Adding basses

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Adding basses

Postby michi » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:04 am

This post was prompted by Carl's post on adding basses. Carl, we must be living in parallel universes or something... :)

A few weeks ago, I started doing a warm-up exercise with my students. Start off with the basic 12/8 accompaniment:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
s.ts..s.ts..

In each 2-beat cycle, there are three unused micro-pulses. Start filling those with basses in all possible combinations. Here is the first one, turning the accompaniment into the Malian version with an extra pick-up bass:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
s.ts.bs.ts.b

Now play it like this instead, putting the bass at the other end:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
s.tsb.s.tsb.

The final way to add a single bass is to squeeze it in between the tone and slap:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
sbts..sbts..

That's all possible ways to add a single bass. Now work on the three possible ways of adding two basses:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
sbtsb.sbtsb.

And:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
sbts.bsbts.b

And the third one:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
s.tsbbs.tsbb

Finally, fill all three spare slots with basses:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
sbtsbbsbtsbb

The reaction I got from my students was instructive. Most of them seemed to have one of those "Aha!" moments, where a few light bulbs came on.

Then show them the following 36/8 part, which incorporates some of these ideas. (I learned that part from Epizo three years ago.)

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..1..2..3..4..1..2..3..4..
bssbttsttsb.s.tsb.sttsb.s.tsb.sttsb.

That part is surprisingly hard to play, requiring a fair bit of focus, and it sounds funky. (Work on the handing. Ideally, the part is played with strict "on-the-ghosting" handing or what some people call "hand over hand"--a note is played with whatever hand happens to fall on the corresponding micro-pulse if you ghost all the 8th notes.)

You can play the same game with the 4/4 passport accompaniment. It also has three unused micro-pulses that can be filled with basses, resulting in eight different accompaniments.

Now, if you really want to stretch students, repeat the exercise, but put basses in the slots between the micro-pulses, starting to play with the 16th notes. That's a real eye-opener for many people...

Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adding basses

Postby Dugafola » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:02 pm

i slap a little bass...
should i shave my moustache?
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Re: Adding basses

Postby Carl » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:30 pm

Nice, what rhythm is the 36/8 part from?

One of the things I like about this way of thinking, is that it helps your student's creativity. Forces them outside the box a bit. I've shown my students how to add and subtract from parts (or solos) to come up with their own parts. Not sure how many of them use it though.... :-)

C
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Re: Adding basses

Postby michi » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:41 pm

Dugafola wrote:i slap a little bass...

Nice one :)

Carl wrote:Nice, what rhythm is the 36/8 part from?

No particular rhythm--Epizo did this an exercise at the beginning of a class.

Cheers,

Michi.
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Re: Adding basses

Postby Djembe-nerd » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:56 pm

And:


Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..


Not too sure, but that looks like an accomp for Sunguru Bani
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Re: Adding basses

Postby bubudi » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:08 am

epizo is the king of warmup exercises :) i can remember the early days when he'd flog the class through 30 mins or more of warmup on difficult combinations. he lost some students this way but wasn't worried about it. as far as he was concerned, it separated those who wanted to progress from those who were simply there to passively pass an hour and a half in his class.

michi, would you be interested in sharing some other warmups from epizo and others in another thread? i could add the ones i remember. bangourake doesn't usually drill the class on exercises but he'd sometimes start with a short round of playing phrases on his drum and having the class repeat them...or try to 8)

here's a few exercises with the basses that give you different dununba rhythm feels, based around the second accompaniment.

dunungbe sangban
Code: Select all
s . . s t t s . b s t t s . . s t t s . b s t t

dunungbe dununba
Code: Select all
s . . s t t s b b s b b s . . s t t s b b s b b

dununba kenkeni
Code: Select all
s . b s b b s . b s b b s . b s b b s . b s b b

konowulen
Code: Select all
s b . b t t s b b s b t s . . s t t s . . s b b

gbando
Code: Select all
s . . s t t s . b s b t s . . s t b s . b s b t

nantalomba sangban
Code: Select all
b . b s t b s . b s t t s . . s t b s . b s t t

common dununba pattern in dununba rhythms
Code: Select all
s b b s t t s b b s b b s b b s t t s . . s b b

dununba echauffement
Code: Select all
s b b s t t s b b s t t s b b s t t s b b s t t
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Re: Adding basses

Postby michi » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:38 am

bubudi wrote:epizo is the king of warmup exercises :) i can remember the early days when he'd flog the class through 30 mins or more of warmup on difficult combinations.

Yeah, he's softened up since, just like Mohamed and Sibo :)

he lost some students this way but wasn't worried about it. as far as he was concerned, it separated those who wanted to progress from those who were simply there to passively pass an hour and a half in his class.

From a purist's perspective, I can see how that makes sense. Doesn't make a lot of sense though if you are trying to cover costs for the camp... :)

michi, would you be interested in sharing some other warmups from epizo and others in another thread?

Sure! The only problem is that I might not remember them. I guess I can dredge them out of the depths of my memory over time. (That's another issue with Epizo disallowing recorders--I'd love to go back to some of the fancy accompaniments and warm-ups he's done over the years.)

i could add the ones i remember.

Please do!

bangourake doesn't usually drill the class on exercises but he'd sometimes start with a short round of playing phrases on his drum and having the class repeat them...or try to 8)

He did that last year at Bundagen. The phrase was the same that opens Fé 3 on Mamady's Volume 4 DVD. Here is a sound clip:

Fè 3 Excerpt.mp3
Fé 3 intro
(492.13 KiB) Downloaded 342 times

Here is the notation. "T" is a tone flam, and "S" is a slap flam. The flams are all played "lazy", that is, a little further spaced apart. If you listen to the sound clip, you get the idea.

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..1..2..3..4..
T.S.s.Tt.S.sb..b..b..b.b

Be careful with the notation--it doesn't capture the swing...

here's a few exercises with the basses that give you different dununba rhythm feels, based around the second accompaniment.

[...]

konowulen
Code: Select all
s b . b t t s b b s b t s . . s t t s . . s b b

That one's a humdinger! I'll have to work on that one, thanks! :)

Cheers,

Michi.
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Re: Adding basses

Postby michi » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:43 am

Adam wrote:
And:

Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
sbts.bsbts.b

Not too sure, but that looks like an accomp for Sunguru Bani

I don't think so. The parts for Sunguru Bani that I know are:

Part 1:
Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
bttbs.bttbs.

Part 2:
Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
b.sbttb..sbtt

Part 3:
Code: Select all
1..2..3..4..
s.btt.s.btt.

These are from "How To Play Djembe" by Dworsky and Sansby.

Similar feel, but not the same as any of the warm-up exercises.

There is also a recording of Sunguri Bani (which is totally awesome) on "Mali Drums: Old Masters" track 10. (I highly recommend that CD--it's brilliant!) But that version of Sunguru Bani is a totally different rhythm. (That one is a 4/4.)

Cheers,

Michi.
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Adding basses

Postby RexDavid » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:12 am

Hey fellow instructors,

The line I teach in the summers is adding a bass drum this season going from 4-5 basses and I was wondering if yall could speak to any challenges youve encountered if youve been through that same transition in the past.

I know for starters Im going to need to update all the exercises to include the 5th drum. If anyone could outline the role of each drum in part writing that would be super helpful. I want to gain a better understanding of how I should be thinking about each bass when composing.

Also, what else should I be on the lookout for? Anything at all.

Much Appreciated
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