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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Belly Dance Drum Solo Tips:
Accent Chains


By Saqra

Table of Contents



Creating Accent Chains

How It Works

Modern drum solos usually feature what should be clean, crisp drum accents layered over a rhythm. If this is a live drum solo, the drummer should be presenting an accent series, then repeating it 2 or 4 times with minimal variation, which makes live solos more predictable when trying to improvise.

Note: If this is a recorded drum solo, it might not repeat the way live drummers do, but the chaining technique is still extremely valuable.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.

If you can anticipate the accent series (for example, you just heard it once and you expect three more), it is very easy to make creative and interesting accent series that do not confound your audience. Overlay your pop, lock and drop techniques onto a simple isolation.* The simple isolation could be hip figure 8, circle, slide, belly roll, undulation, arm move, chest move, or anything else you like. Just use a simple isolation.

Stopping neatly along the line of an isolation gives a visibly clean chain of locks, pops, or drops. You could think of these as "stop accents". The location of the actual stops along the line can vary tremendously so this is an inexhaustible supply of chained accent moves.

The only limit to how many stops you can place on a single line is what you are able to do with body control. The audience is already looking at the correct part, so the moves do not have to be large, just visible and clean.

It is very easy to chain without much prior planning.

*A separate installment in these these drum solo tips explores pops, locks, and drops in more detail, along with tips on how to determine when you should and should not be popping and locking like crazy.



Example: Music goes: "Boom, Boom — Boom, Boom, Boom". You have 5 accents in the music that you can use.

Starting with a simple horizontal forward hip figure 8 and some lock technique, you can do an infinite number of different things. Here are a couple of possibilities to help you start thinking about it:

Idea #1

Hip back right corner of the 8
Hip fwd right corner of the 8
Stomach lock in
Hip back left corner of the 8
Hip fwd left corner of the 8

Idea #2

Hip back right corner of the 8
Hip to center of right side of the 8
Hip fwd right corner of the 8
Hips centered beneath you
Hip back left corner of the 8

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.

This technique keeps you from just flinging one of these and one of those confusing accent series at your audience, and keeps you from being completely dependent on combinations you have memorized.

Old style teachers: stop wincing. In another of my drum solo tips I talk about when accents are appropriate. I started in 1977 so I was trained in traditional style and I know there are a lot of older instructors that despair over Pop/Lock/Drop. I swear it can be used well, and I'll explain it!!




Related Articls



About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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