Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Recommended Resources

We have some really cool things to watch today... 

This YouTube video offers an awesome demonstration of numerous percussive instruments, use of a loop machine. Discover beautiful flutes, wind instruments, thunder makers and so much more. 

And this one shows the incredible ingenuity out there when it comes to making instruments out of whatever one has around them. Love the rockin' sound this one fella produces. The long instrument is actually has strings made from wires found in tires.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Defining Music Genres - Part 2

Defining Music Genres - Part 2

* Today, we are offering the second installment in a long series of articles written originally as one, very... very long article by Titus Kamau. Here, he lists world music genres and their definitions. You may find it interesting to copy/paste the name for the type of music in a youtube search or online search so that you can experience them more fully. 

...Part 3 of this series will be published on June 24th

Chouval Bwa - features percussion, bamboo flute, accordion, and wax-paper/comb-type kazoo. The music originated among rural Martinicans.
Christian Rap - is a form of rap which uses Christian themes to express the songwriter's faith.

Coladeira - is a form of music in Cape Verde. Its element ascends to funacola which is a mixture of funanáa and coladera. Famous coladera musicians includes Antoninho Travadinha.

Contemporary Christian - is a genre of popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith.

Country - is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It has roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, blues, gospel music, hokum, and old-time music and evolved rapidly in the 1920s.

Dance Hall - is a type of Jamaican popular music which developed in the late 1970s, with exponents such as Yellowman and Shabba Ranks. It is also known as bashment. The style is characterized by a deejay singing and toasting (or rapping) over raw and danceable music riddims.

Disco - is a genre of dance-oriented pop music that was popularized in dance clubs in the mid-1970s.

Folk - in the most basic sense of the term, is music by and for the common people.

Freestyle - is a form of electronic music that is heavily influenced by Latin American culture.

Fuji - is a popular Nigerian musical genre. It arose from the improvisation Ajisari music tradition, which is a kind of Muslim music performed to wake believers before dawn during the Ramadan fasting season.

Funana - is a mixed Portuguese and African music and dance from Santiago, Cape Verde. It is said that the lower part of the body movement is African, and the upper part Portuguese.

Funk - is an American musical style that originated in the mid- to late-1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, soul jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music.

Gangsta Rap - is a sub-genre of hip-hop music which developed during the late 1980s. 'Gangsta' is a variation on the spelling of 'gangster'. After the popularity of Dr. Dre's The Chronic in 1992, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative sub-genre of hip-hop.

Genge - is a genre of hip hop music that had its beginnings in Nairobi, Kenya. The name was coined and popularized by Kenyan rapper Nonini who started off at Calif Records. It is a style that incorporates hip hop, dancehall and traditional African music styles. It is commonly sung in Sheng(slung),Swahili or local dialects.

Gnawa - is a mixture of African, Berber, and Arabic religious songs and rhythms. It combines music and acrobatic dancing. The music is both a prayer and a celebration of life.

Gospel - is a musical genre characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian.

Highlife - is a musical genre that originated in Ghana and spread to Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1920s and other West African countries.



Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Tune Snare Drum pt. 2

Drum Tuning - How To Tune Snare Drum

* This in-depth tutorial article written by Gregory A Hill  (musician, audio engineer, producer) was a little too long for our blog, therefore I've split it into a 2-part article. Look for the 1st portion of this article, which was published 

...continued from...

The desired pitch for your snare drum

When all tension rods around the head have received your first 1/4 turn, you have made your first pass. Of course 1/4 turn on each rod is going to result in a very loose and lifeless head. In general four to six passes are required to bring a snares resonant head up to tension. This is where personal preference comes into play. If you want your snare to have more body and sustain, four passes should be plenty. If you'd like your snare to have more snap and snare wire response, really cranking down the hoop with five to six passes should suffice.

This is why I prefer starting on the resonant side of the drum. Here we can find the desired pitch we want our snare to be set at. There's no one correct pitch to tune your drum to, it's all dependent on the sound you're after and what is pleasing to your ears.

Now that our resonant head is at the desired pitch, let's make sure the tension at each rod is even.

One form of achieving this is tuning by ear. Simply stated, this is closely listening to the overtones that are sounded by tapping near each tension rod and matching those pitches around the drum. John Good of DW Drums has a method which I prefer. It involves using both pointer and middle finger together (like making finger pistols) and tapping over each lug so that the center knuckle of your middle finger hits directly on the hoop and the tip of that finger strikes the head. This results in a far more accurate striking position when moving around the drum rather than tapping at random with your finger, stick, or drum key. Listen to the overtones of each respective rod and find the one (or multiple ones) that you prefer. When matching the rest of the overtones remember this one simple rule- Always tune UP to pitch, never down.

If a tension rods overtone is too high, loosen it by 1/4 turn, tap with your "finger pistol", and bring it up to the desired pitch matching that of the other rods.

