Photo by Scott Pickering

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rhythm Triangle

Listen to “Barlow Girl” by Superchic[k]. Do you hear that rhythm triangle?
How about “Shackles” by Mary Mary? Yep, it’s there.
The sound of rhythm triangle (actual instrument or samples) gives sparkle and drive to electronica, hip-hop, smooth jazz, loops-based compositions as well as being a staple of Brazilian Baion music.
Rhythm Triangle parts are composed of various permutations of open (ringing) and closed (non-ringing) sounds.
This traditional triangolo part is transcribed from the playing of my former student, Pablo Motta from Belo Horizonte, Brazil.                                                                                       Sometimes I play rhythm triangle holding two beaters in one hand allowing one beater to strike the triangle just before the other . The slight flamming produces a subtle effect different from using a single beater. A standard triangle clip works fine with the clip resting on top of the thumb and index finger. The palm and remaining fingers are used to “squeeze” the triangle for the closed sound.



The Trigger Triangle from Rhythm Tech   ( holds the triangle securely and prevents the slight “after strike movement” that comes with the use of the standard clip. The open/close sounds are controlled easily with just the index finger.

The One Handed Triangle from Latin Percussion ( gives the player the ability to play open/close rhythms using a back and forth shaking motion…with one hand!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Percussion Tips Launch

Percussion Tips (my new service to humanity) launches this week !    Quick (140 characters or less) advice on concert, hand percussion, drum set, rudimental, musicianship, etc...
Get it on your computer or phone at: and

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bongos Anomalous

Here is an unorthodox tone production technique for the bongos. Spread your fingers slightly and tilt your hand so that the pinky strikes the bongo head first and is followed by the ring, the middle, and the index striking one after the other in rapid succession. It is a loose flop. The first three finger strikes are grace notes leading to the index finger main note. Allow the fingers to rest for a split second to mute the head. (Think of it as a brush sound.) Try playing alternating 16th notes with this technique and throw in some accents.
You’ll find a place for this sound.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Caleb Jobe Interview

A product of the award winning percussion program at Colleyville Heritage (TX) High School, Caleb Jobe brings solid playing and creative ideas to his current position as percussionist with Dove award winning artist, Kari Jobe.

I was intrigued with his choices of gear and decided that an interview would be of interest to Percussion For Worship readers.

Mark: How long have you been playing with the Kari Jobe Band?
Caleb: About four years…I’m full time except when I have school obligations (Dallas Baptist University).
Mark: I understand that you’ve played both drumset and percussion in the band.
Caleb: I’ve played a few times on drumset but mainly I play percussion.
Mark: You were telling me about your set-up. It’s rather unique. How about some details?
Caleb: It is pretty unique. There is a 22” X 18” bass drum mounted on a keyboard stand. I play it with timpani mallets. It’s miked in back with a kick drum microphone (SM 91 or similar). I use a 14” X 9” snare drum and there’s also a cajon, a few shakers, and occasionally a glockenspiel.
Mark: How did you arrive at this instrumentation?
Caleb: I used to play a more typical set-up with congas, djemebe, etc… but eventually I wanted to duplicate the loops from the recording. That led me to develop this set-up.
Mark: How’s it working?
Caleb: Most groups that are appearing at events with the KJB are not using a percussionist. So the audience is seeing and hearing a little something different and the reaction is positive.
Mark: What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Caleb: …definitely frosted flakes.