Tag: Solo

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Learning Mode vs. Playing Mode

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At times, we're too heady while playing, affecting timing, flow, spontaneity, and the general feeling of the music. What Happens? Deep thought and analysis help us gain a better understanding of djembe music. (W...

Quickly Improve Your Accompaniment

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Broadly speaking, there are two areas of djembe playing that we can always improve on so that the music just keeps getting better and better all the time: Accompaniment Solo. We discuss solo in this...

4 Tips To Round Out Your Djembe Solos

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4 Tips For Better Djembe Solos

Solo Rides

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Solo Rides are solo phrases that are like accompaniment patterns. In modern ensembles, they sometimes become "accompaniment #2," "accompaniment #3," or "accompaniment #4," but they were originally played by the so...

A Theme-Based Approach to Soloing

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The difference between a phrase-based and theme-based approach to djembe is profound. It may be one of the biggest reasons why many students will never sound like their African teachers - no matter how long or har...

Don’t Force Your Entire Repertoire

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One of the main things you can do to improve the quality of your solo is to decrease the quantity of different solo phrases. Forcing Your Repertoire Many people try to sound better by running through a larg...

Solo Meditations

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A solo meditation is a practice exercise in which you focus on one single solo theme, represented by a root solo phrase. Meditations help to develop an intimate relationship with the rhythm. They are an ...

The Soloist’s Progression: Theme-Based Soloing

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The soloists progression is a basic formula for a good solo. It's not to be followed rigidly. In fact, the whole point is to increase fluidity and let your solo progress organically. The concept of the soloist...

Signature Phrases

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A Signature Phrases is a phrase that's associated with very few rhythms (or only one rhythm), so when you hear it played, it's as if the rhythm is "saying it's own name." Many Dundun parts are signature phr...

Root Solo Phrases

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Root Phrases present a theme for variation, and set the foundation for the rest of your theme-based solo. That's why in the soloist's progression, playing a Root Phrase is the first step.  Solo Rides (accom...

How To Anchor Yourself To The Beat

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Once you understand where the beat is, then you can move on to apply proper swing to your playing. Did you know there are a couple of musical elements you can easily look to when you want to find and anchor you...

Quickly Improve Your Solo

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Broadly speaking, there are two areas of djembe playing that we can always improve on, so that the music just keeps getting better and better all the time: Accompaniment Solo. We discuss accompaniment...

Is It My Turn to Solo Yet?

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. My teacher always emphasizes the value of good accompaniment. Accompaniment is number one. If a djembe player cannot play really go...

Slicing & Building

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Working with "slicing and building" is how we refer to one of the most ancient soloing techniques in djembe music. It's done by taking a basic phrase and extending or shortening it to build and release musical ten...