Hear Popular Middle Eastern Instruments at Terrace!


Though Middle Eastern music can be difficult to define, certain instruments have emerged as cultural staples, regardless of geopolitical and social origins. Before heading to Terrace Restaurant to hear some authentic Middle Eastern musicians, learn a little about some of the culture’s most popular instruments!

The Oud

The Oud

One of the most popular stringed instruments used in Middle Eastern music, the oud is a pear-shaped lute with between four and 12 nylon or steel strings. Unlike a traditional guitar, though, the oud’s neck has no frets; this allows the musicians to play chromatic scales and notes in any intonation.

The Qanoun


A descendant of the Egyptian harp, the qanoun is a stringed instrument with 86 strings and a series of adjustment levels, giving the qanoun player the freedom to choose (and subsequently alter) virtually any pitch. To play the qanoun, the instrument is placed flat on the knees of the musicans and plucked with a finger or plectra.



Called a kaman or kamanjah in Arabic, the European violin replaced the two-string Egyptian fiddle in the 1800’s and has since become an mainstay in Middle Eastern ensembles. Though different tunings can be used, traditional Arab music typically calls for a G3, D4, G4, D5 tuning. The playing style, too, includes many slides, trills, vibratos, double stops, and often uses an open string for a drone note.

The Darbuka


Because percussion plays a large part in Middle Eastern music, almost every ensemble, band, or singer will usually have at least one drum accompaniment. The Ddarbuka is a goblet-shaped, single-headed drum played with both hands, and is capable of producing deep base beats when struck in the center, and more tinny, tek rhythms when struck closer to the edge. Extremely popular in mainstream Middle Eastern culture, the darbuka is often played at festivals and weddings.

The Riq


The riq is a type of tambourine with a goat skin head stretched over a wooden frame. The five sets of brass symbols produces the “jingling” sound inherent in most Arabic music.



Pianos, as well as electric pianos, electric organs, and synthesizers have found their way into mainstream Middle Eastern music, and many modern performers use the piano as their main form of accompaniment. Singers often use the drum sets and electronic percussion beats on electronic pianos to produce catchy Arabic pop and/or dance music.


Maqamworld.com: http://www.maqamworld.com/instruments.html

Americanistan: http://www.americanistan.com/id13.html