Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
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By Dugafola
#28277
i hear ya carl.

i was actually trying to give you examples of what i think bubuti was talking about.

that's the thing with teaching dunun rhythms. do you attempt to teach around the beat or pulse? do you try to teach your students to reference the kenkeni as the beat? is it a big deal if they feel the kenkeni as the beat when playing the sangban and dununba parts? with or without jembe accomps? which accomps?

i think you answered the question in your last post: everyone learns different....and everyone will perceive the music differently. i think as along as the parts are played correctly w/ respect to the others is a good starting point. feeling and nuance come later.
By bkidd
#28292
first disclosure, i'm definitely a strong "one" person and lock into the pulse.

i've liked this discussion and definitely agree it's a tricky thing for learning dununba rhythms. there are two strong competing cycles. one is the kenkeni and the other is the djembe accompaniment. if i focus on kenkeni, this usually is a gateway for playing the dununs, but i get totally turned around in trying to hear the djembe or calls from the djembe. if i start with a djembe accompaniment, i can hold this, but the dunun line gets lost. maybe this is just experience and these perception difficulties will go away over time.

-brian
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By michi
#28299
bkidd wrote:maybe this is just experience and these perception difficulties will go away over time.
They will. Just keep playing dundunbas. Eventually, you'll find that there is a more "holistic" way of perceiving the different parts all at once. It's fun when that starts to kick in!

Michi.
By bubudi
#28308
michi wrote:
bkidd wrote:maybe this is just experience and these perception difficulties will go away over time.
They will. Just keep playing dundunbas. Eventually, you'll find that there is a more "holistic" way of perceiving the different parts all at once. It's fun when that starts to kick in!
this holistic way you're talking about is what i was getting at. while it's true that it will just eventually happen, i have found the analytical process just delays that.

carl, i see where you're coming from. your examples with the students match my own experience - the student who clings to notation tends to struggle with feel. the student who goes through a more natural process quickly grasps the feel. they'll lose other elements but after finding their way back in many times, they'll nail the accompaniment and how it fits together.

if the person who insists on notation is doing so out of a need to visualise as a visual learner, i ask you are there other ways to fulfil this learning need?
By bkidd
#28311
if the person who insists on notation is doing so out of a need to visualise as a visual learner, i ask you are there other ways to fulfil this learning need?
i love to notate rhythms and have done so for most of the rhythms and solo phrases i've been shown. visualizing everything laid out helps me organize everything and see how all the parts fits together. in addition, it's quite helpful to have notation as a reminder.

for me the best way for me to really nail a new rhythm is to study the notation for a little bit so i have an expectation of all the parts and how they fit, and then play some/all of the parts in an ensemble for a long while. the long while is key and is why playing for dance class is so great.

the visual aid helps me organize everything and calibrate my expectations for where parts should fit, which allows me to listen to the other parts and pay attention to the rhythmic nuances. if i don't have the roadmap/structure ahead of time, i try to create it while learning, which makes everything more difficult in the learning process.

-brian
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By Dugafola
#28312
How about watching it get played on a video?

A friend spent months in upper guinea and a majority of his footage is of the sangban and dununba player. You can see what variations correspond to the other and all the bell patterns.

Seems visual enough to me.
By bkidd
#28318
Videos would probably be great. I've had good experiences learning from DVDs and I definitely learn from watching people play parts.
User avatar
By alifaa
#28324
bubudi wrote:if the person who insists on notation is doing so out of a need to visualise as a visual learner, i ask you are there other ways to fulfil this learning need?
I use notation (especially the task of putting things into Percussion Studio) not to learn the feel of the rhythm, but to know how it is put together, and be able to recall the parts. The feel comes from playing it over, and over, and over, and over.....

The notation is a mental picture for me on how it looks, so I can remember what comes next, and it also helps to explain to other students who may be struggling with a particular part (this bass is on the beat, the tones are off, etc).

Works for me, but every person learns differently.
By Daniel Preissler
#28360
hello.
I've written an article concerning this thread's subject: http://djembefola.com/blog/articles/the ... ndun-music
I have taken some of the questions of the first postings. This might not be the final version. I might do some little corrections during the next few months or even years (definitions, links, explenations).
I'm sorry for the delay, I started some weeks ago, but after some "break", I only finished it last Saturday. I hope you like it!
best, Daniel
By bkidd
#28362
Thanks for writing up your thoughts and observations on the various aspects that support an understanding of the concept of "one" in djembe and dunun music. It was nice to read about the dancer's point of view as I've learned by watching their steps that something like this had to be true, but I lack the broader view and don't have any experience with traditional fetes.

Best,
-Brian
By Daniel Preissler
#28363
I would like to add:
Thanks to Jürgen (djembefeeling) for correcting quite a few mistakes!
Thanks to James for adding the article to the blog!
User avatar
By e2c
#28365
Thanks Daniel, Jürgen and James!

I appreciate what you're doing, though for me, well... "the one" doesn't matter so much, at least not in the sense that we Westerners tend to think of it.

That section on "anchor points" is excellent. :)
User avatar
By Carl
#28413
bubudi wrote:if the person who insists on notation is doing so out of a need to visualise as a visual learner, i ask you are there other ways to fulfil this learning need?
In my experience, this kind of visual learner needs the notation most when they are NOT in class. For example, there are a few of my students that I only have to give them the "hairy eyebrow" during class, and all of the "notes" go away... :-)

As to other ways of fulfilling this need, see my comment below...
Dugafola wrote:How about watching it get played on a video?

