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Thread: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!




  1. #1
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    I need some help choosing a Baladi song for a beginner choreography. As I am teaching rhythms as well, I would really like the Baladi rhythm to be rather obvious in it.
    It needs to be around or under the 4 minute mark, and be easily connected to emotively-either upbeat or heartfelt- for those not accustomed to Arabic music, so that I can teach channelling the feeling of the song, and the general feel of Baladi versus other styles. I would love any suggestions that anyone might have!

    Thank you
    Adalia


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Firstly, what do you mean by Baladi rhythm?


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    Master BHUZzer norma's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Yes, I wasn't sure if you meant beledi rhythm as in a beledi taqseem progression, or a general song that is often referred to as balady.

    If you mean beledi taqseem BDSS Vol 7 Raassah Baladi is 2:57


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    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Hi, I mean the Baladi drum beat DD _t D_ t_ and something more folky in feel :)
    Thanks


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Do you know, I seldom if ever hear that rhythm? It's all maqsoum and saidi in my collection. Most of the songs that I would think of as having a baladi feel are a fast maqsoum or saidi. It's different in a baladi progression of course but even then, a lot of saidi or plain old maqsoum going on instead.
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  6. #6
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    That's what I'm finding too :( I'm just at the point with them where they can handle a little info, but too much overwhelms them(they are very new), and I know I'm going to get the question "but you say this is a Baladi piece of music, so why don't I hear that rhythm?", and I'm just worried about overwhelming them with the full answer to that question!!!
    I am just really wanting to show them the difference between styles with a more earthy feeling Baladi piece, but still have it be a little lively so I don't lose the younger ones before I have them hooked!


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer yameyameyame's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adalia View Post
    That's what I'm finding too :( I'm just at the point with them where they can handle a little info, but too much overwhelms them(they are very new), and I know I'm going to get the question "but you say this is a Baladi piece of music, so why don't I hear that rhythm?", and I'm just worried about overwhelming them with the full answer to that question!!!
    Well then, this is probably a good time to explain to them that just because they hear a certain rhythm, and the rhythm is named a certain word, doesn't necessarily mean they are listening to the genre of music that has the same name. Just like saidi rhythm alone doesn't make Saidi music, beledi rhythm alone doesn't make beledi music.

    You also don't have to use the word "beledi" in reference to that rhythm... I have heard "beledi" in reference to different rhythms, so although it's most often used in reference to the rhythm you describe, I prefer to call it "masmoudi saghir" which is I guess a more proper name for it (or at least this is what I've been led to believe by the drumming tutorials I've watched). Not that it's wrong to call it beledi or anything, but perhaps this would avoid the confusion.
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  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adalia View Post
    That's what I'm finding too :( I'm just at the point with them where they can handle a little info, but too much overwhelms them(they are very new), and I know I'm going to get the question "but you say this is a Baladi piece of music, so why don't I hear that rhythm?", and I'm just worried about overwhelming them with the full answer to that question!!!
    A simplified version of the real answer is better than half-explained belly-dancer handwaving. If a student asks, the answer is "Because 'baladi' isn't actually the name of a rhythm to anybody but belly dancers. Musicians call that rhythm 'masmoudi saghir' or 'maqsoum.' It's often used as part of longer songs and/or in conjunction with other rhythms, but it's actually not that common for a whole song to be in that rhythm all by itself, unless it's a song written specifically for dance students." Saying anything less isn't about trying to avoid confusing them. It's just setting them up to be more confused later on.

    I am just really wanting to show them the difference between styles with a more earthy feeling Baladi piece,
    Then I would be looking at music for dancers (Eddie Kochak, Solace, Hossam Ramzy, etc.) unless you want to get into a longer conversation with more elaborate compositions like "Alf leyla." How about "Derwood Green"? Personally, I think "Derwood Green" is a little too slick and overproduced to be earthy, but to a student not used to listening to ME music, it probably sounds very ethnic.

