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).