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Showing posts from July, 2011

Sounding the Inner Landscape

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This time I look at creating different sound textures to expand on the basic instrument pitches. Even with 9 drums (10 counting the mounted tambourine) in my solo set up, compared to most other instruments, I am limited in scope as far as creating melodies. So I need to be creative to change the sound texture of those notes, giving me a wider range of sounds to present to the listener.  Implement Options A wise drummer once explained to me that “the easiest way to change your sound is to change your sticks.” With that in mind, I use a wide array of sticks, mallets and other implements to give me a panoply of sound textures. Even with wood sticks, there is a lot of sound variation between using a standard 5A—with its beefy, full sound—and using a very thin, straight sabar stick that elicits the higher frequencies, giving a very sharp, pointed sound. But I find myself most often using things other than wooden sticks. As a rule, a bigger, heavier stick/mallet will bring out more low frequen…

PERCUSSION MAPS - Part 3

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This is another revised and updated article from the past. This time looking at my ideas about Gongs and why I set them up the way I do. In my solo music, I use 5 distinct gong stations:  the Kulintang the melodic gong play the Sound Plates the table Gongs/Bowls the large gong array. The Kulintang  is a set of 8 pentatonic bossed gongs from the Philippines. They are similar to the gong chimes of the Indonesian gamelan.  While they aren’t tuned to specific Western pitches, they are tuned as a pentatonic set themselves. They are traditionally played on the center boss (also known as a knob, cup, or nipple) with soft wooden sticks. The sound is percussive and melodic. I can also strike the face to get more harmonics, or even turn them upside down and strike the sides getting a sound very much like church hand bells. Like everything else, I use different implements to change the tonality. Hard and soft cord vibe mallets bring out a very full, rich tone, while Vic Firth Blades create a light…