6/8 Rhythm Part 1 - Lesson
6/8 Part 1
6/8 Part 1 - Slow
Notes and Notation
The most used 6/8, 3/4 or 12/8 part in all of West African music is definitely this one, which is often called pont dupont, pa dopa, or any number of ways of spelling it. It's just three hits, spaced like the words would be pronounced above.
It's made up of two slaps with a tone in the middle. Slap Tone slap, Slap Tone slap. You play the first two hits with the dominant hand, then the third with the non-dominant. Watch and listen to the video to get it right, and get it into muscle memory.
It's easy to do slowly. The faster you go, the more likely it is that I see students crowd the second two hits, making it sound a little sloppy.
For notation types, and you know who you are, here is what it looks like:
S . T s . . S . T s . . - two cycles
S . T s . . S . T s . . S . T s . . S . T s . . - four cycles
You can see where the dominant hand (for me that's the right) plays the first two hits, the Slap and the Tone, then the other hand plays the last slap. So yes, there are two hits in a row, and not alternating on this one.
So let's play it together. I will break it down to one hit, add the next, and the next, as usual. Then I will play it slow for a minute, moderate for a minute, and faster for a minute. Play along! Playing is the only way to get it right. If you listen, but do NOT play, you will not have it in your muscle memory, you will not have the feel, and you will not be the popular player that you want to be!
So play it with me! Here we go! Yeehah!
Screaming with Joy
I am a musician myself but wanted to learn drumming. When I watch Robert drum for dancers at Dance Church, Sufi, and parties, and see how everyone starts moving, shouting and screaming with joy, it's amazing. I realized I wanted to do that! I have been taking group lessons from Robert once a week for about 2 months now, and for someone that never touched a drum before, I am getting better fast. His knowledge goes way beyond the rhythms and sounds - he really understands the art and spirit of it, the psychology and physiology of dancers. I get a lot out of every lesson, and I intend to join his performance group.
~~ Kevin Dalfonso, Musician, Systems Tech, Encinitas, CA
Get the Room Rocking
I met Robert some years ago. When I learned about his prowess as a drummer and rocking the djembe, I invited him to join my rock band, Clarke After Darke. He was amazing. It didn't matter what the song was, he was always able to get the room rocking with his strong percussive beats. And he dueled with the kit-drummer, like a swashbuckling pirate and they laid down some fabulous solos. Besides, he is a really kind and gentle person. We were sad when he left for California. We love him to bits.
~~ Clarke Stevens, Entertainer, CPA, Phoenix, AZ
I've been casually drumming for many years but never formally, and never with african drumming. Then I saw Robert drumming at our local dance church. I was amazed how he could change rhythms effortlessly and "communicate" with the other drummers. Not only is he a great drummer, he is an extraordinary teacher. He is kind, patient and shows a true love for drumming and teaching. When he asked us at our first lesson what were our goals, he didn't snicker or laugh when I said "I just want to be as good as you" - now my goal is to have fun and be as good as I can be, and if that even approximates a quarter of Robert's talent I will be grateful.
~~ Paul Paez, Chiropractor, Encinitas, CA