Discuss drumming technique here
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By Dugafola
#14966
Waraba wrote:
Here is a clip of Famoudou Konaté's recording "Rhythmen Der Malinke". This is from Sofa (track 17). You can hear three distinct pitches of slaps about 15 seconds into the clip.
So, where can I find this recording? Not on Amazon or iTunes. Is there an MP3 version, or only hard disk?

BTW, the whole discussion is great.
you definitely need to buy this album!!! it's a classic...top 5 material indeed!

daouda kourouma is featured on dununba. my favorite dununfola...powerful and very very raw...he's a beast.
By mattski
#14985
you definitely need to buy this album!!! it's a classic...top 5 material indeed!
Awesome... what a great looking track listing - I wish I'd found that CD a while ago.
Thanks for the link Michi. I've just ordered it, with a little help from google translate. :)
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By Djembe-nerd
#15514
Here is another example, clip from Mamady - Sila laka - Djabara - about 2.40 secs in
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By James
#15522
So Michi, if you've figured this out, any tips? Anyone else?

I've tried slapping with stiff fingers, that's not it.

I've tried slapping with 2 fingers and toning with 2 fingers, that's not it.

I've tried slapping from a different angle, slapping in different places, but still not joy....

I can't wait 9 years! ;)
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By e2c
#15525
James, have you tried letting your fingers relax and allowing your hand to cup just a bit? (Frame drum thing that I sometimes use playing djembe.)

Not sure that that kind of stroke will produce what you're looking for, but I figure it's worth a shot. You might try varying the angle a bit - it'll definitely give you some different tonal colors to work with.

Edited to add: I play the above with a slight wrist flick, but that's just me. Might not work for others.
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By Djembe-nerd
#15527
I get this (OK, kind of :-) ) by doing what e2c said, cup the fingers as you hit the surface. I am still experimenting with the place (going nerer to the rim than a slap) but actually it happens automatically when you cup the hand. Also tried Michi's advice of using 3 fingers (not using pinky). And in a stream of 10-12 roll I have got 50% success. It comes and it goes away.
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By e2c
#15528
Djembe-nerd wrote:I get this (OK, kind of :-) ) by doing what e2c said, cup the fingers as you hit the surface. I am still experimenting with the place (going nerer to the rim than a slap) but actually it happens automatically when you cup the hand. Also tried Michi's advice of using 3 fingers (not using pinky). And in a stream of 10-12 roll I have got 50% success. It comes and it goes away.
It seems to be happening for me with a slight cupping of the hand, though I really don't know if I'm getting a "3d slap" per se, at least not in the way it's being discussed here. (and d-n, am sure your dholak technique might be helping with this.)

I do get a lot of pretty interesting sounds and tonal variations, though. :) Having relaxed fingers, palm and wrist is important to getting this. (Wish i could video it so you could see and hear what i'm trying to explain - words are awkward when it comes to this kind of thing.)

With Middle Eastern frame drum technique, there's a lot of emphasis on creating subtle modulations of sound as well as strong contrasts between different kinds of sounds. So that's my background... no reason not to try it on djembe!

Also... I think it helps a lot in playing djembe (overall) to work on having relaxed arms, etc. That allows the motion of arm and hand to be more fluid, which means that you're not muscling your way through the strokes, you're not stiff, and in turn, your hands and arms aren't being stressed so much and are freer to strike the head of the drum in different ways. (It also helps per injury prevention.)

I think I'm going to try Duga's waist belt idea to help me be able to play with a more relaxed lower body - seems that when my legs get tense, my upper body gets tense, too - and that's uncomfortable! (Getting tired of having to think about this when I'm playing.)

[/end digression]
User avatar
By michi
#15668
James wrote:So Michi, if you've figured this out, any tips? Anyone else?
[...]
I can't wait 9 years! ;)
One of the many things the djembe taught me: patience :)

Here is a sound clip of my third slap:
Third slap demo
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This is nowhere near as clear as I would like it. Especially when playing a pattern such as passport, I'd like to be able to work out the tonepalo hits much more clearly. It'll take me several months (years?) to perfect the technique, but at least it's a start.