If you don't have perfect pitch, or would like to make this process a little easier on yourself, look into purchasing a drum tension watch. I personally use the Drum Dial. They make both an analog and digital version. My experience lies with the analog version and I love it for fast and easy fine tuning. On Snare, I find that a reading between 80-85 on the resonant head is just right, though this is entirely dependent on the drum head. With an Evans Hazy 300, a reading of 83 is perfect.

Keep in mind that the resonant side of the snare drum most likely has snare beds. These allow the snare wires to sit flush with the head and improve their response. The downside is, they make it difficult to accurately fine tune the resonant head of a snare drum. If you find that the tension is low near the rods located at the snare beds, don't fret. Just make sure the same amount of passes have been made for all tension rods and the overtones of the rods NOT at the snare beds are the same.

With the resonant head seated properly, at the desired pitch, and fine tuned, we can move on to the batter head. There are a couple of ways to approach the batter head.

- Batter head tuned at a medium tension (More body and sustain/ less pop and snare wire response)

- Batter head tuned at a higher tension (More "snap, crackle, pop" and snare wire response/ less body and sustain)

With either of these methods, just follow the previous steps we went over on the resonant head, making sure the bearing-edge is clean and the head is seated properly.

Begin tensioning with the same 1/4 turn passes in the star formation.

For a full-bodied snare sound, stick with three or four passes. You want to make sure the head is resonating but not cranked down too much. If tuning by ear, find a pitch that pleases you and match the overtones at each tension rod, just as we did with the resonant. If using a tension watch, aim for a reading between 80-85. Again, this really depends on the head you are using, but try to keep its pitch relatively low.

For a snare sound with more crack, use four to six passes. You'll know when your there as you hear the head cracking (This is a good sound if this is the style your after! Don't be afraid, it's just the head conforming to the bearing-edge of the shell). If tuning by ear, pay close attention to the overtones in the higher frequency range or the "ping" sound emitted at each tension rod. Match the overtones at each tension rod just as before. If using a tension watch, you want a reading of 90+.

Tension responds in an exponential manner. This means that at a lower tension a single pass can bring the overall pitch of the drum up several semitones, while at higher tensions, a single pass may only increase the heads pitch by a single semitone or less.

Remember, the goal is to find what sounds good to YOUR ears and not obsess over the minor details. Like any practice, the more you do it, the better your results will be!



Friday, June 4, 2021

Tune Snare Drum - part 1

Drum Tuning - How To Tune Snare Drum - Part 1 -

* This in-depth tutorial article written by Gregory A Hill was a little too long for our blog, therefore it has been split it into a 2-part article. Watch for the 2nd portion of this to appear on June 8, 2020.

Ahh yes... the snare drum. The most heavily played drum throughout the kit. The snare drum is the center piece, and it can very easily define a drummers style. From a deep thud to a tight snap; maple, birch, bronze, steel, and everywhere in between; the overall sound of this instrument is as varied as ice cream flavours and can be just as sweet if tuned correctly.
This tutorial assumes you are putting new drum heads on your snare. If you're using older heads and want to follow the tutorial, just evenly loosen the tension rods on both sides of the drum and remove the rods, hoops, and heads to start anew. Ok - so first, let's start with the "do's and don'ts".

Find the head suited for your style of playing
Use fine increments when tuning up your drum head (1/4-1/2 turns)
Use John Good's "pistol fingers" method when tuning by ear (described in Fine Tuning)

Attempt to break in the head by applying pressure with your hands!!!
Avoid muffling the drum (find the head that will provide the sound you desire)
Don't tap at random (w/ fingers, stick, drum key, etc.) when listening for overtones

I prefer to begin with the resonant or bottom side of the drum. This lets us focus on the fundamental pitch of the drum first, so that's where we'll start.

The first step to tuning a snare, or any drum for that matter, is clearing the bearing-edge of debris. Most commonly they are dirt, grease, and wood chips from sticks.

Just use a clean cotton cloth (micro-fiber if you're fancy) and run around the edge of the drum. This provides a nice clean contact between drum head and bearing-edge.

The most important thing you can do to ensure that your snare tunes up correctly and will stay in tune, is properly seating the head. While this may sound like a "no-brainer", most drummers either overlook this step or just assume that by placing the head on the drum and rotating it a couple times, that they've seated the head correctly.

A properly seated drum head is one that is centered on the drum shell, and at an equal distance from the ring of the head to the bearing edge throughout the diameter of the drum. This allows the hoop of the drum to apply an even amount of downward pressure on all sides of the drum head and prevents over tensioning of a single side.

It sounds far more difficult than it is when put into words. Just place the drum head on the shell, secure the hoop atop the drum head, then, eye down over the drum and adjust its position until the distance between the hoops edge and the bearing edge are equal around the drum.

