Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
By haworth
Any advice on tuning (pitch even) kenkedis?
I play with six - 4 on a ballet-style dundun and 2 played alone.
Many times I absolutely cringe at the dissonance created by my kenkedi hit at the same time as the sangban, for example.
I've asked by djembefolas about it - but they don't seem to notice the pitch issues.
We *could* tune these harmonically - but that seems a little extreme.
Any advice?
Anyone else cringe when instruments play in minor2nds?

Dubreka, Guinea
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By michi
haworth wrote: Anyone else cringe when instruments play in minor2nds?

It seems that, traditionally, tuning doesn't matter (in the sense of the exact interval between the drums). What does seem to matter though is that they are clearly distinguishable in pitch, even if the interval is strange to a western ear.

When I come across dunun that don't sound right to me, I just tune them until I like them. Not necessarily to a major third; just so that they sound "nice". (And weird intervals can indeed sound nice.)


By bubudi
hi janice, i also like to tune my drums so that they create a harmonic 'melody', but i should stress that's your western trained ear causing that cringing :) west african sense of aesthetics can be very different from ours (just check out some of the traditional sculpture). to an african djembefola it matters more that you can hear the different drum parts so some tuning may be necessary and certainly some djembefolas do tune them to intervals that are pleasing to western ears. it depends on their exposure to various types of music, which in turn influences one's personal sense of aesthetics.

i personally don't follow any rules when it comes to tuning drums. i found that trying to aim for 4ths didn't necessarily work for all drums or situations. it depends how the drums are sitting with each other (as well as the amount of time i have before the session) as to how i will tune them!

also, if you're hearing a really unpleasant buzz, just remove the remo. sorry, couldn't resist putting that in :lol: