Indian Rhythm Theory and Vocal Percussion

Presented by Josh Sherman.

This four-day workshop will offer an opportunity for intense study of Indian rhythmic theory and vocal percussion, and its application to various non-Indian instruments. Last year’s similar Starwood presentation has been revamped into a new format and will also contain brand new teachings. Each of the four days will have a special focus, and each topic will have vast amounts of applicability for any musician wishing to expand their rhythmic repertoire. The lessons are based on information personally transmitted by some of the foremost masters of the science and art of rhythm, mainly from India, and elsewhere around the world. The workshop series can be taken with no instrument using the art of vocal percussion, or using any acoustic instrument (however it is recommended that the student be reasonably comfortable with the instrument they will use for the workshop, otherwise vocal percussion is recommended). “In short, the workshop series is a condensed, systematic transmission of the best tools I have been given by some of the leading rhythm scientists, which I believe over a long period of practice can eventually result in rhythmic excellence for anyone who is interested enough to pursue it.” Day 1 will cover vocal percussion rudiments and exercises, and will include an introduction to Indian rhythms and rhythmic theory (including odd time signatures, methods of subdivision, and implied/actual polyrhythms). Students who wish to attend subsequent days are recommended (but not required) to participate on the first day. Day 2 will cover expression (art of rhythm) rather than rhythm theory (science of rhythm), or in other words, how to artistically paint the musical notes on the various rhythm matrices studied on the first day. The focus will be on how to add melody and musicality to the rhythmic structures, and on the poetic potential found within the language of percussion. Day 3 will cover methods of structured improvisation and motivic development including limited-note improvisation, internal re-arrangement of syllables, re-arrangement of emphasis, and a newly learned method of “asymmetrical pairing” that can be used to expand any composition in a nearly infinite variety of methodical and artistically interesting ways. Day 4 will cover some various simple to complex explosive Indian classical patterns such as the Tihai, Tukra, Chakradari, and Korvai, which are great for musical climaxes and big endings. Each day will also feature a focused “jam session” for exploration of the ideas learned that day.

















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