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How many drummers play hand percussion?


jamoflage

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I have played drumset for about 17 years, and in the last 10 years, I have also become equally obsessed with hand percussion. Congas, djembes, and doumbeks etc.... I believe that studying the traditional world rhythms can improve our drumset playing, and sense of rhythm in general. I have been studying with a master percussionist from tunisia specializing in arabic and north african rhythms. They have a language of percussion consisting of 3 letters; DOUM (corresponding to the low open tone), TEK (corresponding to the slap or mid tone), and AZZ (corresponding to the high tones). The middle eastern tamboreen, or 'riq' has been my learning tool for arabic rhythms, and since it has very specific tones that correspond to the rhythmic alphabet, the rhythms can ealily be translated to the kick, snare, hi hat, format of a drumset. Learning these rhythms has changed my whole perspective on drumming.

What does everybody think of all this?

Any hints or tips? Resources? Websites?

 

thanks

Jam-o-flage

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Jam-o-flage:

Can you elaborate on this technique with the Doum, Tek, and Azz?

 

Describe how you translate the spoken into playing and then how you apply that to the drumset.

 

Thanks,

DJ

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The syllables he is referencing to are just a vocal way of translating the rhythms ... not having to write them down per se.

 

For example, a popular rhythm played in Egyptian folk and urban music is the Baladi. In Arabic, baladi means country, which could mean "of the country" or "of the people". When played slowly, this rhythm is referred to as a baladi; when performed moderate or fast it is called a maqsum.

 

In 4/4 time, the syllable or language would look like this:

 

DOUM TEK - TEK DOUM - TEK -

 

or

http://bartelliott.com/lessons/images/baladi.jpg

 

DOUM = open tone using all the fingers together (like on a conga). It could be thought of as a bass or kick sound when playing drumset grooves.

 

TEK = high harmonic stroke played by the ring finger (traditionally), catching part of the head and the rim of the drum. It could be thought of as a snare sound when playing drumset grooves.

 

There are many other syllables and variations, but these are the basics.

 

More info than you want, but I thought I would share.

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

 

This message has been edited by Bartman on 07-06-2001 at 07:51 PM

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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No ... actually Bart ... Most of us that study the traditional drumset ... and in my case ... studied Timpani as well, have missed this great horizon of drumming.

 

This sounds fascinating and is the pinnacle of beauty regarding what this forum should be offering folks!

 

I want more!

 

DJ

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North and South India have the most complex of "music languages" ... too much to tackle in this post.

 

The language used for the African Djembe is as follows:

 

GHUN or DHUN = Bass Tone

GO or DO = Open Tone

PA or TA = Slap Tone

 

It's pretty cool how a rhythm can be shared vocally before actually having to play it. Very effective in cultures that may not have a notation system. Don't worry ... I won't get started on the importance of reading music and music notation. Dendy can direct you to a thread from a month or two ago if you want to hear me vent; actually that would be read not hear. LOL

 

Here in the West we have adopted a non-standardized vocal communication for the drums ( BOOF - BAP - BOOF BOOF BAP - ) which is effective for the most part. Just by imitating the sounds we hear, we are able to communicate our musical thoughts to others without having to physical play them. The Arabic, Indian and African music languages are definately going to do more for you since they are recognized in each culture ... respectively. You could still use these syllables for communicating drumset grooves ... or better still, take the rhythms these cultures have to offer and apply them to the drumkit. It's not a new concept ... been going on for decades ... but if it's new to you, it's yet another thing you can try to squeeze into this life before your body returns to the dust from which it was made.

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Thats right on Bartman, I have yet to get into the traditional djembe rhythms, or even buy a djembe. Its a whole new world that I have yet to explore formally... The whole north and south India thing is also another area that could be studied for a few lifetimes... I have tablas, and can get the tones out of them, but I don't know any traditional rhythms.

