Worship and Music - Ethnomusicology


Master of Arts (MA)


Katherine Morehouse


def, firqah, riq, riqq, takht, tar


Ethnomusicology | Music | Music Performance | Near Eastern Languages and Societies


The riq (plural: riqat) is a small tambourine measuring 22cm - 25cm in diameter and approximately 5cm - 7cm in depth. The instrument consists of ten pairs of brass, bronze or copper jingles inserted equidistantly around the frame in two rows, held in place by metal pins. It is traditionally fitted with a natural skin head, usually fish, however modern riqat often utilize a variety of tuning systems, making the use of synthetic skins possible. Several names for the instrument exist historically. Historical variations of the riq appear frequently in Islamic art. The riq is performed with exceptional dynamic contrast with unique ornamentations. The instrument is a mainstay in the takht, firqah, and Firqat Al-Musiqa Al-`Arabiyyah ensembles, as well as a number of other traditional ensembles. The performer of the instrument often assumes a leadership responsibility in Arab ensembles. The traditional performance context of the riq remains largely in the Arab world, with few exceptions in the West. With reduced opportunities to perform the riq in its traditional context, solo and percussion ensemble repertoire for the riq are increasingly popular, composed mainly in Western styles with Arab subtleties.