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Issue 16. Summer 2018:

Welcome to the World Rhythms News, an infrequent newsletter dedicated to world music education. To subscribe, use the form below. Follow instructions thereafter, and make sure to check "World Music Education" in the "Interests" section of the sign up process.

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In this issue:

Arabic Rhythms

Rhythm in Arabic music is organized into cycles of beats and pauses. Each cycle consists of a fixed number of metric pulses, including a hierarchy of strong beats, weak beats, and silent beats that define a groove. In performance some of the rests or silent beats may be filled in, but the underlying feel is maintained. The sounding beats vary in timbre and are described with onomatopoeic syllables. The strong beat is described using the syllable "dum" for the heavy low-pitched center sound of the drum. The weak is represented by the word "tek" for the bright, high-pitched edge or side sound of the drum and is not necessarily less loud than the strong beat. In some ways, it shares a similar feeling to the off-beat in Western music.


Chiftitelli is the Turkish word for belly dancing. It is an 8 beat rhythm with 3-3-2 accent pattern in the first four beats that is very popular with belly dancers.

1   +   2   +   3   +   4   +   | 1   +   2   +   3   +   4   + | 
dum     tek tek     tek tek       dum     dum     tek
1   2   3   1   2   3   1   2           


Drum IconMIDI. >play

Elzaffa is a musical procession. The main pattern is 8 beats long.

1   +   2   +   3   +   4   +   | 1   +   2   +   3   +   4   + | 
dum     tek ka  tek     tek       dum     tek     tek    (tek ka)

Drum Syllables

dum (right hand clear low tone)
tek (right hand high crisp tone)
ka (left hand, sounds like tek)

After studying the traditional rhythm, check out Ancient Future's performance of Matthew Montfort's world fusion composition in this rhythmic mode, "El Zaffa."

El Zaffa on Ethnocloud
'El Zaffa' YouTube Video URL:

El Zaffa 4:26 (Matthew Montfort. © 2001 Ancient Future Music). iTunes. >YTmusic. Full version/best audio quality appears on Planet Passion (Ancient-Future.Com AF-2010) CD, $17.98 (SALE $10!): Buy CD Now.

Ancient Future Live

Concert Poster
Concert Poster
(259k pdf)

Arabic Fusion Program

This program blends the rhythms and melodies of the Arabian Peninsula with contemporary jazz and rock, producing an irresistible and exhilarating fusion that captures the essence of pilgrimage, cultural exchange, exploration and migration. Ancient Future's performance features world guitar pioneer Matthew Montfort, Arabic violin virtuoso Georges Lammam, Arabic percussion master Antoine Lammam, and keyboardist extraordinaire Doug McKeehan. These multifaceted artists create an innovative musical experience that guides listeners on a hypnotic voyage through time and place.

Saturday, July 28, 8 PM
Throckmorton Theatre

142 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Doors open at 7:30 PM
Adm: $20 adv, $25 at door, $35 reserved seating
Info: 415-383-9600
Facebook Event

Sunday, August 4, 8:30 PM (SOLD OUT!)
UCO Lick Observatory Benefit
Main Building Hall
Mount Hamilton, CA 95140
Adm: $45 general seating, $90 preferred, $199 VIP

Concert Review

"Woe, is for all of you who missed the Ancient Future event sponsored by Rhythm & Bliss. The group Ancient Future is made up of Musical Masters in their genres. The band consists of 24 musicians that come together in different configurations and create fused music. This configuration was an Arabic/Rock fusion. I have no words to describe what it is to hear live musical virtuosos. After hearing and dancing to this quality of music nothing else stirs my soul the same way. It was truly a grand evening. I was so very glad to have been there." – Mary Wheeler, The Harrakat, Eugene, Oregon

Musical Scavenger Hunt Contest

GongAfrican DjembeNorth Indian DrumGuitar Pick Carved in Bali for Matthew Montfort


13 Ways to Win

Participate in this educational scavenger hunt to win music education materials and learn about the ancient musical traditions of the world! Hunt through Ancient-Future.Com to answer the scavenger hunt questions. All of those who get any answer right win an educational digital liner note download of their choice! Get all of the answers right and also win your choice of the Audio Guide or MIDI Groove companion tracks to the world rhythms training manual, Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities.

