Tunji Beier : Percussionist
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Tunji Beier, Percussionist

 

 
  PROJECTS

dva
Blend of ancient percussion, hybrid winds and looping

Cave in the sky
a three-piece musical ensemble
ZYKADO
Loibner - Beier

Duo with hurdy gurdy, percussion and loop machines
PRRIM
Bass trombone, koto and percussion
Okuta Percussion
African & Indian percussion ensemble
Ross Daly & Friends
Eastern European and Middle Eastern music

> For the press <

Percussion Instruments

The mridangam

Percussion Instrument mridangamThe mridangam is a double sided drum. The body of the percussion instrument is made of one piece of wood. Hollow, the body has two opertures of different size, one, very small, that will generate high pitched sounds and another, wider, for low pitched sounds.

The walls of the percussion instrument are 2/3 centimeters thick and give it stability in the low frequencies.

The goat skin, coupled to the high pitch operture, wears a thick black disk made of flour, ferric oxid powder and starch stuck to its centre to allow the emission of harmonics.

The skin coupled to the bass operture is coated in its middle with plain flour paste to give it a perfect tune. The two skins are stretched together with leather strips. The Mridangam is the main percussion instrument of Carnatic music music with ghatam.

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The ghatam

The ghatam is percussion instrument :
an earthenware pot played in the south indian classical music.

Two main kind of ghatams exists, very thick wall and light walls. the thick wall ghatam is considered having a nicer sound than the second type, but is more difficult to play. The pots are tuned to the tonic of the musician, so a ghatam player can have up to 50 different ghatam to perfectly suit the pitch of the vocalist.

The percussionist uses the flat, the knuckles and the sides of both hands to hit the walls of the ghatam but he also uses his belly to cover the mouth of the pot, generating controlled tuning and even notes in the lower octave. The ghatam is the main percussion instrument of Carnatic music with mridangam.

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The dholak

The dholak is a double sided drum.
The body of the instrument is made of one piece of wood.

Hollow, the body has two opertures of different size, one, small, that will generate high pitched sounds and another, wider, for low pitched sounds. The walls of the instrument are 2/3 centimeters thick and give it stability in the low frequencies. The two skins are stretched together by iron clad. The dholak is the main accompaniment instrument of the Qawwali.

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The tabla

The tabla is the percussion instrument of the Khyal Indian classical music' style.

Percussion Instrument tablasThe tabla is a drum-pair in which each drum is played by one hand. The bass drum is played by the left hand, the treble by the right hand. The bass drum - the bayan - is made of copper or brass, with a large skin. The treble drum's body is made of tun (Cedrela tuna), or shisham (Dalgergia Sissoo) or khair (Iron Wood).

The goat skin in both drums wears a thick black disk, the shiai. The shiai is made of flour, ferric oxid powder and starch and it is stuck in the skin centre to allow the emission of harmonics.

The skin, tightened by camel skin braces, is tuned to the SA of the solo musician, with a PA and GA harmonic depending on the musician stroke. The bayan can be tuned and made to play notes of the raga on the spot just by application of wrist pressure.

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Kanjira

The kanjira is a small tambourine.  It is made by stretching lizard skin over a wooden frame.  The frame is about seven inches in diameter with one metal jingle mounted in it.  The kanjira is very popular in South Indian classical performances.  It is related to the daf of folk music.

KANJIRA - The Kanjira is one of the most ancient percussion instruments and is a secondary accompaniment to the mridangam. It is similar to the Western tambourine and consists of a circular wooden frame covered with lizard skin.

The Kanjira, has a unique sound because the snake-skin head can be made very loose by wetting it. Holding the Kanjira in the left hand the player strikes the skin with the right hand. The left hand fingers can exert pressure on the head to vary the pitch. The Kanjira has a wooden frame and two metal cymbals mounted on top of each other in the frame.

Although this percussion instrument only measures seven inches in diameter and two and 1/8 inches in depth the open sound of this tambourine can be very low - approximating the sound of a bass drum at its lowest and a much higher pitch when pressed.

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Armenia (Middle East) Percussion - Dhol

is a percussion instrument with roots in Indian/Pakistani province of Punjab.

Percussion InstrumentsIt is a rather bulky drum played mostly as an accompanying instrument to the traditional Punjabi dance of Bhangra. The drum consists of a wooden barrel with patches of animal hide stretched over its open ends and covering them completely. These patches can be stretched or loosened with a tightening mechanism made up of either interwoven ropes, or nuts and bolt.

