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African Drumming Techniques - Tone, Slap and Bass by Rob Haigh






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African Drumming Techniques - Tone, Slap and Bass by
Article Posted: 03/28/2011
Article Views: 308
Articles Written: 22
Word Count: 538
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African Drumming Techniques - Tone, Slap and Bass


 
Music,Advice,Education
I was once told by one Djembe Master (Mamady Keita) that there are over 36 different sounds that you can get from the djembe and one night when I heard Mamady playing a 25-minute djembe solo, I must have heard him make almost all of them. He was able to make the djembe 'talk' and 'sing' in a melodic way that truly inspired me and the rest of the appreciative audience.

There are, however, only 3 basic hand techniques; the 'Tone', the 'Slap' and the 'Bass'.

African Drumming Techniques - Tone

The tone is played on the edge of the drum and the fingers should be relaxed yet held together so that there is no space between the fingers. The hand should be positioned such that only the whole of the length of your fingers (but not any part of the palm) make contact with the skin. Please remember to raise your thumb so that you do not damage it when you hit the drum. The note is played by raising your hand about 6 inches above the drum (bending at the elbow only) and striking the drum positively but not hard (volume comes from technique, not strength). To get a clear note the hand should immediately be raised again as soon as it has struck the drum.

African Drumming Techniques - Slap

The slap is played on the edge of the drum (exactly the same place on the drum as the tone note) and the fingers should be relaxed again but this time allowed to open slightly. Gain, please remember to raise your thumb so that you do not damage it when you hit the drum. The note is played by raising your hand about 6 inches above the drum (bending at the elbow only) and striking the drum positively but not hard (volume comes from technique, not strength). To get a clear note the hand should immediately be raised again as soon as it has struck the drum. Many people think that a good slap comes from striking the drum hard; it isn't. DO NOT STRIKE THE DRUM HARD WHEN LEARNING TO PLAY THE SLAP - YOU WILL SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HANDS. Rather, the crisp, clear slap sound comes from relaxing the fingers when they strike the drum. Keep trying and experimenting with finger and hand placement until you hear the right sound.

African Drumming Techniques - Bass

The bass is played in the centre of the drum and the fingers should be relaxed yet held together so that there is no space between the fingers. Please remember to raise your thumb so that you do not damage it when you hit the drum. The note is played by raising your hand about 6 inches above the drum (bending at the elbow only) and striking the drum positively but not hard (volume comes from technique, not strength). To get a clear note the hand should immediately be raised again as soon as it has struck the drum.

Please visit our website for diagrams and more instruction.

About the Author: Mike is the owner and webmaster of African Drumming where you can find great instruction on African">http://www.african-drumming.co.uk/african-drumming-techniques.html">African drumming techniques

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