Rhythms and poly rhythms ~ with a little Indian spice

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ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
edited December 2014 in Technique
I am looking for ways to explore rhythm, and I came across this interesting technique which emanates from southern India.
It is a bit like Solfege, but for rhythms.
Solfeg, you know that do, re, me, far, so, la, te, do, thing.   (Remember Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music ?)

It is called  Konnakol.

I think this could be a very useful technique, applicable to any instrument, voice or percussion.  It can handle basic rhythms, odd time signatures and polyrhythms too.  A great way to create a groove, and beyond.
So I thought I would share it here.

I am also interested to hear what you think, and what other techniques and methods you use to explore and internalise rhythms.
So please share them too.

The girl with a fast tongue.
A good demonstration of the technique in practice, and using the voice as a percussive instrument too.

Duration 2 mins


A slightly zany introduction from a guitarist's perspective...

Duration 8 mins


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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    Reserved ~ for an index of useful stuff...

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    Reserved

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    A good practical introduction with Asaf Sirkis

    The Basics of Konnakol part 1

    Duration 13 mins

    The Basics of Konnakol part 2

    Duration 9 mins

    The Konnakol Syllables  ~   these are written out a couple of posts below

    Duration 7 mins

    Asaf Sirkis   website ~  http://www.asafsirkis.co.uk/

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    Here are a couple more demonstrations of vocal percussion.

    With an introduction by John McLaughlin

    Duration 3 mins
    Here is Lori Cotler again, in a short clip


    Duration 54 seconds

    This shows the vocal percussion over a western musical stave with note values.

    Duration 1:13

    This is just an extraordinary performance, just try miming to the ending section...

    Sri TH Subash Chandran


    Duration 4 mins


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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    The Konnakol Syllables ~ for each sequence of beats at "normal" tempos.

    1. Ta                          [Da]
    2. Ta Ka
    3. Ta Ki Ta
    4. Ta Ka Di Mi               [Taka Juna]
    5. Ta Di Gi Na Dom      [Taka Takita]  (Da Di Gi Na Tom) (Ta Ti Ki Ta Tum)  (Ti Ta Ki Na Dum)
    6. Ta Ki Ta - Ta Ki Ta          <or>    Ta Di ~ Gi Na Dom      (where ~ is a gap)
    7. Ta Ka Di Mi Ta Ki Ta       <or>    Ta ~ Di ~ Gi Na Dom   (where ~ is a gap)
    8. Ta Ka Di Mi Ta Ka Jo No
    9.Ta ~ Di ~ Gi ~ Naa ~ Dom  (where ~ is a gap)    Ta ~ Ti ~ Ta Di Gi Na Dom  <or>  Ki ~ Ta ~ Ta Di Gi Na Dom
    10. Ta Ki Ta Tom ~ Ta Di Gi Na Dom ~

    double time 5.  Ki Ta Ta Ka Ta Di Gi Na Dom ~     (where ~ is a gap)

    note that ~ stands for a 1 beat gap.
    brackets indicate a variation of the syllables used

    There are over 200 schools in southern India alone, so there is a naturally occurring variance in the syllables used.

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    Time for a cheeky nudge into the "Guitar" and "Off Topic" sections, to create a bit more awareness, before I put this back away into the Technique section.

    Over to you now   :)

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  • Pretty cool stuff.  

    Dubstep is a modern style that uses polyrhythms.  Prog metal does sometimes, too. 

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  • Also, Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers does that vocal technique. 
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    Hey there @ThePrettyDamned, I thought it was a great approach to understanding and internalising rhythms, and helpful in creating a groove when you are producing or writing.

    I am looking to see if others on the forum use different methods for this.

    Not just for vocals though.

    I am also looking to translate as much of this as possible onto the guitar, and into right hand technique, and a bit to the left hand too.  So if anyone has ideas on that, I would love to hear them.

