Ancient Traditions –
Future Possibilities:

Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India

Book Cover

by Matthew Montfort


Cave Hand

Mill Valley: Panoramic Press, 1985. ISBN 0-937879-00-2.
Spiral Bound Book, $33.95 (SALE! Normally $46.95):

Companion Enhanced Audio CD: $27.95 (SALE! Normally $39.95):

Book/Enhanced Audio CD Set: $52.95 (SALE! Normally $69.95):

MIDI Soundfile Guide Tracks Download: 17.95 (SALE! Normally $21.95):

Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

30 Minute Online Lesson.
Custom private lesson via Skype or other service. $36:

Online Training from Ancient Traditions

World Rhythm Training: (online world music training)
Africa (West African polyrhythm exercises & MIDI files)
Bali (Balinese gamelan exercises & MIDI files)
India (North and South Indian tala exercises & MIDI files)
Fusion (fusion exercises and MIDI files from the Future Possibilities chapter)
Skype Lessons (private online lessons with the author)

World Rhythm Training Manual

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India. By Matthew Montfort. Mill Valley: Panoramic Press, 1985. ISBN 0-937879-00-2. Spiral Bound Book, $33.95 (SALE! Normally $46.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now. Companion 2 Volume Enhanced Audio CD set with MIDI Soundfiles : $27.95 (SALE! Normally $39.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now. Special Deal: Book and Enhanced Audio CD Set with MIDI Soundfiles: $52.95 (SALE! Normally $69.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities is the "world beat bible" by the leader of the popular world fusion music ensemble, Ancient Future. The book takes the student on a musical voyage through these great ancient rhythmic traditions with a series of exercises that require no instruments to perform. Interesting, imaginative and fun, these rhythm exercises will be of immense help to all musicians, useful for both home study and in the classroom.

Back CoverThe author, Matthew Montfort, holds an M.A. in World Music from Antioch University. He has drawn on his years of study with the master musicians of Africa, Bali and India to create this world rhythm training manual.

  • A must for all music students, teachers, and professional musicians
  • Not just for percussionists
  • Develops refined rhythmic skills
  • Excellent reference work
  • Enables home study of non-Western rhythms, eliminating costly trips around the globe
  • Stimulates new ideas for composers
  • Enough exercises for years of study
  • Perfect textbook for multi-cultural musicianship courses
  • Convenient spiral binding
  • Table of Contents
  • Optional set of audio tracks on CD with MIDI Tracks on CD-ROM available

Skype School

Skype online music lesson guitar pick icon carved in Bali for Matthew Montfort

Further instruction on this material is available through private Skype lessons with the author, Matthew Montfort.

The Complete Set of Sound Files of the Book Exercises in Two Formats

West African drum music, Balinese gamelan, and Indian tala are oral traditions. These sound files make it possible to add the traditional element of learning by ear to the practice of the exercises from the book. This CD set includes audio CDs for playback on CD players plus a CD-ROM of MIDI files which can be played on any Mac or PC system with a CD-ROM drive, browser, and speaker.

The 2 CD Complete Set of Audio Guide Tracks PLUS MIDI Groove Tracks

Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Audio Guide Tracks. By Matthew Montfort. Kentfield: Ancient-Future.Com AF-0001, 2005. Companion audio CDs plus CD-ROM with Ancient Rhythms – Future Grooves: MIDI Groove Tracks of the Rhythms of Africa, Bali, and India. 27.95 (SALE! Normally $39.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

After many years of work in production, this complete set of audio guide tracks plus General MIDI sound files of the exercises in the book is now available. The MIDI files can be used with a web browser for playback, or can be loaded into a MIDI sequencer for greater control. Change the tempo, listen to individual parts, or remap the sounds to different MIDI instruments. Great to play along with for study or for creating unique rhythm tracks of African, Balinese, and Indian rhythms.

MIDI Groove Tracks ONLY

Ancient Rhythms – Future Grooves: MIDI Groove Tracks of the Rhythms of Africa, Bali, and India. By Matthew Montfort. Kentfield: Ancient Future Music (1997). MIDI Soundfile CD-ROM, $21.95 (SALE! Normally $24.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now. MIDI Soundfile Download, 17.95: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

The Quotes

"A very useful contribution to musical scholarship."Lou Harrison (1917-2003), prominent composer and founder of the American gamelan movement

"You've heard Afro-Pop, sitar, gamelan and world music for years. But do you know what they are and how they work? Better yet, would you like to play those twisted cross-rhythms and melodies? In Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities, Matthew Montfort, a founding member of the world music band Ancient Future, has put together the book for people who want to dig into world music with both hands. The first section of the book covers traditional music of West Africa, Bali and India with theories and exercises. Wherever possible, Montfort has provided beat counts alongside the standard musical notation so even if you can't read music, you can still learn the rhythms.The last section of the book mixes patterns from different cultures, demonstrating the powerful music these simple exercises can generate." – Richard Kadrey, San Francisco Chronicle

"A hands-on exploration of Balinese, African, and Indian rhythms that should appeal to all musicians. One needn't play percussion instruments, or any instruments at all, for that matter, to use and benefit from the book." Drums and Drumming

"A very practical manual. There is enough material to keep interested musicians busy for years. Montfort has done a great service for western musicians interested in world music. A pleasure to work with."Option

"Very highly recommended for any instrumentalists hoping to expand their rhythmic horizons. If you've never investigated the beautiful clash of African polyrhythm, the incredible interlocking textures of Balinese music, or the complex metric structure of Indian classical music, check out Ancient Traditions – it will blow your mind and deepen your groove."Guitar Player

"If you're tired of programming your drum machine with the same old 4/4 back-beat, or you want to sharpen your rhythmic chops, this book is highly recommended."Electronic Musician

"An excellent book for use in percussion technique sessions or other classroom situations. The descriptive material is lucidly written and is aimed at a novice."Percussive Notes

"Not just a book about world music, but a guide book on how to create it. Sections include styles of Northern and Southern India, West Africa and Balinese gamelan. In the 'Future Possibilities' section, you see how to combine styles into something new, weird and beautiful."Covert Culture Sourcebook

"Offers a series of enjoyable exercises based on authentic rhythms and mnemonic found in the featured cultures. Appropriate for grade 3+ though adult expert, all can be performed using hands, voice, body or desks, cans, etc. or traditional instruments."World Music at West MUSIC