playing positions such as the classical one which utilize the jingles and creates a soft tone or cabaret position which uses the jingles more to create louder sound.

The riq can be played by a developed finger technique. If you are a beginner, holding the riq might seem a little tricky at first. You should open your palm and place the riq between your index finger and thumb. Let the index finger hold the instrument at the edge of the skin while the thumb is placed on the back of a jingle. If you want to keep jingles quite, you should tilt the riq a little away from yourself.

Modern riq virtuosos have developed their own styles and carried the technical aspect of the instrument to a whole new level. These masters, change the playing positions rapidly and use different combination of jingle rolls to create more complex rhythms.

How to choose the right Riq?

How To choose the right Riq

Riqs could be made of natural materials such as wood and animal skin or modern materials like metal and synthetic head. The animal skinned riq models have a natural and warm sound. But the skin head is sensitive to humidity and needs to be protected carefully. The riq players that use traditional models, heat the instrument before each performance. Usually, they own two identical riqs, because the tightness of the skin head changes during the performance. They prevent sound differentiation by switching one to another between songs. Synthetic head riqs more useful to play. Because it does not need to heat before play.

The jingles are also another important part of a riq. Before buying a riq make sure that the attached jingles are made of quality materials. When you swing the riq they should create a shimmering effect.

You can check our wide catalogue to find about the most affordable options of the best riq models.

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