A friend spent months in upper guinea and a majority of his footage is of the sangban and dununba player. You can see what variations correspond to the other and all the bell patterns.

Seems visual enough to me.
Ok, going off to the deep end of learning theory here...

This is going to sound strange, but watching a video works best for what is called a "kinesthetic" learner in this theory, which means that they learn by physically doing the thing. (it may seem like I'm splitting hairs here, but I am translating western learning theory to this discussion, I have a 400+ page book which outlines this specific theory, and it is now "accepted practice" in most school systems/teacher training's.)

Now to some fun stuff. (attn: bubudi!)

The visual learner in this theory tends to function in a physical "spatial" sense of sight. More like a architect then a writer. (Reading text is a "linguistic" act)

In this theory, they have a separate grouping for "musical intelligence".

(intelligence roughly translated to the type of learner in this discussion, could be translated as "musical learner", but the waters get muddy really fast at that point!)

You would think that composers, as people who write/create music would be classified in this group, but they are not, they are in what is called the "Spatial intelligence" which I usually refer to as "visual learners". As it turns out, they found that composers use the same part of their brain when composing as architects do when they are designing. So it is less about "seeing and reading" what is on the page, but more about having a visual representation of the proportions of times involved in the rhythm. (owch, that sentence hurt MY brain, and I'm the one who came up with it!)

For myself, I have a classical musical education, I've been "reading" music for decades. As it happens, when I "visualize" music, I am NOT visualizing notation, but something a lot more abstract which has to do with how I 'hear" structure, and how I feel "weight" in music and whatnot. The easiest way to translate these feelings would be to either play what I am "seeing" or to notate what I am "seeing". as you can imagine, if I am "seeing" more that one part (like a set of dunun rhythms) I can't play it all at once! (usually) So the easiest thing for me to do would be to write it down. In iether case, the writing is a translation of what is happening in my head, not an actual representation.

now on to Bubudi's question... what other ways are there?

In my opinion, this is extremely difficult to answer. I have an idea, but I need to leave soon, so I will put out a quick example, and then I will up my need to get to that blog post I've been thinking about.... [djembe learning theory!] yes, I am that much of a geek..

Some observations:
Singing learners (if they can sing it, they can play it) pick it up the quickest, once they hear me play it, they can usually play it back. They have a 50/50 chance of remembering it the next week.

kinesthetic learners usually get it by the midpoint of class, need to start and stop a bunch of times so they can "get in and out" of it. This group has the most memory problems from week to week, but they usually get the "feel" faster than the singing learners, I believe this has more to do with the ability to control their hands then necessarily "understanding" the timing.

Visual learners tend to learn in the kinesthetic timing, but they have GREAT retention from week to week (if I give them notation). They also tend to have more tunes "on call" than the other learners.

If you do not regularly give out notation in your class, I would suggest that you help your visual learners to find a way of notating on their own, then make sure they record the class, then make their own notations before the next class. This is mostly how I work, I record a class, only taking notes for handing issues, or important cultural information that I want to "anchor" for later. The next week, or sometime years later... :-( I transcribe everything, then I am set to go.

Most people use all of these learning styles and more, however one or two of the specific styles tend to dominate in the individual, for myself I am Visual first, then Kinesthetic, then Singing, but on particularly difficult material, all three come to bare.

One final example: my student who is MOST visually oriented also happens to be a photographer, more interesting is the fact that he specializes in Architectural Photography! ... I just realized that while writing this post... something to think about...

Off to get new glasses!

Carl

PS: @Afoba, no time to read your blog, but you just got on the "short list" 8)

:uglynerd: :uglynerd: :uglynerd:
The book I referenced:
"Frames of Mind: The theory of Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner, Published by Basic Books (at least my 20+ year old eddition of it, not sure what is current)
:uglynerd: :uglynerd: :uglynerd:
User avatar
By michi
#28417
Thanks for that post, Carl. Your observations line up pretty much with my own. We make it a point to hand out a sheet with information about each new rhythm we teach. It has all the cultural info about the rhythm, usually a few relevant images (such as a picture of a Dibon for Dibon ;) ), and the notation. That's precisely to help those people who get it more via the visual path than the auditory path.
Carl wrote:now on to Bubudi's question... what other ways are there?
Personally, I fall in the singing group. I need to be able to feel the rhythm, and singing it is the quickest way for me to understand it.

But even stronger for me is what I would call "tactile" learning. The sensation of impacts and movement of my hands makes a pattern that is unique and a very strong "marker" for me. When I'm having problems remembering a rhythm or a phrase, I usually first try to sing it. If I can't recall things by singing and the melody just won't come to me, I just try playing it. It turns out that, quite often, that tactile memory is stronger for me than the auditory one. I start a movement pattern and the pattern almost completes itself and, bingo, there is the melody and the rhythm.

I don't know anyone else who "ticks" that way, although I suspect that quite a few people do. It's just that, without conscious thought and observation, these people probably have no idea how learning and recall work for them. Things just are as they are…

Cheers,

Michi.