    TPD, I know you are a Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan.  If you have a YouTube video you could post, that would give a contemporary western face to the vocal technique.  That would be good to broaden the appeal of where this technique could lead.

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  • ChrisMusic;381448" said:
    Hey there @ThePrettyDamned, I thought it was a great approach to understanding and internalising rhythms, and helpful in creating a groove when you are producing or writing.

    I am looking to see if others on the forum use different methods for this.

    Not just for vocals though.

    I am also looking to translate as much of this as possible onto the guitar, and into right hand technique, and a bit to the left hand too.  So if anyone has ideas on that, I would love to hear them.

    TPD, I know you are a Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan.  If you have a YouTube video you could post, that would give a contemporary western face to the vocal technique.  That would be good to broaden the appeal of where this technique could lead.
    I've had a look but can't find any! He does do it, like at the end or beginning of a song from time to time. I think he does it in the flea master sessions video... I'll look tomorrow and see if I can find some.

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  • EvilmagsEvilmags Frets: 5093
    Live at the royal festival hall, John Mclauglin Trio. Just buy the album. It's blindingly good and Trilok Gurtu is a master.
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    That would be great, if you don't mind TPD, cheers...

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    Yes @Evilmags, now I know this I can see (well hear actually), the technique all over John McLaughlin's playing.  I'll check out the Royal Festival Hall gig, thanks for the pointer.

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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22387
    Okay, I see what you meant now.

    I've done similar things to this, but in a twatty way... so we'd take a phrase like "I've got a lorry full of sausages, I've got a lorry full of Polish sausages" and sing it aloud and a natural rhythm would come from it, and you could pull it out and apply it to an instrument.


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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    :)

    @Drew_fx -  I can see that being useful.
    Damn I needed a good laugh right now, and that delivered.
    I can just see the conjecture after your first TV appearance, when the performance is deconstructed by the pundits.

    Seriously though, good practical idea, and a bit of fun too.

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  • have you considered using ganja?
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    Syllabic substitution - Gan Ja - yes I guess it could work, just need to solve the time dilation problem with protracted compositions  ;)

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    calling @frankus - I seem to remember you posting some very useful YT vids involving Victor Wooten a while ago.  I reckon they would fit right in here along with any other insights you may wish to share on rhythm construction and visualisation.
    Any contribution would be appreciated.   :)

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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4704
    Victor Wooten's Rhythmic Modes.

    make a lick or a hook over two bars - write it down, now displace it by a beat, that's a Rhythmic mode, displace it again. so the notes have a different emphasis

    The first mode is the jackanorian, the second the Tobermorean, Balamorean, Gamorean, scarynorthkorean, crustacean, amphibian, and grauniad.

    Knowing these names is more important than being able to play in time. With them you have the ability to argue in a whole new dimension on the dream theatre forum :)

    Then there's Brent Wilmotts sounds of the future where he identifies that 4/4 is such a part of our culture that you can dupe people into hearing it in other time signatures.

    For beginning syncopation the Louis Belson read rhythm in a 4/4 pattern is good.

    For 6/8 etc Paul Gilbert DVD.

    The rhythm modes is the quickest way out of the note-Centric rut

    But in answer to your question, my mums aftershave ;)
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    edited October 2014
    Cheers @frankus if you have either the time or the inclination to post a couple of the YouTube videos from the demonstration series, or any related to this, that would be great, as and when and all that.  No worries if not.  Thanks for the other nuggets too  :)

    So what is it that I don't know about the Guardian reading inhabitants of Tobermore (or was that Tobermory (with such pretty doors)?), that they use a form of gill ventilation and perfusion and support crazy dictators ?  Or just that they read crazy adventures and dream like the rest of us ?  Isn't this forum just one long crazy adventure after all ?

    I do hope that aftershave isn't just another hand me down present from last Xmas  :P

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    So who else frequents these hallowed climes, and is into unusual time signatures, and might contribute a little more wisdom, or mirth even ?

