How To Choose A Riq | Riq Instrument | Riq Drum | Tambourine – Sala Muzik

How To Choose A Riq


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?

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.

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riqinstrument riq

Traditional riq instrument 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?

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 instrument 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 riq 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.

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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 instrument 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 riq instruments more useful to play. Because it does not need to heat before play.

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Riq History

Riq has a long history. Riq is a tempo percussion instrument in Turkish Music. Various forms of riq, which is a kind of open drum, are also found in ancient tribes. It passed from the Arabs to Europe via Spain and was called riq de basque. He also entered the orchestra. In Turkish music, it is in the hands of the head of the fasil ser hanende or a few hanende. The method is kept with finger strokes. With each beat, 8 pairs of small bells of fine brass on the hoop resonate. Figures with riq in their hands are found in archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia and elsewhere. Generally, round riqs are also available with angular ones. It is also known as riq "flat" in some parts of Anatolia and "dare" in Thrace. These are the riqs used in weddings.

This percussion instrument, which was used in various types and forms by the people living in this geography in the civilizations of Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Central Asia in the period before Christ, and in later conversions, was also used in religious or non-religious areas in the Ottoman Empire.

Large drum drums were used in ceremonies in ancient Sumer. Small riqs were used in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. In the 13th century, women often played to accompany the riq songs and dances that the Crusaders brought from the Middle East to Europe. Modern riq entered Europe in the 18th century with the influence of Ottoman mehter music and took its place in 18th-century opera music.

Today, riq, which is used especially in henna nights and weddings in rural areas, is divided into two as riq with bells and riqs without bells. The riq, which is lifted into the air by being held and played both by striking and shaking in this way, makes a rhythmic sound every second it is shaken if it has a bell.

The jingles are also another important part of a riq instrument. 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.

For further information please see our Riq Collection.


  • Posted on by Shan Ahmadi

    Hello, which riqq(s) are lightweight and sound good?

  • Posted on by Keith Lyon

    Do you sell replacement heads for EP-006-B clear head and what is the price ? The one i have has a metal hoop, does the white head come with this hoop also ? and is there a difference in the sound between the clear head and the white head ? Thank you

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