Here is an image where I indicated the approximate impact areas for normal tone (yellow), normal slap (pink), and third slap (green).
IMG_4550.JPG
Tone (yellow), slap (pink), third slap (green)
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The spot for the third slap on the drums I tried (three different ones) is quite small, and even moving the impact point by very little (say, more than 2mm) can make the sound degenerate into a normal tone or slap. The spot is sensitive mainly to movement in or out: too far in or out, and the sound disappears. In the sideways direction, there seems to be more leeway: I get the sound anywhere within about 10cm from the spine. I can also play it at the point 90° to the spine, but it is much less pronounced there. Proximity to the spine seems to help.

Also, the spot isn't the same for each drum. It's at a slightly different distance from the rim for each of the drums. Tighter drums seem to make it easier to get the sound: I tried with a fairly low-tuned djembe, and couldn't get anything whatsoever.

I strike with only two fingers, near the finger tips, but not with the finger tips as I would for a slap. You can see the approximate contact patch in this image:
IMG_4552.JPG
Contact area for third slap
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When you try to find the resonance point, don't strike too hard. It seems easier to hear the overtones when you play quietly. Also, try and keep the contact patch small. Move around near the rim and tap lightly. Somewhere around there, you should find a spot where the pitch changes ever so subtly. Work that spot, and you should get there…

Oh yes, take all of this with a grain of salt, too. This is only how I do it, and other people may find the same or a different resonance by striking differently. But I do believe I'm on the right track. I demoed this to Bangouraké at Bundagen and he smiled and nodded. He also made a correction to my hand position that made it a little easier to transition between normal tones and slaps and the third slap: to strike a third slap, I have to turn my wrists in to get my fingers onto that resonance spot. Mohamed suggested to play the normal tones and slaps that surround the third slaps with the same turned-in wrists, so there is less overall movement. He's right: things are a little easier that way because there are no frantic hand movements.

Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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By e2c
#15669
It seems easier to hear the overtones when you play quietly.
Exactly. Also by using various intensities of pressure on the skin.

I found the nicest overtone spots on my Mali drum while messing around, just seeing what kinds of sounds I could make with a light touch and a left-hand press with the side of my hand. (that's borrowed from techniques for other kinds of drums.) The lighter the pressure with the hand that's doing the press, the easier it is to find the spots where the harmonics are most obvious - for me, at least.

Now, as to whether I can play a 3d slap... that's another thing entirely! ;)
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By Djembe-nerd
#15721
I am getting some success. the point is the same as Michi says, I getting it with 3 fingers excatly at the first joint of the fingers. I twist my wrists inside a little to get near to the rim . When I get it it all has to come together otherwise it becomes a slone (slap+tone) :giggle:

Difference between me an Michi. I am not playing the djembe at the spine, I am playing 90 degrees to the spine cos my djembe sound best there (the latest diamonds are there). It is tight and I think too that only a tight djembe will get you that 3rd slap or tonepalo.
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By Djembe-nerd
#15744
Here are 2 recordings of my trials at tonepalo/3rd slap. I thought I was getting it more with the right hand, but in the recording is not coming as evident as it was in the hearing.

anyway your thoughts, if any
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By michi
#15747
Looks like there suddenly is a bunch of newly-inspired people around here :)

It sounds like you are finding the resonance point. I'm not sure how that contrasts with your normal slap though. It seems that all the slaps in the recordings are tonepalo?

At any rate, I think the goal is to make the difference between the normal and third slap as pronounced as possible, just as that is the goal when play normal tone and slap.

One thing I can't do right now is to clearly differentiate the two slaps in pitch. (Well, nowhere near as clearly as Mamady anyway :) ) And it's hard to make the tonepalos as loud as a normal slap or tone too, so mine are quite anaemic right now...

Never mind, another few years of working on it will do it for sure ;)

Cheers,

Michi.
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