    @Clarky you're good with this sort of stuff, what do you think of the Konnakol approach, and what would you recommend from personal experience ?

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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3782
    edited October 2014
    For odd time signatures, protest the hero are good.

    For example, in "yellow teeth"... Well, listen to it - mostly the intro but there are other parts.

    Another good one is" a life embossed". Not my favourite song, though the lyrics are nothing short of amazing, but it has a very unusual structure. If you can make it past the very heavy first half, you'll hear bars of 15/8 quite a lot, as well as other odd ones. The 15/8 stuff is a bitch to play, it's groups of 4 8th notes followed by an 8th note rest 3 times in a rising and falling pattern.

    They even labelled it as something funny in the tab book.

    Money by pink Floyd is another - 7/8 and 4/4. And catchy as balls.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2698
    So who else frequents these hallowed climes, and is into unusual time signatures, and might contribute a little more wisdom, or mirth even ?

    @Clarky you're good with this sort of stuff, what do you think of the Konnakol approach, and what would you recommend from personal experience ?
    yup, I play outside of 4/4 and 12/8 more than anything else..
    I know nothing of the Konnakol stuff at all..

    the why I handle difficult time sigs is to sub divide them and count conventionally..
    1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a: is 4 beats worth of semi quavers [a 4/4 bar of 1/16ths].. 
    1 & a 2 & a is 2 beats worth of compound time quavers [a 6/8 bar of 1/8ths]

    generally I carve up mental time sigs into sub-groups using 4, 3 and 2 as the basic blocks
    this enables me to hear the strong beats and so I can feel phrasing..

    for example 
    7/8 with a 4 - 3 sub grouping counts:  "1 & 2 &" " 3 & a"
    7/4 [Pink Floyd: Money] is a 3 - 4 sub groups: "1, 2, 3" "1, 2, 3, 4"
    17/8 [a personal fave cos it's funky] could be 7 - 7 - 3: "1 & 2 &" " 3 & a" "1 & 2 &" " 3 & a" "4 & a"

    goofing with time sigs is fun..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • 1nten5e1nten5e Frets: 243
    edited October 2014
    7/4




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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4704
    Choosing To Drown - by Mike Keneally is 17/16 - that guy is all aces. A wonderful guitarist  :)
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2698
    edited October 2014

    here's a little something with a few fun time sigs going on..

    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9104124

    Note to Clarky: dude.. you seriously need to remix this one.. but not in headphones like you did last time you fkn div..

    play every note as if it were your first
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3326
    edited October 2014
    I love using various time sigs, and write quite a lot of music not in 4/4. Funny thing is no one seems to notice!

    If you can tolerate the post of one's own band;

    The song that starts at 8:20 switches between 9/8,6/8, and swinging 4/4. Ignore the bass player fucking up the intro.

    The song starting at 12:10 is 7/8 and alternately switches to 6/8 and 4/4 at various points too.

    The song starting at 36:30 is I think 9/8. I think?

    For my writing I try not to make the time signature a feature. If it's unusual it's because that's what the melodies seemed to want, and I find it quite liberating to either add or subtract beats from bars to control the ebb and flow of a melody - it can be a great trick for adding excitement to a song where there might have been longer gaps between phrases otherwise.


    Captain Horizon (my band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1114
    Thanks @Cirrus - good gig, I enjoyed all of it, glad you posted it here.  Interesting and very effective use of sig changes.


    Thanks to all for your contributions so far, perspectives and music too, fantastic...

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  • Hey @Clarky - thanks for your advice on breaking it down, and I agree it is fun messing around with time sigs.  I also enjoyed rummaging around your soundclick stuff, thanks for posting that.  Oh and what was wrong with your monitors then ?     ;)


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  • Anthony Wellington teaches rhythm using the rhythm yardstick.
    A pretty good visual explanation of what Clarky was saying above.


    Duration 8:48

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