Frame Drums II: Rhythmic Accompaniment, Ornamentation, and Improvisation

6 sessions - Self-paced

Course Description

In medieval Europe, frame drums were principally used to accompany dance songs, processional music, and instrumental compositions. Medieval sources reveal that skillful frame drummers stroke the instruments with both hands, utilized fast subdivision, applied complex shakes, and kept the instruments in constant movement (part of a visual effect that affected sound). The result was a vigorous and flashy performance that allowed subtle playing.

In this course students will study:


Study different types of hand, finger, and fist strokes


Study different types of shakes and upward/downward movement


Learn how to improvise utilizing the strokes and movements learned in the course


Learn to accompany pieces of the medieval repertoire utilizing the strokes and movements learned in the course


Explore some applicable medieval Arabic rhythms

Octavio BeltránInstructor:
Octavio Beltrán



February 19 to June 10, 2024
6 sessions – Self-paced




1 credit ECTS: 360€


English - Spanish


Level 2 / Intermediate


The student should have taken Frame Drums Beginner course or have experience playing frame drums. 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 | Rhythmic modes I and II (trochaic and iambic) and the hemiola

Session 2 | Combination of the basic hand and finger rudiments and Rhythmic Ornamentation

Session 3 | Tambourine Movement I and their Application Simple Rhythmic Ornamentation

Session 4 | Tambourine Shakes and their Application to Complex Rhythmic Ornamentation

Session 5 | Finger Rudiments: Subdivision and Rolls

Session 6 | Accompanying Vocal and Instrumental Pieces 


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: