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The Rhythms on Songtrellis - African, Afro-Cuban and Swing rhythms

The Rhythms on Songtrellis - African, Afro-Cuban and Swing rhythms

It's characteristic that ensemble rhythms from African traditions play patterns against one another that pulse at different speeds. Many of these have 4 or 5 parts that interlock in fascinating ways. One part will present an idea that a different part will answer.
As you listen, play them loudly enough so that you can hear the parts clearly. Each part leaves space or plays in a different range to allow its companions to be heard. When you listen long enough, your ears will start to hear the rhythm in a new way and will hear the parts in a new relation. Several rhythms are presented at multiple tempos, since they feel different as the tempo is varied.
Abakua
Midi arrangement of Abakua, a rhythm of a secret men's society in Cuba. According to Robert Farris Thompson in "Flash of the Spirit" it was brought to Cuba during the slave trade from the Calabar region where it was the rhythm of the leopard society of the Negbe people. We list this rhythm at several different tempos since it's character changes when the tempo is changed.

  Versions of Abakua at different tempos:
      120 bpm    180 bpm    220 bpm    260 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Abakua:
      Bell part    Cowbell part    High drum part    Low drum part    Middle drum part    Shekere part    
 
Aconcon
Rhythm from The Rhythm Catalog contributed by Nigel Jacobs. You can find the notation there. Played at 100 bpm.

  Versions of Aconcon at different tempos:
      100 bpm    140 bpm    160 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Aconcon:
      Bell part    Djun Djun part    High drum part    Low drum part    
 
Acpala
An energetic West African dance rhythm. It's really fun to dance to. In 4/4 time.

  Different subrhythms of Acpala:
      Bell part    High drum parts 1 and 2    Low drum part    Middle drum part    
 
Bembe Shango
A Bembe is an Afro-Cuban rhythm used in Santeria rites to evoke different Orishas of the Yoruban pantheon. Bembe Shango honors Shango, the Yoruban Orisha of Lightning, Thunder, Drums, Dancing and Yams. Musically, this rhythm (like other bembe rhythms) is fascinating, because it can be played at many different tempos and still sound wonderful. Most musical ideas must be played in a narrow range of tempos, usually a 30 or 40 beat range to sound their best. If you play them too slow or too fast, they lose their savor. Bembe Shango sounds great when you play it at 70 beats a minute and equally amazing at 600 bpm, nearly a factor of 10 range of tempos. It changes it's character and sounds like a different rhythm at the different tempos. In usual performance, it seems to be performed at a tempo between 120 and 200 bpm.
To learn more of Shango, see Shango
To learn more about the Bembe ceremony, see Bembe: The Rhythm of the Saints

  Versions of Bembe Shango at different tempos:
      130 bpm    200 bpm    260 bpm    340 bpm    450 bpm    600 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Bembe Shango:
      Bell playing three-four-one pattern    Cowbell playing Short Bell pattern    High drum    Low drum    Middle drum    
 
Bintin
A 6/4 rhythm from Ghana's Acon tribe. In each cycle of this rhythm you can feel a cycle of 6 beats and a cycle of 4 beats playing at the same time.

  Different subrhythms of Bintin:
      Double Bell    High part    Low part    Medium part 1    Medium part 2    Shekere    
 
Bomba
A version of the Bomba rhythm from Puerto Rico.

  Different subrhythms of Bomba:
      Bell    Clave    High drum    Low drum    Middle drum    
 
Bricamo
Rhythm of a secret women's society from Cuba. Listed at several different tempos so you can hear the different moods induced by the different tempos.

  Versions of Bricamo at different tempos:
      120 bpm    200 bpm    260 bpm    300 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Bricamo:
      Bell    Drum 1    Drum 2    
 
Comparsa
An Afro-Cuban rhythm played at Carnival. It has lots of parts so that anyone who drops in can play along.

  Different subrhythms of Comparsa:
      Bell chorus    High drum 1    High drum 2    Low drum    Middle drum    Timbales    
 
Cool 200
Very cool sounding rhythm. It is indeed!

  Different subrhythms of Cool 200:
      Cymbal    High hat and Tom Tom    Shekere    Timbales    
 
Cool 300
Cumbia
This is the rhythm for the popular Colombian dance form called Cumbia. Cumbia started as the local dance music of the Black community of the Atlantic coast of Colombia. It has become a dominant pop music form in Northern South America. See All About Cumbia for more info.

  Different subrhythms of Cumbia:
      Bell part    Clave    High Part    Low part    Middle part    
 
Dununha
Traditional dance from Guinea.

  Versions of Dununha at different tempos:
      150 bpm    200 bpm    240 bpm    300 bpm    350 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Dununha:
      Djembe first part    Djembe second part    Djembe third part    Djun djun part    Lead part    Shekere part    
 
Fanga
A Liberian welcome rhythm. When a drummer plays the low part of this rhythm, he mimes the action of a cook pulling hot pieces of food from a steaming pot. Dinner will be served!

  Different subrhythms of Fanga:
      Bell #1 part    Bell #2 part    Djun djun part    High part    Low part    Middle part    
 
Full Swing
Full drumkit swing rhythm at quarter note = 170 bpm.

Gahu
Rhythm of the Ewe people from Ghana.

