Jing

What is a Jing?

Jing(징) is a Korean traditional gong made out of thick layers of steel. The stick is usually made out of a a carved thick wooden stick with a ball of layered cloth as it’s head (Like a huge mallet). It is played in almost every genre of Korean traditional percussive music. It’s not particularly special or standing out but it’s the most important as it keeps the other percussions tied together with the sound. Jing is usually hit on the first beat of the rhythmic cycle but it can be improvised and further on played as a solo instrument with the other hand blocking and unblocking the resonance space behind the face (hitting spot).

Jing.jpg

Back when I was in South Korea, making a Jing paddle has always been an idea at the back of my head but would forget following other things I had to practice. After graduating, I moved back to Australia and searched for music that I can integrate with Korean traditional music. Then I came across a video on youtube and it was Simon Barker’s Five Companions. https://youtu.be/4FZghqwNNfE. It was absolutely shocking to see someone playing the Jing paddle and grooving like Korean traditional musicians but on the western drum set so naturally. After, I moved to Sydney having a feeling that I will learn new possibilities to expand musical expressions and unlock new perspective towards music. 

So far, I have been concentrating working on balancing, learning new rhythmic archetypes which are subdivisions of 7s and 5s and keeping up Korean traditional drumming which now I am focusing more on East coast shaman ritual drumming. I’ve also tried to compose and arrange music but had trouble as I’ve been facing a wall on how to develop the structure. Also, I really wanted to add on a sound that will hug the Jang-gu sound. Like how the light surrounds the light bulb.  And the answer I knew in my head was making a Jing paddle. 

And finally, I’ve put together a Jing paddle! Some parts that were impossible to find in Sydney such as the head of the stick have been covered by Simon Barkers’ old Jing paddle made by Australian drummer James Waples. It’s roughly made but still very good. My future practices will be experimenting with it and playing it with Jang-gu. 

                      

slow motion practice & Flipped Dasrum

My practice for 7s has been continuing with the septuplet exercise using Korean onomatopoeia. Also, I have been practicing Korean drumming referring to recordings from when I was learning and practicing in Korea. 

One of the things I have realized that I have forgotten to do is slow-motion practice. For this practice, I will slow down the audio speed to x0.5 on whatever I want to practice and listen to it. Then I will try imitating the slow sound myself. So my arms will move like a slow-motion video and so will the sound that will be produced. I will do this for a while until I feel like the flow is in place. 

You would literally hit the point when you just want to turn the audio off and smash away whatever you would desire to play but if you hold that back and make it through the process, it will feel great as if you have made friend with a street cat in 3 sec. 

Also, I have been going back to my exercise called Flipped Dasrum. Dasrum is a song that is played before playing Jang-gu solo or any instrument solos in Korean traditional music. It is like a warm-up exercise.

Uploaded by ploy song on 2015-08-16.

For Jang-gu, the song is developed by adding on one ornaments after another on the high sound and continuing the double stroke (ku-gung) pace on the low sound. 

My idea was to flip the high and low sound around so both the hands can be equally trained. The continuing pattern of rhythms will be played on the high sound and the variation would be made on the low sound. 

This exercise is back to the beginning stage since I haven't practiced it for a while but I think it is also an opportunity to develop it more now that I have forgotten some of the parts. That probably wasn't comfortable enough to memorize.  

Change

It's been nearly a month training myself to get used to 7s archetype and it has been steadily progressing. The outcomes so far is that I feel much more confident to improvise in 7s and source rhythmic pattern out of it when I'm practicing. In contrast, I had experienced difficulty playing it in live set of improvisational music. I noticed myself keep going back to the rhythmic archetypes that I was familiar with. (Basically, Korean rhythmic archetypes)

Also, I have been noticing changes in my playing with Korean traditional music. I feel like I’m losing the sense of timing that Korean traditional music has. I might be too sensitive, but I definitely changed and I don't know how I feel about it. I actually have no sense if it’s just my mind messing with me with fear of moving too far away from traditional music or if it’s actually my playing. Either way, I will try to balance it up so I don’t panic about losing anything. For now, I'm planning to fit more Korean traditional music practice and balance it out with 7s archetype and micro-rhythmic practices.

For the past few days, I have been practicing the Dilla sheet which was created by drummer Simon Barker. I practiced it on my drum Jang-gu playing the 7s archetype on the high sound of the drum and the dots on the low side. 

 Fig.1 Simon Barker's septuplet exercise sheet

Fig.1 Simon Barker's septuplet exercise sheet

I started with part a) of the sheet which is just one archetype of 7s in each bar. I set my metronome on 40bpm. Starting with the high sound (which is the 7s archetype), I repeated the bar. I continued on to the next bar and so on. After completing a marathon from first archetype to the last architype. I added the low sound. It felt weird and felt like I was playing different rhythmic phrase. I wanted to still feel the 7s going in my right hand (high sound) so I took the low sound away after playing it several times. Playing the two sounds separately allowed me to feel individual (low and high) rhythmic pattern more precisely and helped me play the combination in more accurate timing.