    but still have it be a little lively so I don't lose the younger ones before I have them hooked!
    My patience starts running out around this point. For me, this attitude conjures up the image of a student standing in a cooking class with her fingers in her ears and shrieking, "La-la-la! I can't hear you! It's cheese! Cheese! Don't confuse me by saying parmesan and brie can't be used interchangeably!" Seriously, we are not asking that much of students here. It's not like we're saying they should be ready to teach at a conservatory in Cairo. Man up! Why are you voluntarily paying to take a class if you're going to resist the instructor trying to teach you something?
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    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adalia View Post
    I need some help choosing a Baladi song for a beginner choreography. As I am teaching rhythms as well, I would really like the Baladi rhythm to be rather obvious in it. [I mean the Baladi drum beat DD _t D_ t_ and something more folky in feel]
    It needs to be around or under the 4 minute mark, and be easily connected to emotively-either upbeat or heartfelt- for those not accustomed to Arabic music, so that I can teach channelling the feeling of the song, and the general feel of Baladi versus other styles. I would love any suggestions that anyone might have!
    First, as everyone else has said - most beledi does not have the masmoudi saghir (if you are teaching rhythms - please, please teach them the real name) As far as I can see - very little Middle Eastern music uses it. The two rhythm CDs I have don't cover it.

    Second "beledi" covers a range of styles (strictly including what many people call "folk"). If I was choreographing for beginners I'd probably use a beledi improvisation of a popular/traditional song such as on Hasan Abdou el-Saoud's Shik Shak Shok. Any ashra beledi woud be too long and complex for beginners (such as work by Mosafa Sax). For experienced dancers and a more educated audienced I'd go for something by Fatme Serhan (The Queen of Balady) or Hoda Sinbati (Ala Mahlik) (lots of emotion - but not for an untutored ear). If I was feeling naughty I'd use Exotic Balady.

    What is your favourite beledi piece? What do you already have?


  10. #10
    Just Starting! Vandelay's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Leila of Cairo's Helwa album has a nice baladi piece, called Beledi Helwa. It's relatively short, around three and a half minutes, and features two baladi "standards", Hassan and Amint Billah, with a cutesy ending. I think it would be a great introduction.

    I can't remember if it has any masmoudi saghir segments, probably not.


  11. #11
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Hm, in my (probably not representative) experience, it depends a lot on what one's exposure to musicians is. The American drummers I have encountered seem to favor beledi over masmoudi saghir, and I have also been in classes with professional Turkish/Balkan musicians who say beledi. My hypothesis is that there is a negative correlation between being habitually playing 9s and prefering the term masmoudi saghir :-)

    Just quick: Eddie Kochak's CDs have quite a few of songs in a beledi/balady rhythm, Gypsy Caravan has a really fun song called Caravan Beledi, which is of course made for tribal dance - may not fit your needs. And, there is Carmine's Buchbut Beledi piece on the Shake'Em'Up drum solos CD - again, may not fit your needs.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by steffib View Post
    Hm, in my (probably not representative) experience, it depends a lot on what one's exposure to musicians is. The American drummers I have encountered seem to favor beledi over masmoudi saghir, and I have also been in classes with professional Turkish/Balkan musicians who say beledi.
    Most musicians who work with Western dancers are probably used to the name "beledi" for the rhythm, just like they're used to calling the dance "belly dance" even though that isn't considered the proper Arabic or Turkish term, either. Sometimes they humor us, you know? I guess the bottom line is that students need to be aware that: (1) "beledi" isn't the only name for the DDtktDtkt rhythm, and (2) the word "beledi" gets applied to other things and means more than "DDtktDtkt." It's slang, we use it, but don't get too rigidly attached to it, because its definition is not unique from either direction.


  13. #13
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Guy Shalom's Bint al Balad from Baladi Blues is 3:13 and cute and sweet and accordiontastic, though it sounds a little flat - not musically flat, just neither excitingly produced nor really richly, messily live. I like it though. It's a fast maqsoum, though quite ornamented. I think it is handy because the rhythm doesn't change till the end (when it shifts to ayoub for a few bars) it's got accordion in it, it's very repetitive and the word Balad in the title. I think you could make a lovely choreography for newer dancers to it and they would learn a lot.
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  14. #14
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Most musicians who work with Western dancers are probably used to the name "beledi" for the rhythm
    It's not a Western thing, it's a specifically American thing. It's only American dancers/drummers who call that Dum Dum Takatak Dum Takatak rhythm Beledi

    It's not my experience with drummers in the UK/Europe who work with dancers. We've never really used the term baladi for a Rhythm, and most of the drummers who have informed the dance teachers before us, and the British drummers such as Tim Garside, Guy Shalom or Adam Warne were used to using the names in Arabic, so we've always called them Maqsoum, Masmoudi Saghir, as appropriate.


