Thursday, August 6, 2009

No. 30 ~Clapping Music by Steve Reich~

For those who have been asking what I've been practicing on the drums lately. This is what I've just been recently working on...

This is a composition made by a composer called Steve Reich. This is a 12/16 (similar to 6/8 or 3/4) clapping rhythm performed by two people. 1st, both clappers will clap the rhythm in unison. 1 will keep on playing the same rhythm throughout the entire time while the 2nd clapper moves 1 quarter of a note back every 4th, 8th, or 12th bar. They will keep this up all the way until the 2nd clapper comes back into unison with the 1st clapper.

Steve Reich in 2006

This is one of Steve Reich's early pieces of simple "phasing."He has done alot more other types of composition that does even more complicated phasing. For those who do not know what is phasing in a musical term; " it just means that two instruments playing the same thing in steady but not identical tempo. Slowly making them out of sync... all the way until the 2nd instruments comes back in unison with the 1st instrument."

I first got the idea to do this when I saw Glenn Kotche's interview at the Modern Drummer Festival 2006 DVD. I was so fascinating that I've tried to mimic it by ear by for a whole year couldn't find it possible until I finally sat down and spent an entire hour writing out the entire notation for clapping music. Surprisingly it is only 12 bars.

You can see Mr. Kotche talking about the Clapping Music around 0:40 in the video. In it, he also demonstrated how he did the Clapping Music with two different drum surface. One on the floor tom and one on the rack tom. The rhythm he did on the floor tom doesn't change (mimicking the 1st clapper) while the rhythm on the rack tom does the phasing (mimicking the 2nd clapper).

So what have I been practicing?... This is it. Trying to do Clapping Music on the drums like how Glen Kotche did. I have to say..this is not an easy task to accomplish. I might post a video of myself doing the Clapping music piece once I have mastered the piece. Which will probably take a while.

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