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Arts and culture

Grade 7

Creating, interpreting and performing

Module 16

Combining various drum techniques and percussion patterns


Activity 1:

To be able to combine various drum techniques and percussion patterns

[lo 1.6]

  • Sounds complicated? To understand this assignment it will be sub-divided:
  1. Drum techniques
  2. Rhythmic patterns (body percussion and drum)

3. Rhythmical phrases and sentences


In Grade 6 you came into contact with a few drum techniques for the jembe (pronounced djêm-bê) - we are going to revise these and add more. .


  • Experiment with the holding of the drum: sitting or standing; between the legs (preferably), below the arm, etc. The one side of the drum must be lifted at the bottom, so as not to muffle the sound. The most comfortable position is to be seated when playing the drum.
  • Different sounds can be obtained by hitting the skin of the drum in different ways. Experiment with different strokes and sounds.
  • Note that the wrist joints are used, and not the whole arm!
  • Write down the result of your experiments by answering the following questions:
  • Which parts of the hand can you use for hitting the skin of the drum?
  • Compare the sound obtained when the hand is rounded and when it is flat.
  • Where on the drum do you obtain the highest sound?
  • Where on the drum do you obtain the lowest sound?

e) Describe the sound if the hand bounces back immediately.

Which term is used for this?

  • Describe the sound when the hand remains on the skin. Which term is used for this?
  • The faster the hand hits the skin of the drum the louder/softer the sound will be.
  • Which hand will generate the sharpest and the loudest sound?
  • Do you think drummers limit themselves to the skin of the drum?

Three H and techniques

  • The three techniques we'll be discussing are applicable especially on the jembe, but can also be used on other hand drums (e.g. doumbek, conga).
  • In West Africa (where hand drums like the Jembe originated) the different regions use different terminology and pronunciations for the different strokes. The terms bass, tone and slap are used internationally and will also be used by us.
  • The educator will explain and demonstrate these three hand techniques to you. You probably discovered them for yourself when you experimented with sound and strokes.

Practise the three techniques and complete the following based on these techniques:


Description of stroke on the drum:



Description of stroke on the drum:



Description of stroke on the drum:


As we all differ physically you must decide for yourself when the stroke sounds and feels good. You must ask yourself why a specific stroke sounds better and what did you do to obtain a better sound.

  • Can you find other websites? Write down and share with the rest of the class.


Rhythmic patterns: body percussion

The educator is going to clap certain patterns, which you must imitate.

Note how the pattern changes when silences are added!

Below is a graphic presentation of some of the patterns:

1 2 3 4
1 X X X X 2 X 3 X X 4 X X 5 X X X 6 X X X 7 X X

Extended patterns:

BEATS in quadruple time (four)
1 en 2 en 3 en 4 en
1 X X X X 2 X X X X X X X X 3 X X X X X 4 X X X X X 5 X X X X X 6 7

Rhythmic patterns : drum

To perform these patterns on the drum requires skill.

  • Decide beforehand which techniques you intend using.
  • PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE!Below are two examples:Key:


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 1
CREATING, INTERPRETING AND PRESENTING The learner will be able to create, interpret and present work in each of the art forms.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
1.6 forms rhythmic sentences combining and mixing different drumming techniques and percussion patterns;
1.7 improvises and creates music phrases using concepts such as mood, form and contrast;
1.8 reads and sings or plays the scales and simple melodies in G-Major;
1.9 composes music, songs or jingles about human rights issues or to accompany a performance or presentation about human rights.

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Source:  OpenStax, Arts and culture grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 10, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11027/1.1
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