  Versions of Gahu at different tempos:
      180 bpm    220 bpm    260 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Gahu:
      Bell part    High part    Low part    Middle part    Shaker part    
 
Half Bell - rhythm part
Extracted rhythm from the tune Half Bell.
Hi-Hat and Ride
Swing pattern with hi-hat and ride cymbal.

Hip Wiggle - rhythm part
This is the extracted rhythm part for the tune Hip Wiggle.
Icct Hedral - alternate rhythm
This is the alternate rhythm figure of Icct Hedral, a composition by Richard D. James, the Aphex Twin. This figure, a sixteen beat cycle, is played for contrast when the Icct Hedral timeline is not playing. As with the timeline rhythm, I have orchestrated the rhythm using MIDI rhythm sounds rather than the string sounds used in Icct Hedral.
Icct Hedral - timeline
This is the main rhythm figure of Icct Hedral, a composition by Richard D. James, the Aphex Twin. The figure in Icct Hedral is orchestrated for strings. Here it's realized using MIDI percussion sounds.

A timeline in African music is usually a repeated pattern that lasts 6, 12 or 24 beats, that spends a little more or less than half of its time visiting the on beats, makes a skip to the off beats, and then skips back to on beats at the end of the cycle.

This is the only pattern I've seen that fits a 16 beat cycle and which skips from onbeat to offbeat in the same matter as the usual African timelines, the long bell and short bell patterns.

Jesse Malanga
A cool Congolese dance rhythm.

  Different subrhythms of Jesse Malanga:
      Bell part    First high part    Low part    Middle part    Second high part    
 
Kaki Lambe

Senegalese rhythm popular with American djembe players. Played at 100 beats per minute.

Contributed by Richard Darsie (darsie@cs.ucdavid..edu) to   The Rhythm Catalog where you can find the rhythm notated.


  Versions of Kaki Lambe at different tempos:
      100 bpm    120 bpm    140 bpm    160 bpm    180 bpm    
 
  Different subrhythms of Kaki Lambe:
      Bell part    Djun djun part    High part    Low part    Middle part    
 
Kpanlogo
The Ga tribe of Ghana uses this rhythm at parties. It's very tricky to play and lots of fun to dance to.

  Different subrhythms of Kpanlogo:
      Bass drum part    Bell part    Double bell part    First middle part    High part    Low part    Second middle part    Shaker part    
 
Linjen
A West African rhythm played frequently by American djembe players.

  Versions of Linjen at different tempos:
      200 bpm    250 bpm    290 bpm    
 
Long Bell
The long bell pattern is a timeline pattern of seven hits that fits in a six beat cycle. The pattern begins with 4 hits on the beat. It then skips to play 3 hits on the offbeats of beats 4, 5, and 6.

The effect of the rhythm is to visit the onbeats for a little bit more than half of the cycle and then the offbeats for a little less than half of the cycle. Since there are more onbeat hits than offbeat and since it is usually played by a bell, this is called the Long Bell pattern.

Its relative, the Short Bell pattern, visits 3 onbeats followed by 4 off beats.

Macuta
This is an arrangement of an Afro-Cuban bembe rhythm.

  Different subrhythms of Macuta:
      Bell part    High part    Low part    Middle part    
 
Mahi
This is an arrangement of a 6/8 Haitian drum rhythm. This is a complicated 5 part pattern whose parts spread out and then converge at one point in the cycle to pulse like a huge heartbeat.

Makanda
A great Haitian rhythm. You can feel it!

Mandjiani
Mboshi
A Congolese rhythm in 6/8 time.

Merengue
Merengue is the national dance rhythm of the Dominican Republic. See More about Merengue....

Nokobe
Traditional rhythm of the Ewe people of Ghana.

  Versions of Nokobe at different tempos:
      120 bpm    160 bpm    200 bpm    220 bpm    300 bpm    320 bpm    
 
Plena
This is the rhythm for Plena, the satirical song form from the Puerto Rican lowlands. See About Bomba and Plena" for more info.

RealTime - rhythm part
Rhythm part extracted rom the tune RealTime 9/15/00.
Rumba Guaguanco
Rumba Guaguanco is one of the popular dance styles of Cuba. See history of the guaguanco from SalsaRoots.com.
  Different subrhythms of Rumba Guaguanco:
      clave part    high drum part    low drum part    medium drum part    Stick part    
 
Samba - cymbal and snare

A two part arrangement of samba rhythm for ride cymbal and snare drum. Arranged by Matt Luebbert

Shiko
Traditional Nigerian rhythm.

Shiko - fast version
Shiko rhythm played fast.

Short Bell
The short bell pattern is a timeline pattern of seven hits that fits in a six beat cycle. The pattern begins with 3 hits on the beat. It then skips to play 4 hits on the offbeats of beats 3, 4, 5, and 6.

The effect of the rhythm is to visit the onbeats for a little bit less than half of the cycle and then the offbeats for a little more than half of the cycle. Since there are fewer onbeat hits than offbeat and since it is usually played by a bell, this is called the Short Bell pattern.

Its relative, the Long Bell pattern, visits 4 onbeats followed by 3 off beats.

Shuffle #1
Zepaula
A Congolese dance rhythm.


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Copyright © 1996-2008 David Luebbert. All rights reserved.




Last update: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 12:47 AM.