Moving on to part b), two separate archetypes are now connected with a slur and grouped as one connecting 7s archetype. To me, it just felt like 1.2.3.4.5.6.7. Just hitting 7 notes on the high sound. But, adding the low sound created a strange feeling. Almost felt like 4/4 and flipped 4/4 (Video example 1). Flipped 4/4 appears in a rhythmic archetype called Hwimori in Korean traditional music. Unlike other Korean rhythms which are normally counted as triplets. This rhythm is played in a 4/4 groove. One of the variations that appear in this archetype is flipping it. Knowing this feeling helped me to understand and play this part of the exercise (Video example 2).

So far, I have properly practiced up to part c). C) has taken me so long to understand. I knew that it was 7s grouped in 3. I first approached it by playing the archetype on top (high sound). Then tried to add on the low pulse into it but it was so hard to get it through at once. So, I broke it down into 3 bars (which was already divided) and practiced bit by bit. It was easier practicing it this way part by part but it wasn’t satisfying when I connected the parts into one whole grouping. Something was 2% out.

Later, I explained to Simon how I couldn’t get the c) part of the exercise. He suggested that what if I practiced the exercise with ornamentations I already know and use when I’m singing Korean traditional rhythms. So, we went through it together and with this method of singing, surprisingly I started to understand and play the archetype in 5min. Incorporating Korean ornamentation to my new learning boosted my ability to absorb knowledge (Video example3).

Korean onomatopoeia includes Tta따- (High pitch) Kung쿵- (Low pitch) &Dung덩- (High & Low together).

Dilla septuplets

This week, I went back to one of my earliest practices from 2017. When I started my studies at Sydney Conservatorium, I came across a rhythmic practice called Process Dilla 2. Which was a Septuplet grouping exercise created by Drummer Simon Barker. 

The exercise is laid out in part a)~e) which goes up to 5 groupings of 7s. I'm still struggling with the exercise as it has a constant pulse continuing with it and I'm still trying to figure out how I am going to play it on my Jang-gu.

Currently, I am practicing the exercise with my drumstick as it felt more natural with up and down motion. I found it very hard to find a breathing spot, although for me it was very similar to 4/4 when playing faster. 

Practicing 7s III

2 weeks have passed since my practice has been concentrated on embodying 7s and developing a new rhythmic archetype with Korean traditional sticking ornaments. While learning the 7s, I have realized that there was only one key archetype to learn and embody. Which is 1.2.1.2.1.2.3.

By figuring out the groove of this basic archetype. It made me feel more comfortable to move in 7s and improvise without thinking as much. 

1.2.1.2.1.2.3

I will continue to practice embodying 7s. Also,  I will be exploring rhythmic cells of various lengths played within a septuplet sub-division.

Practicing 7s II

Practicing 7s for a week with the procedural method I came up with last week, didn't last long until I developed it into a game. I found playing a game more attractive to practice and it also was more convincing to come up with ideas of sticking patterns and archetypes I can develop upon. So the game is called, call and response. I called and responded to myself by clapping and singing the 7s archetype. Also, it can be played in so many forms of variation that you would naturally drift into singing an idea that suddenly appears in your head. Leaving out notes, Muting (hitting notes as many as three times in the structure of multiple rhythm archetype), Linking, keep linking, filling, micro-timing practices(stretching and compressing(?)) and so on.. 

While coming up with the archetype, I found it easier to play when they were linked in sets of two or three rather than a single set. This was because it was easier to full stop the last beat of the archetype and connect to the next cycle dropping to Hap, which is a Korean word for together. Hap is a sound of High and low together. Hap is very important in Korean traditional music as most first beats fall on hap. Connecting the archetypes together was easy adding Gung(Low sound) or Tta(high sound) on the second cycle of the structure. 

 Ex.1 Two sets of 7s archetype. Starting with Hap, connecting with gung.

Ex.1 Two sets of 7s archetype. Starting with Hap, connecting with gung.

Example 1 shows two sets of 7s archetype in a rhythmic format that is similar to Korean traditional rhythm cycle. A rhythmic archetype is called Chang-dan in Korean. A Hap gives it a big punch to start the flow. Gung on the second cycle is a medium push that connects to the next cycle. The reason why I used Gung to link this set of archetype was because it was easier for me to connect to the next rhythm pattern.

Another practice I found interesting was just playing on the piano and singing whatever on 7s. I  don't know how to play piano but I like to just put my hands wherever I feel like it and play. I practiced 7s this way when I didn't have access to my drum or space. 

Out of blue Ideas,

-  MUTE MUTE MUTE

- Linking archetypes 

- NA NI NER NO NU  108