In most cases, the resonant head is clear and this can be accomplished visually. If your working with a coated head (like most snare batters), place your fingers on the underside of the hoop and feel for the distance between the hoops bottom edge and the drum shell. The idea is the same, just make sure the gap between the two is equal on opposite sides of the drum.

Begin Tensioning
After seating the head, thread in the tension rods until they are almost touching the hoop. At this point make sure that you haven't moved the head around while threading the tension rods, throwing off your seating. If the head has moved, just repeat the previous steps to ensure that the head is seated correctly and will receive even tension.

Now grab a set of tension rods on opposing sides of the drum with your fingers and begin tightening them until you feel they are snug on the hoop. This is commonly referred to as "finger tight". Don't overdo it though. From there, skip over one tension rod in a counter-clockwise fashion and grab the following set of tension rods bringing them to a finger tight position. Repeat this around the drum until all rods are finger tight.
When all rods are finger-tight, break out the drum key and pick a tension rod. I like to begin with the rod at the 12 o'clock position. Begin by turning the key 1/4 of a turn. Move to the tension rod on the opposite side of the drum (the 6 o'clock position in my case) and turn it 1/4 of a turn just as before. Again, in a counter-clockwise fashion, skip over a rod and land on the following one. Turn this tension rod 1/4 of a turn. From this rod, move across the drum to the opposing tension rod and turn it 1/4 of a turn. Are you sensing a pattern yet?

This is known as the star formation of tuning. It ensures that you evenly tension down the hoop in a consistent pattern. The pattern is dependent on the number of lugs the drum you're tuning has. Six and ten lug drums are the easiest. The only alteration when dealing with a ten lug drum is to skip over two rods instead of only one. For eight and (the rare) twelve lug drums it gets a little more complicated, but is the same practice.

* This article continues on June 8th, 2020. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

a life-long passion

-- Quote -- 

Most Musicians who are fortunate enough to live to 80, and while they are older and can no longer to play sports, run races, or lift weights - most are still abel to play their instruments of choice regularly. Music truly is a life-long passion ! "

~ Social Media Meme



Friday, May 28, 2021

Defining Music Genres, Part 1


Defining Music Genres (Part 1)

* Over the next few months are offering a series of articles written originally as one, very... very long article by Titus Kamau. Here, he lists world music genres and their definitions.  Part 2 of this series will be published on June 12th... You may find it interesting to copy/paste the name for the type of music in a youtube search or online search so that you can experience them more fully.

African Folk - Music held to be typical of a nation or ethnic group, known to all segments of its society, and preserved usually by oral tradition.

Afro Jazz - Refers to jazz music which has been heavily influenced by African music. The music took elements of marabi, swing and American jazz and synthesized this into a unique fusion. The first band to really achieve this synthesis was the South African band Jazz Maniacs.

Afro-Beat - Is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s.

Afro-Pop - A general term used to refer to contemporary, popular African music.

Apala - Originally derived from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is a percussion-based style that developed in the late 1930s, when it was used to wake worshippers after fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Assiko - is a popular dance from the South of Cameroon. The band is usually based on a singer accompanied with a guitar, and a percussionist playing the pulsating rhythm of Assiko with metal knives and forks on an empty bottle.

Batuque - is a music and dance genre from Cape Verde.

Bend Skin - is a kind of urban Cameroonian popular music. Kouchoum Mbada is the most well-known group associated with the genre.

Benga - Is a musical genre of Kenyan popular music. It evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi.

Biguine - is a style of music that originated in Martinique in the 19th century. By combining the traditional bele music with the polka, the black musicians of Martinique created the biguine, which comprises three distinct styles, the biguine de salon, the biguine de bal and the biguines de rue.

Bikutsi - is a musical genre from Cameroon. It developed from the traditional styles of the Beti, or Ewondo, people, who live around the city of Yaounde.

Bongo Flava - it has a mix of rap, hip hop, and R&B for starters but these labels don't do it justice. It's rap, hip hop and R&B Tanzanian style: a big melting pot of tastes, history, culture and identity.

Cadence - is a particular series of intervals or chords that ends a phrase, section, or piece of music.

Calypso - is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which originated in Trinidad at about the start of the 20th century. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of African slaves, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song.

Chaabi - is a popular music of Morocco, very similar to the Algerian Rai.

Chimurenga - is a Zimbabwean popular music genre coined by and popularised by Thomas Mapfumo. Chimurenga is a Shona language word for struggle. 

Watch for Part 2 of this series -- due for publication on May 28th!

Monday, May 24, 2021

music resources


Recommended Resources

Today you'll find 3 resources where you can upload your music, videos, books and more to showcase and sell to producers, bands and artistically inclined individuals. We'll offer a series of resources here on this blog so keep watching or use that calendar on the right to find all the previous published posts.

Check out their resource and advice sections, where you'll definitely learn enough to get you started !