My practice is on developing rhythmic language for Korean drum Jang-Gu. For now, my experiment will be concentrated on building Korean sticking language upon rhythms grouped in 7s and the methodology of the practice.
First, before jumping into the creative part of developing a rhythmic language, I decided to take time to root the rhythm (7s) into my body and mind as I have realized that it is easier for me to be creative with it when I’m not thinking of the fundamental rhythm.
I started with the pattern 184.108.40.206. Starting with hitting the low side of the drum very lightly with no tension in my arm and shoulder, I hit the first note of the 7s cycle and sang the full rhythm orally. When I got the hang of the first step, I gradually added notes to the cycle. Most of the time the notes were added in a sequence. Also, whether to hit high or low note was done totally randomly. But, quickly changed to hitting the long note with the low and short note with high sound.
In the example, the notation of the low side of the drum has the stem down and the high side stem up. Also in this process, I found that hitting the last note was easier to connect to the next cycle as it gave me a visible note that I can take a breath up and connect to the next with breath down.
I continued this practice with three different archetypes of 7. Which were 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124. Similar to hot sauce rating from Nando’s, I rated the cycles easy, medium and hard and practiced from the easiest rhythm to the hardest.
This practice alone roughly took me around 2 hours to get through and this will be my daily exercise before starting to apply the Korean traditional ornamentations and sticking to it. The purpose of this exercise was to gain a better understanding of 7s and make space for free improvisation using my knowledge of Korean traditional ornaments. In few weeks, I am hoping to reduce time on this exercise and move on to the next step.
OUT OF THE BLUE IDEAS:
Sequences – I found practicing and developing 7s in a sequence of 2 or 3 archetypes more interesting instead of a single archetype. It gave me more space and freedom to improvise.
Reversing a language is fun. It becomes totally another new language.