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Bell position and technique

Posted: Tue May 10, 2016 8:51 pm
by korman
I am trying to increase the speed of my dunun playing, but the bell is the element that holds me back. I use iron rebar rods (~4mm diameter) as strikers. I have my bell in the middle of the drum, wedged in between ropes, mouth facing towards me. What I don't like about this setup is that edges of my bells are quite sharp and I could eventually damage the rope, but having the bell hang freely is inconvenient when playing on a stand (could work if I had the drum on a shoulder strap though).

I mainly use the wrist movement when playing the bell with striker. Since the striker is so much smaller than drumstick, I have not found a way to use ring finger and pinky, and obviously using the forearm would be too loud. Maybe any of you have some technique suggestions for faster playing?

Do any of you use this Louis Cesar Ewande's double stroke technique?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-XGTRr5v2U
I guess it's not traditional, but with a lot of work it could be brought to higher speed than any single stroke technique. The downside is - at least on my bells - the edge sounds quite different and so the pattern will be accented in a non-traditional way.

Re: Bell position and technique

Posted: Wed May 11, 2016 5:04 pm
by Djembe04
-To attach the bell I recommend a bungee cord (rope or rubber).
Nice, secure and it damps the shrill bells.
-For your speed, I have one advice: practice makes perfect.
-Personally I'm not a big fan of the technique Ewande uses.

Re: Bell position and technique

Posted: Sat May 14, 2016 2:35 pm
by djembefeeling
I practiced to play as relaxed from my wrist as possible. It comes with the years. Be careful not to force the right technique in little time. I know two people I used to play with in bands who tried too hard and had to stop drumming altogether because due to their forced training they had chronic pain in their wrist. Personally, I do not have any ambition to differntiate different sounds on the bells. I like the music the way it used to be played...

Re: Bell position and technique

Posted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:21 am
by korman
At which speed (if any) is it acceptable to start simplifying bell patterns? Like move from cinquillo to tresillo or from double offbeat to single offbeat?
For example the dancers want Djole at 150bpm (or 160preferably), and I cannot do the double offbeat kenkeni bell at that speed anymore, but if I move the bell to downbeat (like on makru) it is playable still.

Re: Bell position and technique

Posted: Tue May 17, 2016 9:17 am
by djembefeeling
korman wrote:At which speed (if any) is it acceptable to start simplifying bell patterns?
I think there is no objective answer to that other than at whatever speed it stops to sound good you should simplify.
korman wrote:I cannot do the double offbeat kenkeni bell at that speed anymore
Originally they don't play the bell on the kensedeni in Hamana (well, doube offbeat patterns neither), so why not skip the bell altogether? Or just change the whole pattern to |..xx|..x.| or just play a single offbeat bell and a double offbeat on the skin or...

Re: Bell position and technique

Posted: Tue May 17, 2016 10:04 am
by korman
korman wrote:I cannot do the double offbeat kenkeni bell at that speed anymore
Originally they don't play the bell on the kensedeni in Hamana (well, doube offbeat patterns neither), so why not skip the bell altogether? Or just change the whole pattern to |..xx|..x.| or just play a single offbeat bell and a double offbeat on the skin or...[/quote]

It was just an example. But, well, Djole is not a Hamana rhythm anyway, and it's popular with dancers, who want it fast. If I can get enough people, we play with three horizontal dunun, MK&FK style. I like it when three bells are sounding together. If, say, only 3 people can come, then one will take vertical dunun set, because just one horizontal dunun with a bell will sound kinda sparse.