So, am I wrong? And if I did add micro-timing to my notation, *which* version would I choose?!
I do add microtiming into my notation, and it helps me a lot. I do work with a simple pulsation system like the one you can see in many of the discussions here on the forum, the djembefola notation system. but I use geometrical symbols like squares, circles, and triangles insted of letters just because I can see them better from a distance. I use a rough shift in the microtiming, and thanks to the symbols, I can see from the space between the symbols how close or distant they are to played. I do use only one spacing for one family of rhythms, and only in extreme instances of phrasing I care about additionals space between the symbols.
So why do I not just go for the easy solution that Jon recommended, writing something like LVV in the beginning? because I found that microtiming is not always continuous throughout one piece of djembe music. Sega Cissé for example, a Malian djembefola based in Bamako, plays some phrases in Sunu with a swing feel and then shifts to the typical SVVV feel of that rhythm. It would be hard to read my notation on that one by writing the feel above every single phrase. But with more or less space between the symbols I can see it quite easily. Or take some rhythm from the Dja family like Soko. Some phrases are played in a binary feel, some in the typical LVV, and some are played totaly straight in equidistance. As you said, this music is so complex, all these shift in the mcrotiming are important means to make this music rhythmically so interesting.
haworth wrote:Are we trying to *copy* their playing?
Yes and no, both. It helps me a lot to play along with a master or a recording of a master to get this differences in feel. I did not grow up in that amazing musical culture, so I have to work hard to get the tiny differences in feel -- it took some years to get used to it and it's still work in progress. Sometimes I play along my recordings over and over, until I get it. But mostly I work with my notation instead and play my own feeling that only roughly matches the original. Sometimes I do not even like the "original" way and feel free to change it into something I do like better...
...BTW, would be interesting to listen to some samples of the music you are talking about.