  15. #15
    Ultimate BHUZzer Suzana's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by beafarhana View Post
    It's not a Western thing, it's a specifically American thing.
    Yep. Indeed. I've occasionally had US drummers try to tell me it's NOT masmoudi saghir, too. "It's a different animal. It sounds similar, but beledi is played faster." Um, really?

    (I should say this is probably a geographical thing -- one drummer seems to have gotten that idea then passed it on to others. It's weird, though.)
    Last edited by Suzana; 11-28-2011 at 07:18 PM.


  16. #16
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    There are a lot of nice baladi songs on the Hassan Abou Seoud cds, Belly Dances from the Middle East volumes 1 & 2. Many of them are nice and short and structured so that you could choreograph them fairly easily.


  17. #17
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by yameyameyame View Post
    Well then, this is probably a good time to explain to them that just because they hear a certain rhythm, and the rhythm is named a certain word, doesn't necessarily mean they are listening to the genre of music that has the same name. Just like saidi rhythm alone doesn't make Saidi music, beledi rhythm alone doesn't make beledi music.

    You also don't have to use the word "beledi" in reference to that rhythm... I have heard "beledi" in reference to different rhythms, so although it's most often used in reference to the rhythm you describe, I prefer to call it "masmoudi saghir" which is I guess a more proper name for it (or at least this is what I've been led to believe by the drumming tutorials I've watched). Not that it's wrong to call it beledi or anything, but perhaps this would avoid the confusion.
    I know we tend to call it Baladi/Beledi here more often than Masmoudi Saghir-but I always make sure in drumming class that everyone knows both names, so you're right, referring to it as that will help a lot. You actually explained it quite well above too, I just know I started to explain it to a couple of ladies the other night and their heads started to spin


  18. #18
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    "Because 'baladi' isn't actually the name of a rhythm to anybody but belly dancers. Musicians call that rhythm 'masmoudi saghir' or 'maqsoum.' It's often used as part of longer songs and/or in conjunction with other rhythms, but it's actually not that common for a whole song to be in that rhythm all by itself, unless it's a song written specifically for dance students."

    I find the musicians here and on multiple training DVD's do actually call it Baladi/Beledi.......

    My patience starts running out around this point. For me, this attitude conjures up the image of a student standing in a cooking class with her fingers in her ears and shrieking, "La-la-la! I can't hear you! It's cheese! Cheese! Don't confuse me by saying parmesan and brie can't be used interchangeably!" Seriously, we are not asking that much of students here. It's not like we're saying they should be ready to teach at a conservatory in Cairo. Man up! Why are you voluntarily paying to take a class if you're going to resist the instructor trying to teach you something?
    But first your student, in this case, needs to understand what cheese is. Throwing too much information at them at once causes them to become confused and not want to come back. First you need your students to really get a feel for the art form before throwing too much theory at them. Most students start for "a bit of a laugh", hit them with too much complex theory and they will run away screaming. You need to give them a simple explanation at first, and then slowly build upon it as understanding grows.

    Leila of Cairo's Helwa album has a nice baladi piece, called Beledi Helwa. It's relatively short, around three and a half minutes, and features two baladi "standards", Hassan and Amint Billah, with a cutesy ending. I think it would be a great introduction.
    This was one I was thinking of-just heard it the other day and thought it would be a good introduction song.