My initial desire would be to learn the basic 4/4 and 6/8 'folk' rhythms of these cultures, and to compare them with the basic afro-cuban/latin and arabic rhythms that I do know. Then I search for any 'trends' or similarities between them. And I wonder why these rhythms 'move the people', and if there are some 'universal rhythmic ideals' that we are striving for, that make people feel good!

I guess this would be the whole 'Shamanistic' side of drumming...to change peoples' state of mind...let them forget their problems. Basically the same as the purpose of good music today. And one area of today's music where I have noticed a lot of 'shamanistic' elements is in the electronic music scene...lots of people dancing for hours to a rhythm that never stops (due to DJ mixing). This seems to be a very refreshing experience for the soul. Its trance inducing, and there is even a genre called 'trance'. The tempo is between 120 and 130 bpm with a steady kick on the quarter notes, and a hi hat on the up beat. Beneath this basic dance beat,(for house music, techno, trance, etc.), I have heard other 'universal' trends of rhythm that are very similar to traditional rhythms of several cultures. For instance, in a four bar phrase, I often hear an open low percussive tone on the "and" after the 2, and on the "and" after the 4. The latin 'Guaguanco' has the same thing, and so does the arabic/north african "ayub", and I have also heard Djembe players do a variation on this.

Another similarity that I have noticed between the traditional and the modern is in the area of 'drum and bass' or 'jungle' music. Its an electronic style at 160 to 180 bpm with fast steady beats, and tight syncopated breaks. A lot of the basic 'drum and bass' rhythms are also traditional arabic folk rhythms. One of them is the arabic 'yahlewe' which corresponds to a common pop music rhythm: Remember that cheesy song 'oh mickey youre so fine...' the drumbeat is like;

 

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

kick k k k

snare s s

hat h h h h h h h h.....repeat

 

thats a common 'drum and bass' rhythm and also the arabic 'yahlewe' where an open tone would correspond to the kick, and a slap tone would correspond to the snare. The only difference is that the snare/slap on beat '2' is the beginning or 'one' in the arabic version.

 

I hope I didn't confuse or bore anyone with my search for "universal rhythms" , I tried to be as concise as possible, and I still have a million more things to say... I love this forum, my producer/studio partner 'fuzzfactory' turned me on to it..

 

I know its hard to communicate rhythms with a typewriter, how else can we submit examples on this board? is there a standard? mp3?

 

Djarrett, I will get to elaborating on how I translate the rhythmic language of DOUM, AZZ, and TEK to the drumset...

 

more later Yall

jamoflage

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Hey I guess that my notation doesn't work. It got all garbled together!

 

heres another try at the 'yahlewe'

 

4 bar phrase:

 

snare on "2"

snare on "4"

Kick on "1"

kick on "and" after 2

kick on "and" after 3

hi hat on 8th notes

 

like I said, i need to figure out a better way of communicating rhythms!

peace

jamoflage

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Although vocalazations useful they are not necasarily universal. If you show up in Ghana saying GHUN DO PA they will probably think your speaking japanese. An excellent resource for afro cuban and brazillian are Ed Uribe's books they should be required reading for all people calling themselves drummers.

poo poo pee do rrrrrrrrrrrr

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Originally posted by riconga@charter.net:

Although vocalazations useful they are not necasarily universal. If you show up in Ghana saying GHUN DO PA they will probably think your speaking japanese. An excellent resource for afro cuban and brazillian are Ed Uribe's books they should be required reading for all people calling themselves drummers.

 

sigh .... here we go again.

 

I don't think anyone said anything about these drum languages being universal. There was talk about universal rhythms which I would think means rhythms that are well known in their originating culture.

 

No one said ANYTHING about there being a universal language. I disagree with your comments regarding drumming in Ghana. I think most drummers would understand fully ... especially if they are educated musicians. I'm sure that every region has different dialects, but these syallables work and are taught here in the West. I would site my teacher, African drumming master Babatunde Olatunji, as a source for my stance on this matter. Native professional African musicians know what's being taught, so they would more than likely be very aware what the syllables mean, even if they use something entirely different. Who cares really?! The point is that the verbal "notation" is an effective tool for communicating rhythms and complete compositions.

