Frame Drums I: Technique & Repertoire

6 sessions - Self-paced

Course Description

Handheld frame drums were popularly used in the music of the Middle Ages. Medieval sources record three different types: a round frame drum without jingles, a round frame drum with jingles inserted in its shell, and a frame drum of square shape. Professional and non-professional musicians utilized them to accompany vocal and instrumental dance and processional music. Fortunately, medieval sources provide us with crucial information about their practical use, playing technique, and performance practice which, when combined with other medieval theories of rhythm, can guide us towards a historically-informed way of playing and using the instruments.

In this course students will study:


The holding position of both round and square frame drums


Different types of strokes utilizing fingers, the palm, and the wrist


Rhythmic patterns based on the medieval rhythmic modes (trochaic and iambic)


How to mix and ornament rhythmic modes


How to accompany songs with those patterns


How to ornament a rhythmic pattern  

Octavio BeltránInstructor:
Octavio Beltrán



Sep 12, 2022 – Jan 13, 2023
6 sessions – Self-paced




Non-credit: 300€
1 credit ECTS: 360€


English - Spanish


Level 1 / Beginner


No experience is required. Student must have basic musical knowledge and be able to read modern music notation.

Any type of commercial or handcrafted frame drums can be used in this course. Please check with us.


frame drumsSession 1 | Round Frame Drums: Instrument position – Basic Strokes (Dum, Vak, Ke)

Session 2 | Movement of the instrument – Use of the Fingers, Thumb, and Shake

Session 3 | Rhythmic Ornamentation – The Use of the Index Finger, the Hit, and the Tak Strokes

Session 4 | Square Frame Drums: Instrument Position, Basic Strokes

Session 5 | Ensemble Playing and Orchestration

Session 6 | Accompanying Vocal and Instrumental Compositions 

Teaching Methodology

This course will be comprised of:

    • 6 virtual one-on-one lessons (1 hour each)
    • Recorded introductory lecture or one group live Q&A session (30 min)
    • 6 tutorial videos (10-15 minutes each)
    • Downloadable materials and links to additional resources

Schedules and assignments:

    • The class dates and times will be scheduled with the instructor.
    • There will be some suggested deadlines to submit assignments.
    • The student workload to take the lessons, review the materials and practice is approximately 4.25 hours per session.
    • Students taking the course for credit must complete all assignments and class requirements.

Technical Requirements

    • Broadband Internet connection / WIFI

    • External or internal webcam
    • External or internal microphone
    • Speakers or headphones
    • Possibility of printing downloaded materials
    • Possibility of scanning your assignments
    • Possibility of auto-recording (audio and video)

Enroll Now

Places are limited for each section, so sign up early.

The International Course of Medieval Music Besalú offers singers and instrumentalists the possibility of studying the repertoires of monodic and polyphonic music composed between the 11th and 13th centuries.

With the support of: