A place for teachers to discuss issues to do with teaching
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By michi
Maybe two months ago, I bought the Rhythm Reference from Drumskull. I bought all three sets. They live in my phone, so I have the reference with me all the time. Together, the three sets of recordings contain the djembe and dundun patterns for 50 rhythms, with variations for many of them. You get both traditional and ballet dundun patterns, also with variations.

I find this useful as a "dictionary" of rhythms, and as a memory aid. It's also great to have around when there is some argument (peaceful, of course ;-)) about how the parts for a particular rhythm should be played. The one thing you don't get with this is solos. I'm hoping that Drumskull will follow up and do a "Solo Reference"...

I think this is worth the money for anyone who's serious about learning more about traditional rhythms.


Last edited by michi on Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By e2c
I have them, too, and really like them as a reference tool. One of the more helpful things (for me) is that there are often several different djembe parts/arrangements taught, so that it's easy to compare various ways of playing the same rhythm.

They're well-recorded, too. I do wish the files were encoded at a slightly higher bitrate, but that's a very minor quibble.
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
I've got the ballet dunun set. I really like it. I think I was hoping for some crazy ballet riffs or patterns, but it was mostly straight forward. I was also hoping for more 3 drum rhythms, where a lot of the ballet rhythms are just two drums. The ballet set does the break, ballet arrangement, then the sangban (some very neat and complicated bell/drum patterns), then the whole rhythm together. I've learned a lot from it so far!
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
The one thing you don't get with this is solos. I'm hoping that Drumskull will follow up and do a "Solo Reference"...
DrumSkull is just providing the files. The Rhythm Reference Project is a separate company. And according to their website, they are working on a solo phrases reference to go with the group.

From the RR Website...
18. What other instruments are you planning to record?

We will continue to add instruments and expand into different genres. First
we will complete the series for West African drumming, beginning with Djembe
Accompaniments, Dun Dun Arrangements and Dun Dun Advanced Ballet, which have
already been recorded. Then we are adding Djembe Solo Phrases to go with
popular dance moves. Next will be Krin (log drums), Balafon (wooden
xylophone), and recording a wonderful voice for Songs, all of these will be
performed by masters in each field.

While we are finishing the West African projects, we will also start
recording Doumbek and Riqq from the Mideast and Nearest traditions, as well
as Tabla, and all the other traditions over time. Of course, the more
successful we are at sharing the first collections we sell, the more we can
invest in recording additional instruments.

Please support our goals by becoming a Registered Supporter, and do not
share these files with anyone else. Registered Supporters receive many
benefits and contribute to the preservation of the age-old tradition of
music in Guinea by funding a new school created by Fara Tolno for children
to learn in the traditional ways.
User avatar
By michi
Rhythm House Drums wrote:DrumSkull is just providing the files. The Rhythm Reference Project is a separate company. And according to their website, they are working on a solo phrases reference to go with the group.
Ah, I stand corrected, thanks!


User avatar
By dleufer
I bought the advanced ballet set and I was disappointed to be honest. I'm sure that it is accurate in that that is how people actually play ballet rhythms in Conakry but I was hoping for something more advanced. The ballet rhythms which I had made up myself (based on 3 dunun patterns) are actually more intricate and in my opinion they capture the melody better. But again, I'm sure the RR is an accurate recording of how ballet rhythms are played.

For me, I play dunungbe ballet style but I play the sangban with one hand (all notes) and with my non-dominant hand I play the dununba and kenkeni so I only miss out 2 kenkeni phrases per reptition. Again however, I prefer playing dunungbe split so I don't actually do this very often.

This is the best video I've seen of this style of three dunun playing

I worked out the basic Madan from this video and it sounds wicked. Still working on variations though!
By bubudi
oh yea that's a sweet video, and very masterful dunun playing, even if a bit busy.

from my feeling the ballet dunun patterns try to capture as much of the melody while making it easy to play at the speeds that the ballets play at. keeping all (or most) of the notes is not nearly as relevant to this style.

what you prefer is more of a transcription of 3 dunun parts played by one person, and it takes more skill and independence but also can be impractical at higher tempos (sidiki is making it look easy to play them fast, but he's not reaching the volume you would need for it to be heard in its context). i used to think that this is more of a style that african drum teachers developed as a way of teaching the melody when they didn't have 3 competent dunun players, and also a style that many western 'traditionalists' of mande music developed when practising at home. sidiki is definitely using it as a teaching tool in this video. however, i've seen a number of malians able to play this way, at least for some rhythms. if i can find some videos i'll post them.

i say continue in your quest to discover these kinds of transcriptions that keep more of the notes from all the dunun parts, but find the beauty of the ballet parts as well. knowing both will make you better equipped to play dunun in a variety of different situations.
User avatar
By RhythmReference
Hi everyone! Robert from Rhythm Reference here..... Just noticed this trail of discussion.

I am happy to see that most of you have enjoyed the collection of rhythms I created. Originally, I had the idea for my own use, then I realized that all of us could use something like this, so I took Fara to a good studio, and we did all 50 rhythms. The feedback has been tremendous. And yes, it was only meant as a quick-reference memory tool, organized for instant access. Advanced students have been able to use it to learn new rhythms, but the rest of us dont learn that fast.

Please share your ideas, suggestions, comments, pieves, anything you want to share with me. I want to keep improving what we are offering. Eventually, we even plan to extend this to other instruments, as well as other genres. But first, we are focusing on my main passion for djembe and dun duns.

We are creating solo riffs. In fact, the recordings of solo riffs for all 50 rhythms ARE NOW DONE!!!... except for the final preparation by the engineer. Every sale we make will help pay for the final steps needed before we put them up for everyone, so please pass the word to your friends. I cant wait to use the solo riffs for myself, and to share them with all of you.

We are also creating longer 5-minute and 30-minute tracks for drummers and dance classes. Same situation there... we need to pay an engineer to create those for us, so the more we sell of what we have now, the faster we can create the new stuff for everyone to enjoy.

Pass the word! I want the solo riffs and long practice tracks as much as anyone does. It's the reason I created this thing! Drum on, friends...
By timpie
Hello there,

I saw you rhythm reference pages ... and i read somewhere that the plan was to add
krin as well? Is this still ongoing? Krin rhythms are much harder to find .. and i am always
looking to expand the number of rhythms on this fantastic instrument.