Tightening or loosening this can change the characterstics of the sound of the drum. The stretched animal hide on one of the ends is thicker and produces a deep, low frequency (higher bass) sound and the other thinner one produces a higher frequency sound. The drum is played using two wooden sticks, one for each end of the drum. Of the two, the stick used to play the bass side of the drum is a bit thicker (roughly about 10 mm in diameter) and is bent in a quarter-circular arc on the end that strikes the drum.

The other playing stick is much thinner and flexible and used to play the higher frequency end of the drum. While playing, the drum is slung over the neck of the player with a strap usually made up of ropes or woven cloth. The surface of the wooden barrel is in some cases decorated with engraved or painted patterns.

Dhol was a popular musical instrument in both formal and informal dance performances for decades. Dhol players were once sought after individuals for occasions of celebration, such as weddings, in Punjab. However, since the 1980s, the introduction of electronic devices such as tape recorders that can reproduce music have led to a decline in the importance of the dhol player.

Though formal Bhangra performances still involve traditional dhol, casual revelries are mostly carried out sans-dhol. Nevertheless, dhol music still figures in the studio recordings of present day Bhangra music artists. Dhol's popularity is not confined to Punjab, and it is in fact much-loved throughout India and the United Kingdom.

In Qawwali music, the term dhol is used to describe a similar, but smaller drum that is used with the smaller tabla, as a replacement for the left hand tabla drum.

A smaller cousin of the dhol exists called dholak or dholaki.

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Gangan

Nigiran drum, smaller than Dundun; palyed under the arm.

Percussion InstrumentsIn a complete gamelan, usually a Bedug is used.  Bedug is a large barrel-shaped drum which is suspended from above in a frame.  Unlike Kendang, the heads of a Bedug are of equal size.  One of the head is struck with a beater.  Bedug has a strong sound.  So it is usually restricted to louder pieces, such as pieces associated with dance or ceremony.

Kendangs are smaller then a Bedug.  There are usually three to four Kendangs in a gamelan.  These drums are in different sizes, however, they are all of similar barrel shape.  Both heads of each drum are covered with a skin, usually from goat or buffalo.  Each drum has two different sizes of head, one is bigger then the other.  The larger head, which produces the lower sounds, is usually placed to the player's right.

Kendangs are cradled in small wooden stands.  Sometimes, the smallest drum, Kendang Ketipung is held in the lap of the drum player.  The player uses his hands to play the drums.  Usually the drums has a relatively easy part with a few strokes and uncomplicated rhythm.

The names of these drums from the largest to the smallest are: Kendang Gending,  Kendang Wayangan, Kendang Ciblon, and Kendang Ketipung.

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Bali Percussion - Kendang

Pronounced ("ken-dong"), is a conical-shaped drum stretched with goatskin on each side and played with two hands, or one hand and one stick (pongool). Gamelan is the name given to any orchestra in Bali and Java that consists of gongs, metallophones, percussion ("kendang"), flutes, strings and other instruments. There are usually two different sized kendangs in a gamelean orchestra ("gong - keyba"), and these orchestras can consist of up to forty members.

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Nigeria (Africa) Percussion - Dun Dun

Percussion InstrumentsPronounced (" doon-doon "), and sometimes referred to as a talking drum, is a wooden hourglass-shaped, two-headed drum covered with goatskin, whose twin heads are laced together by thongs of gut or leather. This instrument is cradled under one arm while the other hand strikes one side of the drum with a curved wooden stick.

By manipulating tension on these thongs, the player can alter the pitch of the tone he/she is making, thus enabling the dundun to "talk" or produce the tones that sound like words. A master drummer can maintain a regular monologue on a talking drum, saying hi to different people, cracking jokes, and telling stories.

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Nigeria (Africa) Percussion - Bata

The "bata" is originally from Nigeria and the Yoruban populations of Africa. It is also found in Afro-Cuban culture via the slave trade from Nigeria and the Congo. The bata pictured here is from northern Benin, and is conical in shape. Commonly, this drum is hour-glass in shape, carved out of a single piece of wood and covered with goatskin on each end. It is played with hands in both the Afro-Cuban and Yoruban cultures (Nigeria), however, in Nigeria and surrounding areas, it is also played with a stick or leather strap on one end.

Traditional bata music is played with a family of three drums, the "iya" (mother), the "itotole" (father) and the "onkonkolo" (child). African populations that play bata brought rhythms and drumming of their religions across the ocean, which gave way to the Santeria in Cuba, Vodou in Haiti, and Candombe in Brazil.

 

 

Listen to mp3

dva
ebenezer.mp3
soursop.mp3
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ZYKADO
Sommerregen.mp3
553333355.mp3
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Okuta Percussion
track 1.mp3
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Ross Daly & Friends
Tekez.mp3
Band-e-Amir.mp3

     
CK DESIGN Copyright by Tunji Beier