From one small seed, three pieces of music grew. But how important was it to understand the initial rhythm before composing?
THE SEED IDEA for the three SoundJunction compositions – Emerging Dances, Moving Away and Where Will It Take You? – was a short rhythm. Understanding the seed rhythm itself makes it easier to understand better how it was used in the three pieces, and also the pieces themselves.
There are three instruments playing in the seed rhythm – the djembe drum, udu and shaker – but the most prominent is the deep-sounding djembe.
This djembe repeats a pattern of five notes. The image below puts the djembe notes into a rhythm grid.
But if you listen closely to the rhythm in the djembe, some notes are stronger than others – stressed, or accented – so the grid should really look like this:
With the accents in the picture, the rhythm breaks up into three groups.
3 + 3 + 2 would be another way of putting it. This 3 + 3 + 2 pattern is fundamental to the rhythm, and all three composers have made play with its distinctive feel.
So what about the other two instruments?
The udu is playing the same rhythm as the djembe, with the same pattern of accents.
The shaker simply grabs the last two notes in the full two-bar SoundJunction rhythm.
So the full grid, with the djembe, udu and shaker, looks like this:
Syncopation in the seed rhythm