Issue 11: A Djembe Rhythm in Compound Time

This is a set of galloping rhythms that I have developed from a set four-four rhythms that I learned from a Wider Opportunities Djembe Teacher that I have worked with. I doubt that my version has any real ethnic authenticity, but it makes a good introduction into compound time.

(Compound time, and simple time, refer to two different ways of dividing the main beats, or counts, in music. In simple time, the main beats divide into two halves, as in the tune for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star“. In compound time, the main beats divide into three, as in the rhythm of the words “Higgledy Piggledy my fat hen, She lays eggs for Gentlemen“)

 

 

B=Bass T=tone r=right hand l=left hand

Djembe 1 is a 4-bar pattern

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2

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4

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Br Tr Tl Tr Tl
Br Tr Tl Tr Tl
Br Bl Br Bl Br Tr Tl Tr Tl
Br

 

Djembe 2 is a half-bar pattern

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2

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3

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4

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Br Tl Tr Tl Tr Bl Tr Tl Tr Tl

 

Djembe 3 is a 2-bar pattern

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2

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3

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4

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Tr Tl Br
Tr Tl Tr Tl Br

It is often easier to learn rhythms if they have words attached to them; for example

Djembe 1 “Grapes 2 3 bananas and grapes 2 3 bananas and grapes, more grapes, more grapes, bananas and grapes 2 3 4”

Djembe 2 “Grapes, bananas and grapes, bananas and”

Djembe 3 “Give me Grapes! Give me lots of grapes”

If you prefer, you could substitute a Slap for the Bass notes in Djembe 3.

 

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