Book Cover

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India. By Matthew Montfort. Kentfield: Ancient Future Music, 1985. ISBN 0-937879-00-2. Comb Bound Book- $46.95 (SALE $33.95): Buy 1 Now. New Best Buy! Book & Audio Guide/MIDI Download- $69.95 (SALE $49.95): Buy 1 Now.

Not just for percussionists, this classic "world beat bible" takes the student on a musical voyage through the ancient rhythmic traditions of Africa, Bali, and India with a series of interesting, imaginative and fun exercises for all music lovers that require no instruments to perform.

13 Scavenger Hunt Questions

  1. What rhythm was used as the basis for the fast section of the title track from the Ancient Future album Quiet Fire?
  2. Name six instruments utilized in an Ewe percussion orchestra.
  3. What is the name of the more offbeat part of a Balinese kotèkan?
  4. What rhythm was used as the basis for the composition "Gamarock" from the Ancient Future album Dreamchaser?
  5. What is the name of an 11 beat North Indian rhythmic cycle that includes two groupings of 1 1/2 beats?
  6. What is the name of a common South Indian 8 beat rhythmic cycle?
  7. What is the name of the Egyptian wedding procession rhythm that is the basis for a popular Ancient Future track?
  8. What moods are associated with Rag Alhaiya Bilawal?
  9. What is the name of the second, higher part of a North Indian melodic composition?
  10. How many sympathetic strings does a North Indian sitar typically have?
  11. What are the three main schools of scalloped fretboard guitar?
  12. What instrument was traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo?
  13. Name two subjects available for study through private online lessons via Skype and other services through Ancient-Future.Com.

This scavenger hunt contest is open only to subscribers to the Ancient Future Times. If you are not already receiving this newsletter, please subscribe before entering. Entries accepted through August 13, 2018. Send entries to

Scavenger Hunt Prizes

Audio Guide Tracks

A.T.F.P. Audio Guide Tracks

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: MP3 Audio Guide Tracks. By Matthew Montfort. Ancient Future Music (2005). New Release! Companion MP3 Audio Guide Tracks Download- $24.95 (SALE 17.95): Buy 1 Now.

A set of 115 audio guide tracks of the exercises in Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities that enable learning by ear.

MIDI Groove Tracks

Ancient Rhythms – Future Grooves: MIDI Percussion Groove Tracks from the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India. Version 4.0. By Matthew Montfort. Ancient Future Music (1997. V. 4.0 2017). New Release! MIDI File Download- $24.95 (SALE 17.95): Buy 1 Now.

A complete set of 128 MIDI tracks that playback in Standard MIDI File compatible web browsers. For greater control or for use as rhythm tracks in audio productions, load them into a MIDI sequencer app (Mac, PC, iOS, Android, etc.) to loop tracks, change the tempo, or listen to individual parts. The files come arranged for General MIDI percussion and can be remapped to other instruments using the included MIDI maps.

Digital Liner Notes

Seven Serenades Digital Liner Notes

Educational Digital Liner Notes. 17 page .pdf of liner notes for Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar by Matthew Montfort. Explains the inspirations and musical concepts behind each serenade. Sheet music is included for those who want to delve deeper. $2.98 (SALE $2): Buy 1 Now.

Yearning for the Wind Digital Liner Notes

Educational Digital Liner Notes. 7 page .pdf of liner notes for Yearning for the Wind by Ancient Future. These entertaining and educational liner notes feature cover art, musicians biographies, and detailed explanations of the musical concepts of raga and tala behind the music. $1.98 (SALE $1.50): Buy 1 Now.

Planet Passion Digital Liner Notes

Educational Digital Liner Notes. 11 page .pdf of liner notes for Planet Passion by Ancient Future. The liner notes are a digital version of the cover art and comprehensive CD booklet, which details a mythical story of love through the musical traditions of the world. $1.98 (SALE $1.50): Buy 1 Now.

World Music Lessons Via Skype

Skype Pick Icon

And Other Multimedia File Exchange Methods

Private Lessons with Matthew Montfort

Now you can study any of the subjects on the education section of Ancient-Future.Com through private correspondence lessons (via Skype or any method of file exchange) with Ancient Future bandleader and guitarist, Matthew Montfort. Feel free to email with any questions you may have about how correspondence lessons can help you in your musical development!

© 2018 Ancient Future Music. All rights reserved.