Looking at Percussion through a radical eye, while shaking off the cliches of our instruments, and seeking the danger within all things…
"No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Working With Gongs - Part 2
Further YouTube adventures. This time looking at different Gong types:
I can't tell you how many times this argument of "A tam tam is not a Gong" comes up. It came my way no less than 3 different times this week. Actually, 'tam tam' (also tam-tam) was 1st used in symphonic music back in the 1800s to differentiate a flat faced Gong from a Gong with a raised center 'boss.' (There is no definitive answer as to where the term tam tam originated - some say it's Chinese, some say it's Hindi, still others say it's something else…) To add to the confusion, 'tam-tam' is a term often used for either an African djembe or talking drum. When a score calls for a 'tam tam' (like Messiaen’s 'Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum' or various works of Richard Wagner), then a flat faced Gong, like a Chinese Chau, is used. Flat Faced Chinese Chau Gong/Tam Tam When a score calls for a 'Gong' (like Puccini’s 'Madame Butterfly', or 'Turandot'), then a bossed Gon
Today's blog is a revised & updated blog I posted 3 years ago on my old website. I'm always having people ask me about buying a Gong. Well, here's some tips: •••••••• So you’ve decided to get a Gong. The first thing to ask is, what will I use a Gong for? What type of music do you play? Do you want to use it in a rock band, a jazz band, solo? Are you looking for a meditation device? These are important questions and will help determine what type and size of Gong to get. One important thing to look at is how big a Gong do you want? Gongs are heavy. Gongs are not easy to transport. If this Gong will stay in your house/studio, then that makes it easy to have a larger size. But if you plan to travel in a band with it, you need to look at the impact a different size Gong will have on transporting it. A lot of drummers want a Gong because they look cool and sound cool. They also want that type of sound in their percussive arsenal. A good place to star
Recently, I was asked a question about how Gongs are notated in a musical score. Here are various examples of different ways they have been notated, from traditional classical, to modern musical forms. The first thing is to differentiate the 2 main types of Gongs: the flat faced, usually termed Tam Tam in a classical score, and the Bossed Gong, with a raised center boss (AKA cup, nipple). A good example of a traditional symphonic Tam Tam part would be from Gustav Holst’s, The Planets . This example is from Mars, the Bringer of War : We can see the Gong/Tam Tam notated traditionally on a single staff line. The next example is from Puccini’s opera, Turandot . This is the Tam Tam part, notated on the bottom line. Example #3 is also from Turandot. The score also calls for Tuned Bossed Gongs. Unfortunately I was unable to find a score example of them. John Cage used various Gongs in his percussion music. This is an example of how he notated the