The Riq is often considered a ‘tambourine’, but the similarities between the Riq and the modern western ‘tambourine’ stop at the jingles.
There are a variety of subtle hand motions that allow the uniqueness and vibrancy of the Riq shine. There is a great many sounds that can come out of such a simple instrument. There are two main ‘styles’ of playing the riq. The Hard or ‘Cabaret’ style involves playing the jingle with the dominant hand and non-dominant hand, while the non dominant hand balances the Riq between the thumb and fore finger. The ‘soft-style’ technique requires the drum to rest on both hands – almost as if one is holding a plate in-front of them. The tonality of the drum is controlled by muting and un-muting the head in quick succession, while playing very gentle strokes with the fingers.