Djembe players use three fundamental sounds to achieve a range of different rhythms and feelings – bass, tone and slap with low, medium and high pitches. When you hit the drum with different parts of your hands, you get different sounds. Rally Mates provides complete guidance to use and play djembes. Here’s our quick overview to get you started.
Step 1: Set Up
Sit in your chair and hold the djembe between your legs, which are tilted behind them and under your chair. Your hands should be flat and stretched parallel to the floor, and your thumbs should be tilted slightly towards the ceiling so that they stand out from the rest of your hand.
Step 2: Making a Bass Sound
Bass is played by striking the center of the drum with your open hand. You want your whole hand to bounce against your skin to achieve that deep, low pitch. If you let your hand bounce off the drum head, sounds may resonate. Start by practicing this bass a few times – that’s the heart of it.
Step 3. Making a Tone Sound
Tone and slap sounds are generated by hitting the drum closer to its edge, where there is more tension in the head than in the middle. This area basically determines the pitch of the striking of your fingers.
For a tone, most of the finger area and the edge of the palm touch the drum. Move your hands towards you until your ankles are just away from the edge of the drum. Keep your fingers themselves over the drum head. Hit the eardrum flat with all of your fingers at the same time.
Step 4: Making a Slap Sound
The slap sounds are played as a tone. Instead of playing with a flat hand, put your hand on the edge of the drum and bend your fingers slightly. Your hands will rebound immediately after a hit, this is the other difference so that the skin contact time is as short as possible. Slap tones tend to produce a “crackle” and a bright sound but you will observe a little resonance as well. You have to bounce off your hands to the drum head which results in the fingertip pads flick quite sharply on and off the surface with a slap. A hollow sound will be produced by the pocket of space under the palm.
RallyMate can help you to learn and play djembe in a quite easier way.