 

There are so many different dialects in India; North India and South India all have a wide collection of languages, as well drumming languages or gharana. For tabla there are six established gharana lineages (or schools) with most artists tracing themselves back to one or more of these schools. Although there are minor differences, there are two major approaches: Dilli and Purbi. They're different and yet are easy to catch on to. If you know one, the other(s) are not too hard to grasp. The syllables that are used sound just like the sound the drum makes when you play the stroke. It doesn't get any simplier than that.

 

The same holds true for the Djembe drumming languages. The syllables I mentioned are slowly becoming a standard for the instrument. Sure, there may be some slight differences or variations, but the point is that it is easy to apply and it works.

 

I do agree that Ed Uribe's books are a must read; thanks for suggesting those!

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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I think that the most basic 'rhythmic language' would contain 2 letters: Kick, and snare! or in other words; "BOOM" AND "CHICK", which could also be explained as: DOUM and TEK, or alternatively GHUN and PA, or simply "TONE" and "SLAP". This seems like 'YIN' and 'YANG' or 'CALL' and 'RESPONSE' to me...

In the language that I am learning, the open, low tone is called 'DOUM', and the slap, is called 'TEK'. I find it obvious to correlate the low tone DOUM with the kick drum of a drumset. The snare drum which makes a mid-range slaplike tone corresponds to the TEK.

The third and last letter or sylable is the "AZZ" sound. The AZZ represents a weaker, higher pitched sound. This sylable is often used as simply a 'spacekeeper' to show the proper timing between the DOUMs and TEKs. The AZZ syllable also represents a time for 'embellishments' or 'flavors' to be added to the rhythm, while the DOUM and TEK are held constant.

 

Here is a list of some of the basic Arabic rhythms that I have learned from my teacher. (Najib Bahri)

Assume that each sylable occupies one beat,(quarter note or eighth note) and repeat...

 

Balady: 4/4 Probably the most common Arabic rhythm:

 

DOUM-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-AZZ

 

 

Maksum: 4/4 A simpler version of the Balady, usually played faster...

 

DOUM-TEK-AZZ-TEK-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-AZZ

 

 

Sahidi: 4/4 Another variation, and common belly dance rhythm.

 

DOUM-TEK-AZZ-DOUM-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-AZZ

 

 

Nawakt: 7/4 A seven rhythm, usually played slow( q=90-110BPM)

 

TEK-TEK-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-DOUM-AZZ

 

 

Aksak: 9/4 Similar to Nawakt with 2 extra beats:

 

TEK-TEK-DOUM-AZZ-DOUM-AZZ-TEK-DOUM-AZZ

 

 

Samahi: 10/4 A common classical Arabic rhythm, also played slow

 

DOUM-AZZ-AZZ-TEK-AZZ-DOUM-DOUM-TEK-AZZ-AZZ

 

 

Samahi Zarafet 13/4 similar to Samahi, with 3 added beats:

 

DOUM-AZZ-AZZ-TEK-AZZ-AZZ-DOUM-AZZ-DOUM-DOUM-TEK-AZZ-AZZ

 

When I play these rhythms on drumset, I just play the DOUM and TEK pattern on the kick and snare, and a steady eighth note pattern on the ride or hi hat. The AZZ notes can be embellished with syncopated 16th notes while still maintaining the timing of the DOUMs and TEKs.

 

I found that just learning these rhythms, especially the longer ones, really changed my sense of time. It takes a while to think of them as actual rhythms and to "hear" them, as opposed to thinking of them as just a string of sylables.

 

I agree with you Bartman about the specific language being not as important as getting the message across. Rhythm is a universal language, and of course, as they say, 'If it sounds good, it is good!'