  19. #19
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    There are a lot of nice baladi songs on the Hassan Abou Seoud cds, Belly Dances from the Middle East volumes 1 & 2. Many of them are nice and short and structured so that you could choreograph them fairly easily.
    Guy Shalom's Bint al Balad from Baladi Blues is 3:13 and cute and sweet and accordiontastic, though it sounds a little flat - not musically flat, just neither excitingly produced nor really richly, messily live. I like it though. It's a fast maqsoum, though quite ornamented. I think it is handy because the rhythm doesn't change till the end (when it shifts to ayoub for a few bars) it's got accordion in it, it's very repetitive and the word Balad in the title. I think you could make a lovely choreography for newer dancers to it and they would learn a lot.
    Just quick: Eddie Kochak's CDs have quite a few of songs in a beledi/balady rhythm, Gypsy Caravan has a really fun song called Caravan Beledi, which is of course made for tribal dance - may not fit your needs. And, there is Carmine's Buchbut Beledi piece on the Shake'Em'Up drum solos CD - again, may not fit your needs.
    Leila of Cairo's Helwa album has a nice baladi piece, called Beledi Helwa. It's relatively short, around three and a half minutes, and features two baladi "standards", Hassan and Amint Billah, with a cutesy ending. I think it would be a great introduction.
    If I was choreographing for beginners I'd probably use a beledi improvisation of a popular/traditional song such as on Hasan Abdou el-Saoud's Shik Shak Shok. Any ashra beledi woud be too long and complex for beginners (such as work by Mosafa Sax). For experienced dancers and a more educated audienced I'd go for something by Fatme Serhan (The Queen of Balady) or Hoda Sinbati (Ala Mahlik) (lots of emotion - but not for an untutored ear). If I was feeling naughty I'd use Exotic Balady.
    Then I would be looking at music for dancers (Eddie Kochak, Solace, Hossam Ramzy, etc.) unless you want to get into a longer conversation with more elaborate compositions like "Alf leyla." How about "Derwood Green"? Personally, I think "Derwood Green" is a little too slick and overproduced to be earthy, but to a student not used to listening to ME music, it probably sounds very ethnic.

    Thank you everyone!! This has helped immensely!


  20. #20
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adalia View Post
    I find the musicians here and on multiple training DVD's do actually call it Baladi/Beledi.......
    You'll have no trouble finding resources for dancers that say the "tek-a-tek (rest), tek-a-tek (rest), tek-a-tek (rest), tek-a-tek (rest)" cymbal pattern is "triplets" and the shimmy with the same syncopated timing is "3/4" because it is "waltz time." When dancers who don't know better do something, it doesn't make it right. It just makes it common and it perpetuates the ignorance. We're not going to win this battle. There are millions of Arabic speakers in the world (musicians and not) who think our application of the word "baladi" in this circumstance is somewhat misguided, and it's their language and their rhythm. It doesn't matter how much we want to make "baladi" the name for "DDtktDtkt." They traditionally call that rhythm by other names. They also use that word to describe other rhythms and ideas. Ignoring these facts is not teaching the truth.

    But first your student, in this case, needs to understand what cheese is. Throwing too much information at them at once causes them to become confused and not want to come back.
    If your classes consist of socially functioning adults of average intelligence (i.e., you're not teaching belly dance to developmentally disabled individuals as recreational therapy or something), why assume they can't process the concept of saying, "We'll use the name 'baladi' in class for this rhythm, because it's common slang in the dance community, but you should be aware that it's not the name Arabs use, and they use the word 'baladi' in lots of other ways"? Both of my early teachers did this, and nobody had a problem with it, even though most students had no intention of dancing for anything but pleasure. What's wrong here that you feel you have to start from a greater disadvantage than, say, Tae Kwon Do teachers do with Korean terms or ballet teachers do with French terms? We're asking so little. Why is it too much when others routinely demand more from their students? Most students rise to the expectations put in front of them. When you expect nothing, you usually get minimal effort in return.

    [Continued...]
    Last edited by Tourbeau; 11-29-2011 at 09:11 AM.
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  21. #21
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    First you need your students to really get a feel for the art form before throwing too much theory at them.
    Yes, but just saying "Baladi = DDtktDtkt" is too much oversimplification, and it hurts students in the long run. Part of the job of teaching is inspiring students to want to learn more. When you frame things in terms of, "I don't want to teach you this because it's so complicated, and you'll get confused and want to leave," it sends the message, "I don't think you are capable of learning this. It's so difficult, you probably shouldn't even try to learn it." This is a negative approach, and one that's a far cry from saying, "You guys are smart, so I'm going to give you this brief explanation, but don't freak out if it sounds a bit confusing at first. We'll revisit it and it will become clearer as we go because it takes a while to develop a feeling for this." Even if you are just in the dance for recreation, it interferes with your enjoyment if you are getting a subconscious message that there are scary, un-understandable things lurking here. Don't you want to create students who are eager to rush forward and learn as much as they can, instead of cowering in fear on the margins and waiting to be told what is "safe" to know?

