Photo by Scott Pickering

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tambourine Shuffle

When playing a shuffle or swing feel, hold the tambourine shell parallel to the floor with your palm facing up. The motion of the tambourine will be up and down rather than side to side. Play the strong subdivisions with a DOWN motion and the weaker subdivisions with the UP motion. You will notice how easily the shuffle happens due to this position (and good ole gravity). The tambourine shell strikes the fingers of the free hand for a accent on the DOWN motion and the heel area for UP accents.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get The Metal Moving

Use a relatively thin cymbal for suspended cymbal parts. Some cymbals are marked "suspended" and specifically designed for easy response.

Although it is sometimes necessary in a quick transition, try to avoid using a timpani mallet on the cymbal. I prefer yarn wrapped marimba mallets for general suspended cymbal playing.

Both rolls and single strikes should be played with the mallets at 3:00 and 9:00 (see photo) for balanced vibrations and quick response.

Priming a cymbal (a gentle inaudible tap with a finger) gets the instrument vibrating for an easier response.

Having an array of implements (sticks, mallets, brushes, dowel rods, triangle beaters. coins) expands the timbral capabilities of the suspended cymbal.