Further study on this subject: Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities:
Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India.
By Matthew Montfort. Ancient Future Music (1985).
ISBN 0-937879-00-2. Book/CD Set: 69.95. SALE! $52.95:
30 Minute Online Lesson.
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In West Africa, societies such as the Yoruba, the Eve, the Akan and the Ibo possess a music rich in rhythmic vitality. It is a music of multiple layers of rhythms. While European classical music has developed complex harmonies of tones, West African music has developed a complex interweaving of contrasting rhythmic patterns. The African musician strives for the occurrence of at least two different rhythms at once, and it is precisely this juxtaposition of opposing rhythms that creates the vital spark of African music.
The book Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities, by Matthew Montfort, contains exercises that teach these rhythms. Some of these exercises are presented here.
African Rhythm Exercises
Two Against Three
How to Play Two Against Three includes complete instructions, notation, and a MIDI file. A beginning level example from Chapter 1, Exercise III A, pages 18-20.
Eve Bell Pattern
Eve Bell Pattern with Clap includes complete instructions, notation, and a MIDI file. An intermediate level example from Chapter 1, Exercise V B-2, page 33. This rhythm was used as the basis for the fast section of the title track from the Ancient Future album Quiet Fire.
This is an advanced level example of the rhythms of takada, a dance and drumming club developed by the women the Eve people of the island town of Anyako off the coast of Southeastern Ghana. From Chapter 1, Exercise VII B, page 39.
GM Standard MIDI files of West African rhythm exercises from the book are presented here, arranged for General MIDI instruments such as conga and bongo. Use these to practice, or as rhythm tracks for an original composition. To set up playback on a MIDI synthesizer or sampler, see the MIDI map of the drums in the Eve orchestra.
Ancient Rhythms–Future Grooves
Ancient Rhythms–Future Grooves: Audio and MIDI Percussion Groove Tracks from the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India. Want more audio and MIDI files? Get this complete collection of groove tracks from the book Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities. For a limited time, get both the book and the enhanced audio CD set with MIDI files for only $52.95 (SALE! Normally $69.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.