[30daysv3] Day 15 - Timing practice review

  • From: Kristofer Bergstrom <kris@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 30daysV3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 22:37:56 -0700

We're getting down to the wire with out hand coordination drills as we
review the various timing drills we've learned thus far.

It's Saturday!  You are legally obligated to take some time for
yourself today.  Practice right now!


Q/A, Errata/Suggestions, Thoughts

Q - I've finally realized I'm not sure what the exact metronome vs
drumstroke combo is for the 16s drill. If the metronome is set at
quarter note = 70 bpm, are the first 16 hits on each hand (i.e.,
WITHOUT the in-between hits) supposed to be eighth notes (in other
words, two hits per metronome click)? And does the same apply for Ice
Skater? -- Margaret

A - There should be two hits on the same hand per click.  On the 16s
drill notation on Day 4, the clicks are notated with small circles
below the lines to show where the clicks should line up with hits. --

Q - I was interested (gobsmacked, really) to realize you do drills
with Western-type drumsticks. Do you ever perform on taiko with those?
 I'm wondering how fine motor skills that are evidenced on lighter
bachi transfer to heavier bachi. Wouldn't you be using more muscles,
and/or firing different neurons, that-a-way? -- Margaret

A - I indeed use western drumsticks for much of my practice.  I use
very light, small drum sticks (Promark 7A).  Because they are so
light, they are very revealing of inaccuracies in my basic strike.
Western drumsticks feel great on a variety of surfaces and bounce
really well on a drum pad.  I don't actually like the way they sound
on the shime, though, so I don't use them in performance very often.
They have a "tinny", thin sound.  You certainly could use them though,
if the music called for that tone -- perhaps a rich, full shime sound
is overpowering other parts.  It all depends on what sound you're
going for.  The quintessential shime sound for me is produced by the
short, hinoki shime batchi.  They have a huge, open, unique tone.
These sticks don't bounce very well on a practice pad, however, and
they produce a rather loud tone themselves, so they're not my ideal
practice stick.

Q - I've been thinking lately about the equation "mass x acceleration
= force" as it applies to hitting a drum, although I know nada about
physics, because it seems relevant to me to making the drum "ring". I
would love if somebody could actually explain (simply...in slow-mo...)
what happens to a drumstick after it hits a drumhead. What stops the
drumstick and what causes it to reverse direction? What happens to the
drumhead while that is going on? I'm thinking that resonance (not
dampening the drumhead unnecessarily) is very important to drum sound.
It seems obvious that there's a limit to how hard one should hit a
drum, or how heavy one's bachi should be when playing a given type of
drum....thus, rebound, which I surmise depends on grip (when using
more "normal" weight bachi & strike velocity), is probably key to
maximising resonance. But this is probably better discussed live than
on a website forum!....

A - I like this question!  Take this answer with a grain of salt
though... I went into college as a physics major but switched to taiko
my freshman year.  :)  As I see it, there are two main aspects of the
strike make an impact (har har) on the tone of the drum: weight of the
batchi, and the speed of the tip at impact.  As you say, those combine
to give us total force.  This force depresses the head at impact and
the elasticity of the head then starts working to slow and eventually
reverse the path of the tip.  A light stick will rebound quickly,
letting the head ring on its own.  A heavy stick will stay in contact
with skin longer, muffling part of the resonance of the drum.  Try
tapping the shime wih a hinoki shime batchi and then an oak nagado
(chuudaiko) batchi.  The tonal difference is dramatic, and you can
clearly hear how the heavy stick muffles the skin.  This description
of the mechanics of the head assumes that our hands are not part of
the equation and my goal in the basic strike, is in fact to keep my
hands from contributing any extra weight or force to the tip of the
batchi..  At the moment of impact, I want the batchi to be
more-or-less falling freely, and free to rebound without any
resistance from my fingers.  I see the tip of the batchi like a
basketball.  I push it down for a period of time, but before impact,
it's falling on its own.  After impact, on the way back up, my wrists
and fingers are moving in concert with the stick, simply following it
up as it rebounds.  I don't add any lifting force if there is enough
rebound to do the job for me.

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  • » [30daysv3] Day 15 - Timing practice review - Kristofer Bergstrom