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Percussion Maps - Part 2

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In this revised post, we'll look at how I reworked my drum set up back in 2004/5 and mapped out the possible patterns and melodic combinations. This was all based on Kulintang & Gamelan Gong set ups. Here are the Kulintang Gongs as I have them set up, followed by the note sequence:





Here is the tuning order for the drums. While they are also in 2 rows, the tuning runs back and forth between the rows. The bass drums are also tuned to different notes, giving me 9 pitches to work with:


Looking at the drums, I have various pitch maps available to me. The first is just going down and up the drums/scale (Fig. 1):

Then I can break the drums up into two rows  that are different scales (Fig. 2):





I can also play 3-note chordal clusters (Fig. 3 & 4):



Or 4-note chordal clusters (Fig. 5 & 6):

Percussion Maps - Part 1

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This series was originally written back in 2004/05. It represented my search for something different in my drumming - both performance and composition. The whole search started when I purchases a set of Philippine Kulintang Gongs. This is a set of 8 pentatonic bossed Gongs that are played horizontally, suspended in a frame. Partly because I had been a fan of Gamelan music for years, I decided to set them up in 2 rows, similar to the Bonang pot Gongs of the Gamelan. The other aspect was to make them more compact in my set up.  From there, I was inspired to build a drum set that I could play in the same sort of way, using the same sort of visual patterns as I had been using with the Kulintang. The whole experiment was successful and I created the music that I heard in my mind. I ended up using the set up for about 3 years, until I moved on to a new idea. This is a revised and updated version of the original unpublished article.
Be Your Own Map Maker  Part 1 - Creating Drumming Maps

Maps are …

Synesthesia, Part 2

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"Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people's names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. The word synesthesia comes from two Greek words, syn (together) and aisthesis (perception). Therefore, synesthesia literally means "joined perception."


from: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html


I see music visually…

To me everything, even improvisation, is made up of patterns. But not just patterns of sounds or notes, I tend to experience things as patterns of movement, geometric shapes in mid-air. I memorize my music as these shapes & patterns. Even my percussion and Gong set ups are organized in such a way as to facilitate these patterns.


I wrote a 3-part series on my idea of Percussion Maps, explaining how to play things based on your own personal geomet…