    Look at it this way: What if you have a student who is highly motivated and strikes out on her own to learn more? (Maybe she's lurking in this thread right now...) You're pushing the burden of sorting out how what you're teaching fits into what everyone else is saying onto her, which diminishes your strength as an authority, and not necessarily in a flattering way. The best any of us can do to avoid saying and doing dumb/wrong stuff is to engage with reputable sources, pass on what we've learned accurately, and correct ourselves when we realize we were wrong. That's hard enough without intentionally deciding you're going to say something that isn't quite right in the name of simplicity.

    By all means, don't gabble on about music geekery until their eyes glaze over, but a couple of sentences about why "baladi" is a multifaceted word isn't too much to ask, and it does take a while to understand how one word can mean so many different things and one rhythm can turn in up in so many different contexts, so the sooner you introduce flexible concepts, the better and more accurate it is, especially for those students who are going to stick around.
    Last edited by Tourbeau; 11-29-2011 at 09:11 AM.


  22. #22
    Ultimate BHUZzer Suzana's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Do you teach, Tourbeau?


  23. #23
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzana View Post
    Do you teach, Tourbeau?
    I am not teaching classes at the moment (health reasons), but I have done some teaching--beginners and intermediates, with and without cymbals, group and private lessons. I've been involved in the dance community on and off since 1999, and many of the opinions I express on Bhuz are the result of frustration I've felt as a student and frustration others have expressed to me after dealing with teachers who cut these "It's sort of true if you don't think too much about it" corners, so even if I had no teaching experience, it wouldn't diminish anything I've written.

    I totally get that there are a lot of students who don't come to class for an academic experience, but they're still paying for instruction, and teachers have an obligation to try to lead the horses to water, even if no subsequent drinking occurs. You never know which of those students will still be here years from now, so why not try to give everybody a good foundation?

    How are we ever going to get our students excited by the prospect of learning if we set our classes up to placate the ones who aren't interested? To paraphrase Greg Behrendt, "They're not that into us," so why are we so terrified of losing the students who don't care anyway? Why aren't we focusing our efforts on growing the segment of the student base who isn't planning to flit off to Zumba or pole dancing next month, by giving them quality instruction that makes them feel like they're making progress (because it feels like a lot more "education" to learn a concept than a word)? Any beginner who wants to stick around, who's thinking ahead to joining the student troupe, buying that DVD, or going to that upcoming workshop needs and deserves a better answer than a simplistic "DDtktDtkt = baladi." Nobody is talking about a master's thesis on every possible interpretation of that rhythm and that word. It's just a few sentences to tee up a more elaborate explanation later in a way that won't involve a lot of corrections, backtracking, and relearning.
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  24. #24
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Wow, I'm just amazed at how it has been automatically assumed that trying to give your students knowledge without totally confusing the heck out of them is actually not giving them any info at all............And that's where I am leaving that conversation altogether.

    Once again, thank you to everyone that gave helpful opinions, I appreciate it greatly. I just want to teach my students as much as I can without confusing them right from the start.

    Thank you
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    I personally would tell beginners, "The name of this rhythm is maqsoum. It has many variations and this is one of them," and let it go at that.

    For more experienced students I would introduce the term "baladi" as being "what many people here in the U.S. incorrectly call it" and I would also introduce the term "masmoudi saghir" as being a subset of maqsoum that applies to this specific rhythm.

    Some songs to consider:

    Bint el Sultan - although it admittedly isn't masmoudi saghir all the way through, the beat is constant. You could still play masmoudi saghir on the finger cymbals on top of the rhythm changes.

    Taht il-Shibbak (often spelled as Tahtil Shibbak) - I use this one in my Belly Dance for Exercise class as part of warming up to the cardio Saidi/debke section. I have my students play masmoudi saghir throughout.

    The CD Bert's Baladi, which you can buy from Mary Ellen Donald: Beautiful and Exciting Music for Belly Dance Performance
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  26. #26
    Just Starting! Adalia's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing a beginner Baladi song!

    Thank you Shira!


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