Thursday, March 19, 2009

Taiko Drills, Part 26 DON TSU KU BALANCE

Hi there! The frogs and birds are chirping here in rural Wakayama and spring is here. It's a good day for practicing taiko!

This week's drill is early because I'll be in Kyoto on Friday.

Okay, to check in first, we've been focusing on don tsu ku a lot as it is a staple rhythm in wa-daiko. I'd like to continue to look at the dynamics of the pattern this week by contrasting it with some do ko do kos.

Focus: Balance, Dynamics
Watch for:
1. Pay attention to the dynamics of don tsu ku. "don" is the loudest, "tsu" is the quietest (but we still want to hear it!), and "ku" is right in the middle.
2. Really listen for, and feel, the driving sound of don tsu ku and the evenness of doko doko.
3. Don't let the line of your wrists break! You can see an example of this in last week's entry, Video B. Correct form is shown in Video C.

Alright, let's start with the rhythm:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 &
tsu ku do ko don
do ko do ko don
tsu ku

As always, Red means Right. Emphasis is not represented here, but pay attention to the dynamics of don tsu ku as we've been practicing. Do ko do ko should be even in timing and volume!

Loop this for 15-20 minutes every day and you'll be ready for next week's drill!


If you feel like your don tsu ku dynamics and form are consistent, let's take a look at making this drill more musical.

While I've asked you above to keep the do ko do kos even in volume, this actually has a bit of a stiff feel to it. The reason to do it that way initially was for the sake of building distinction between the two rhythms and increasing ability to play two rhythms with different dynamics continuously.

Okay, so the dynamics of do ko do ko were plain and even. Let's play with that a little bit. Instead of keeping the volume equal, make it a crescendo. The final sound should lead nicely into the following don tsu ku.

Take a moment to consider the beats before and after the crescendo. What volume should your crescendo finish at? Try to make it just quieter than the beginning of your don tsu ku, so they fit right together. Here's an example:


Questions? Comments? Post 'em. See you next week!

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