 

By the way Bartman, you said you studied with Babatunde? Wow, I used to listen to that 'Drums of passion' record all the time... Its kinda one of those ones that got me into hand drumming in the first place. Unlike Arabic rhythms, which are played in 'unison' some of those west African, and Afro-cuban rhythms are really 'orchestrated' with, say, 2 bell parts, a high drum part, a mid drum part, etc, all different, but making a single 'vibe' of sound. Got any pointers or resources for these styles, or for African rhythms in general? I will try to get a copy of that book by Uribe....

 

bye for now

Jam-o-flage

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You know, there is a lot of material out now for the djembe; but I don't own any of it ... I need to add it to my library. Babatunde has two videos and there's a few other videos I've seen ... several that I would NOT recommend. Rather than being negative ... I'll compile a list of books and videos that I have seen for djembe that I WOULD recommend for anyone's library ... even if you are an advanced player.

 

I would recommend that you get on the Djembe-L mailing list if you want to catch more about djembe. Email me if you need more info about several organizations out there. I don't want to post a bunch of stuff here out of respect to MusicPlayer.com.

 

So I have a question about the AZZ. I'm not familar with that syllable, but looking at the rhythms you posted, which I also play, it seems that the AZZ is the "feathered" strokes or "ghost" strokes. Are you basically playing a non-accented TEK?

 

Fill me in ... I want to learn. The other question about that is ... do you believe that AZZ is a "standard" syllable or is this something your teacher came up with. I consider myself an advanced Doumbec player, and yet I'm not familar with AZZ ... so I've always got something new to learn obviously.

 

Peace.

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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hey Bartman...

 

My teacher tells me that the 'AZZ' is part of the standard notation that he learned. He was trained at the music conservatory in Tunis, where he specialized in Arabic tamboreen or ('Riq' or 'Tar'), Darbukah (a clay drum like a dumbek, but with rounded countours) and frame drum.

The basic difference between the AZZ and the TEK, as I have learned, is that the AZZ is played with the left hand, while the DOUMs and TEKs are played with the right hand. Since the darbukah is rested on the left thigh, the left hand rests on top of the drum, and is in a less dominant position to make a loud stroke. So essentially what you said is correct, on a darbukah the AZZ sounds like an unaccented TEK. On a tamboreen which is held with the left thumb and forefinger, the AZZ is played on the jingles with the left middle or ring fingers while the DOUM and TEK are played with the right hand...Thus on tamboreen, the AZZ stroke is much more distinct, and sounds much more like the word "AZZ".

I have found that learning these rhythms using the left hand on the AZZ strokes, leads to a more practical knowlege of how the rhythms fit together, and better control when playing fast... Of course, once familiar with the rhythm, many different styles of playing and hand techniques emerge.

I have seen some websites with these same rhythms where they use something like 'KA' instead of 'AZZ'. There must be several variations. Maybe the AZZ is more orriented for tamboreen...My teacher was trained in the 'Andalucian' styles that came to north Africa from Granada. I am still not to clear on the exact difference between darbukah styles and doumbek styles. I know they are similar, but isn't the doumbek more of a Turkish thing?

One thing I do find practical about AZZ instead of KA is that it rolls off the tounge more smoothly when followed by TEK or DOUM...

AZZ TEK AZZ DOUM as opposed to KA TEK KA DOUM....

 

Adios!

j

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Great info on the AZZ ... thanks!

 

Yeah, it would make since that AZZ would apply more to the Rig since the left hand's ring finger is playing the zills ... which, to me, would sound like AZZ.

 

As far as Middle-Eastern instruments go, I play Riq, Tar, Doumbec, Darbukah and Muzhar. The instruments from India that I play are Tabla, Dholak and Khanjira.

 

As far as the Doumbec origination ... man, that instrument is all over the Middle-East ... including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and others. I'd have to puruse my files to get an exact answer on that one. I would venture to say that no one knows the "exact" origination of the instrument ... but I could be wrong.

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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