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16th notes in Lebanon

This is the Masmoudi rhythm from Lebanon. It’s particularly interesting because of the simple rhythmic activity in the first bar followed by more complex activity in the second bar.


lebanon rhythm



Make sure that you start this one slow. Base the tempo on the second bar. If you play the first bar fast, the second bar will sound rushed.

Using any of the scales that you know, invent a riff with this rhythm. Try using only one note in the first bar, and 5 notes in the second bar. This reflects the simple/complex thing that’s happening rhythmically. Use only one note whenever there’s a string of 16th notes. This will keep it focussed.

Then do whatever you want. This is a good way to work: restrict yourself first, and then stretch out.


 Common 16th-note rhythms

At this point, you’ve seen four different 16th note rhythms. Here they are

4 16ths

8th, 2 16ths

2 16ths, 8th

16th rest, 16th, 8th

These are all really common, especially the first three.


Here’s one more. It’s also really common, so you should know it, too.



Using these rhythms, create a one bar rhythmic idea. Follow it with the first bar of the Masmoudi rhythm.

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