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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Language and the Fifth Limb of Drumming

Gary Chester in his book The New Breed integrates the voice as the fifth limb of drumming.

My friend Charles Knoles told me "If you can hear it, then you can play it" That is the ideal, but one of the stepping stones to TRUE hearing is being able to SAY IT or SING IT first.

In tabla you always learn how to say a GROOVE or COMPOSITION before you learn how to PLAY IT.

I think this phenomenon has to do with the HUMAN method of learning through LANGUAGE. We start learning the language of our MOTHER while still in the womb so it is the most intimate and heart-centric method of expression and assimilation of knowledge that we have available to us.

That is what is so ingenious about the tabla methodology. You learn these compositions as linear monologues of text. Then what happens is that independence and poly-rhythmic ability is an effortless bi product of sustained involvement with the language of Tabla. The compositions become three dimensional and circular and naturally complex and beautiful out of the simplicity of spoken word.

SINGING, BEATBOXING, VOCALIZATION, SPOKEN WORD, TABLA anything that integrates your voice as the fifth limb is so vitally important.

Like I said before Gary Chester's THE NEW BREED is a good place to start for the western drummer.

From my heart to yours, It's an undeniable miracle to be involved in this field of rhythm and life.

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF MARCO MINNEMANN that has turned a scene from Monty Python's THE LIFE OF BRIAN into a drum solo. LANGUAGE IS RHYTHM.



Here is a tabla solo by Alla Rakha who is Zakir Hussain's father and tabla player for Ravi Shankar. It gives you a taste of the vocalization of tabla.



Next is a video by Mal Webb. Absolutely incredible. WOW! Check it.

1 comment:

  1. This is reminding me also of something Sharon told me about practicing chords on the guitar - it's important for someone who wants to sing and play at the same time to vocalize while practicing so you get used to doing both singing and playing at the same time.

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