Showing posts from July, 2011

Sounding the Inner Landscape

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 OptionsA 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…


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…