Rhythms of the Atabaque - Level 1
Welcome - Read me first
Are you ready to start building a strong percussion foundation that will open a greater understanding and lead you on to taking your rhythm skills to the next level?
Great! Let’s get to it...
Let’s just get a couple of common questions out of the way :
Do I need to own an Atabaque to get the most out of this course? No. Use what you have. The closest drum to an Atabaque is a conga drum, but don’t let that stop you. Utilise what you have already.
Do I need previous percussion experience? No. Infact it’s sometimes easier when you have no experience. This course will give you all the foundation techniques that will set you on your percussive journey.
Once I finish the course can I go back to the beginning? Yes! You’ll have a lifetimes access.
Can I download the course? No, but you can easily access your course on all your mobile devices as well as a desktop or laptop. Once you have your login set up you can access your course from anywhere in the world.
There are two symbols that will help you understand the rhythms:
◍ This full circle represents the slap that you will play towards the centre of the drum
◒ This half black circle represents playing the rim/edge of the drum closest to your body.
Depending on how you learn best you might find it easier just to follow along with the video or alternatively with a line of symbols that will represent when and what to play for each rhythm.
If you would like to send us feedback regarding this course please email us: email@example.com - We welcome your comments.
Setting up your space & warm up
We are going to start a new practice and that requires some planned dedication in the beginning. Why? Because to get good at anything requires some consistent work and we know that you are ready because you are here.
Make sure that whatever drum, pan or box you are going to play is convenient or even better has its own space to be played. If instruments are buried under ‘stuff’ they are going to suffocate. Let them breathe. Atabaque’s are made of natural materials and they need care and attention. Keep them in a dry, clean and well-ventilated area.
Now that your drum is ready to rock let’s look at what you can do to get yourself in the best space to make the most of your practice. Set a time for your practice and a time limit. Ideally, between 20 - 40 minutes per session, more if you have time and no less than 10 minutes (although something is ALWAYS better than nothing). You don’t need to do your practice alone. If you do decide to practice with someone else ensure that they have the same focus that you have to make the most of your sessions.
WARM UP YOUR BODY
You are going to be using your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and into your core. Follow this simple sequence to activate the muscles you’ll need to use:
- Rub your hands vigorously - until you feel the warmth
- Small circular movements in your wrists, 10 times in each direction
- Circular movements with your lower arms (elbows), 10 times in each direction
- Circular movements in your shoulders 10 times forwards and backwards
- Raising your arms above your head and down by your side, 5 times
- Shake it out!
WARM UP YOUR DRUM
Make contact with your drums surface. Find the place that feels most comfortable. Drums with skin-heads will often have a side which feels most comfortable or sounds best. You'll get to know your drum over time.
Practice the two main sounds in no particular rhythm
◍ SLAP - this is the hardest of the two sounds. It's not defined by hitting the drum harder, so be patient with yourself and allow the slap to come when it is ready. The slap does not ring, it is short and sharp.
◒ RIM - your rim sound should sound deep and open. It resonates more than the slap and will be the link between the two.
As you are playing between the two, start to notice the difference in sound. Your objective is to make these sounds as clear and distant from each other as possible. Like everything else, it takes time and consistent practice.
Use the following video for examples of how you can warm up your hands, drum and sounds.
Single Hands First, isolate each hand. One will, naturally, want to lead more than the other. It’s important to work with both equally. It will help you to become a more complete percussionist.
◒ ◒ ◍ ◒ - - ◒ ◒ ◍ ◒Both hands alternating - SLOW Both hands alternating - REGULAR Play Along
Use this video to practice your timing and the clarity of the different sounds.
Puxada de Rede Rhythm
Puxada de Rede (or ‘pulling of the net’) is a folkloric theatrical dance about the simple life of Brazilian fishermen and the celebration of a successful catch. The graceful dance involves live music with passionate lyrics reflecting the natural beauty and daily struggles of the life of a fisherman.
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When learning a new rhythm, it is helpful to sing the rhythm to yourself, out loud or in your head, whichever feels most comfortable. The rhythm above would translate as " bom bom ba bom bom ba".
Singing out the rhythm will also aid to strengthen the communication between your head and your hands. Once you master the basic techniques it will help you to learn new rhythms easier.
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Notice the slight change in the rhythm and a swing in the timing. Like most Brazilian rhythms, it is not straight 1,2,3,4 and requires some feeling and emotion in the playing.
Samba de Roda Rhythm
Samba de Roda, which involves festive music, dance and singing, was developed in the state of Bahia, in the region of the Recôncavo during the 17th century. It evolved from the dances, rhythms, and cultural traditions from different regions in Africa where enslaved Africans brought to Brazil were from. One of the defining characteristics of the dance is the gathering of participants in a circle (roda) while each one takes turns dancing in the centre of the ring while the others clap their hands and sing. At first, a major component of regional popular culture among Afro-Bahians, the Samba de Roda was eventually taken by migrants to Rio de Janeiro, where it influenced the evolution of the urban samba that became a symbol of Brazilian national identity in the 20th century.
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◒ ◒◒ ◒◒ ◒◒◒◒
◒ ◒◒ ◒◒◒◒ ◒ ◍◍
◒ ◍ ◒◒ ◍◍ ◒◒ ◒ ◍◍
What is Ijexa? Afoxê is an Afro Brazilian genre of music and it is a traditional rhythm of Pernambuco. It is a secular manifestation of candomblé which utilizes a rhythm known as "ijexá".
◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◍◍◒◒◍
◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◍◍◒◒◒◍◍◒◒◍
◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◒◍ -- ◍◍◍◒◒◒◍◍◒◒ -- ◍◍◍◒◒◒◍◍◒◒◍
PLAY ALONG SLOW
PLAY ALONG FAST
Maculele is an Afro-Brazilian stick-fighting dance. The atabaque is the principal instrument that leads the rhythm.
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PLAY ALONG SLOW
PLAY ALONG FAST
Barra Vento Rhythm
Barra Vento is a faster rhythm that accompanies the Maculele dance. Towards the end of the dance, the rhythm changes to Barra Vento and generally picks up the pace.
◒◒ ◍◍ ◍◍ ◍◍ - - ◒◒ ◍◍ ◍◍ ◍◍
PLAY ALONG SLOW
PLAY ALONG REGULAR
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