Friday, December 29, 2006

Percussion instruments the form of two big congas and some egg shakers have entered my home, along with a silver shaker.

And on their way are a vibraslap, maracas, a triangle, an afuche, a cabasa and an agogo.

I hope I can keep them straight. They all make noise, all are played by hand, all sound like fun to me. The idea is to get going on some kind of drum circle.

I tuned the congas to the same interval as "here comes the bride". Is that a fourth? Then I tuned my bongos to the same interval but a higher pitch. It's actually amazing to me how much pitch variation can be achieved on a conga - the edge of the drum delivers notes that are so high, the centre much lower, and a strike with the heel of the hand lower still.

It's been hard trying to play along with music on the stereo. I keep listening for the rhythm and trying to match it, which of course puts me behind the beat. And the people that play drums for a living? They're good drummers. This old guy that doesn't play drums for a living, or even very often just for fun? He's a wannabe.

It seems to me that the drum circle has more potential than trying to play along with the stereo. The rhythm is in the room, in the group, not coming out of a machine. And the group can go anywhere with it, whereas the stereo just keeps going on the song that is playing at the time, until the song ends. The group's response is irrelevant to the stereo, but it is the very essence of the drum circle.

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