| FRAME DRUMS | HOMEMADE
with Eric Stuer
Step 1. Unison and Single Hand warmups
inspiration for these exercises is "The Art & Joy of Hand
Drumming", a classic work on the subject by
John Bergamo. It's a video with a tiny booklet, and in the booklet,
Mr. Bergamo discusses that which the various world percussion traditions
have in common. He goes on to name several common principles:
- A relaxed
way of playing, of "throwing" the hand.
- use of
varied striking areas
- use of
"open" or ringing and "closed" or dampened strokes
variety expressed through different fingerings, because different fingers/groupings
have a different sound
style based methods, Bergamo's approach is open ended. "Experimentation
is encouraged." as he says in the booklet. "Feel free to adapt
the material to your particular style and needs....think of (the techniques)
as a tool to create a style of your own." What a great concept...
So, in that
spirit, I've presented a possible warm up routine, rudiments for many
hammers, many limbs...
see, The Bergamo approach is a lot like Linux...
(don't go there, stu)
"John Bergamo has neither seen nor endorsed this page. this practice
routine is stu's, only one of many possible interpretations of the material
in the booklet accompanying his video.
The notation -
(the index finger) (the
ring finger) 4
is the pinky, (not used separately in these exercises.)
represents the 3 fingers played as one (2,3,4)
represents all four fingers (1,2,3,4) played as one hammer
The basic building blocks -
and unison exercises - These may seem deceptively simple, but don't
take them lightly. Like the single and double stroke rolls to the snare
drummer, they'll give your hands a stronger foundation.
playing these cells with each hand separately, slowly at first, repeating
each for at least 5-20 minutes, staying relaxed. Gradually increase the
speed. Vary the dynamics. Get the feel of using these separate hammers
with either hand. Each hammer has a distinct sound in the pattern, a distinct
relationship to the other hammers.
with both hands together, mirror images of one another. Getting the basic
cells down will help a great deal, because combining them yields many
useful patterns. Depending on the surface, it may be useful at times to
use the fleshy place at the base of the thumb or the tip, depending on
the sound and feel desired.
You can use
any surface to do these. the table top near your computer is fine. Other
likely sources would be a frame drum on a stand or held between the legs,
a pasta pot, a 5 gallon water bottle..? (I'm missing that gold miner's
pan I traded to Richard Meyer for his pandeiro.) A cajon...a hubcap..an
all metal folding chair..
hand WILL feel lame at first, but if you perservere, it will come along.
concentrate as you practice on making the weak hand feel and sound like
the strong hand. Breathe deeply, relax the shoulders, and keep your head,
heart, and hips in a vertical line.
- Among the parameters you'll be manipulating to change sounds as you
practice are your open and closed notes, achieved by either
letting the sound ring or stopping it short by pressing into the head
as you make your stroke. On any one of these cells below, for example,
you may go 64 beats (16 bars of 4) open, then 64 closed, and when that
gets comfy, switch to 32, then 16, 8, 4, 2,1...
ideas: You can also
add accents in various places. Also play a certain number of beats
on one of these patterns, then switch to another. Move your hands
around, so the hammers land in different places on the instrument,
accessing different sounds. You can modulate the speed between
eighth notes, eighth note triplets, and sixteenths...The variations are
endless. Explore all the possibilities of either UNISON (both hands together)
or separate hand patterns. Play each pattern a number of times perhaps,
and then switch hands...
send feedback. Is this useful? How could it be moreso?
stu at rhythmweb
to get used to a new pattern, play it with your strong hand first.)
"cells" above as building blocks, and especially by mixing up
the two and three note patterns, we can come up with all kinds of patterns that are
both fun and interesting.
these examples, either separately or in combination:
future lessons, accents will probably be in COLOR>
I trust these
unison and one handed patterns are warming you up for the next phase of
the practice session.
Step 2: Hand-to-hand patterns
(next in the series)
one, a stumper. All the doubles are singles