pandeiro and left hand

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Postby erez » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:58 pm

I'm new to pandeiro and my left hand starting to hurt after less then a minute of "playing". I can't play more then two minutes. is it common to begginers?, is my pandeiro too heavy, although it looks a good pandeiro. what do I do wrong???
thanks for any answer including none.
Erez
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Postby OLSONGO » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:37 am

Erez,
Welcome to the world of the pandeiro, yes its common for your hand to hurt at first, but as you practice it will go away, its just nature wanting to know how dedicated you are :laugh:
I started with a 12" inch pandeiro, that baby was heavy :p
But as time went on I picked up a 10" and 8" inches and they felt like a feather.
So pay your dues, and later they will reward you.
Now go try to support a berimbau and control it on your pinky, just kidding :D Develop the pandeiro til you can relax and breathe comfortably.

Paz Olsongo
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Postby erez » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:52 am

Thanks Olsongo
I liked the phrase: "its just nature wanting to know how dedicated you are".
I'll try not dissapoint nature and me
thanks,
Erez
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby ok2go » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:40 am

Most pandeiro are made a bit too heavy for beginners. I've seen pandeiro with a small piece of wood that acts as a handle that can help holding a little. Also, after playing a heavier pandeiro, a lighter one will seem effortless. Keep practicing :)
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby Thomas Altmann » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:59 am

... continuing my post to Anita in the News section:

I find that each of those "one-handed" instruments is a killer - if you don't practice it as if it was the only instrument you ever want to play: Pandeiro, Tamborim, Cuica, Berimbao, as well as the Afro-Cuban Güiro, and especially the Dominican Güira. Most things you play on the Güira are Merengues, and they are FAST. I play Güira for one tune, and you can bring me to the hospital.

I don't believe that our body is testing our dedication. What I believe is that, if you don't find a way to RELAX from the first stroke on, you are going to injure yourself. Technique required!

I was taught by a "Pandeiro de Oro" player to really drop the left hand and then lift the forearm with your biceps to bring the instrument in playing position. The weight of the pandeiro is relatively irrelevant, if you do this. What cramps ME up is the tone control with the left middle finger. Sometimes I let my left thumb take over from the top of the drum head. If the band is playing loud enough, you wouldn't hear the difference anyway, and I omit the tone control entirely. You could never do that in a Choro band, of course. (And quite a few Choros are pretty fast, too!)

Also, what happens when my left arm gets tense, I concentrate on my left side while unconsciously transferring the same tension to the right.

There are real full-time pandeiro players among us. THEY should do the job. I don't fool around with tablas, either; there are so many percussion instruments on the earth ...

Thomas
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby JAmesS » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:48 am

You can actually dampen quite successfully WITH your left thumb instead of your middle finger. I too will go back to finger dampening when playing slow and/or really traditional choro things, but Marcos Suzano and his devotees have shown that you can pretty much do just as much dampening with the left thumb on the head and the right thumb digging into it than you can using your left middle finger tip. (And keep in mind, when you do the latter, you're supporting a large part of the drum's weight on that finger alone.)

As for general left wrist pain-- are you moving your wrist when you're playing? Some folks will tell you only to move it on the (1-!E!-and-a) second part of the beat, (and again this is a more authentic sound for slow choro playing) but you see most young players these days moving the left hand almost all the time. Doing so not only creates a lot of swing with the platinellas, it also seems to keep the wrist a lot looser and not suffering such a barrage of impacts. Check out most of the videos on pandeiro.com and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby Thomas Altmann » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:18 pm

Hi James,

thank you for your hint. Dampening the head with your left thumb - that's what I was talking about when I said "let my left thumb take over from the top of the drum head". Interesting though that I don't seem to be the only one who is doing that. I thought it was my personal secret emergency exit, so to say. But if even Marcos Suzano is recommending it ... perfect!

I never got as far as to the left hand motion, shaking sideways and so on, because of the coordination that it requires. I never went that far on the instrument; once you start with things like that, there's a whole universe opening up, which I shied away from in favor of the Cuban instruments.

Thomas
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby JAmesS » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:23 pm

Hi Thomas--

The trick is to go back and learn to move the left hand without worrying about dampening or getting different tones in the right hand for a few weeks... just 'heel-toe'ing on the rim. It DOES require a lot of coordination, but you get so much more payoff from the instrument from doing it that it's really well worth it.

Of course, it's worth it to learn to play ANY instrument right, but there are so many for us as percussionists that if we spent the time necessary to learn all of them authentically and with the hippest technique of the day we'd never do ANYTHING except learn to play new instruments and maintain on old ones. Personally I've sort of done the opposite of what you described-- relying on old training and gusto for my Cuban stuff while taking the study of Brasilian instruments a little more seriously. But now that I'm becoming more thought of as a percussionist, I'm getting recording calls for conga and shekere, so it's back to the shed!
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby Thomas Altmann » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:29 pm

James, I understand perfectly what you are talking about in your second paragraph. Actually I am making the same discovery as so many people before me: The more I am learning, the vaster becomes the field of the unknown and un-mastered matter that lies ahead. As percussion instruments have such a primary historical position for the entire humanity, it is completely impossible to learn all of them, period.

I accidentally became something like a Jack of all trades, because I love so many types and styles music, including their typical percussion instruments. So what you describe of your conga and shekere gigs sounds very familiar to me. I am just preparing for a "miscellaneous percussion" gig, with EVERYTHING set up around me, and a book of charts that resemble those of a classical concert percussionist. I actually decided this would be the last time for me to something like that. The performing (and reading) experience is nearly traumatic for me, and I'm getting too old for that.

Thomas
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby JAmesS » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:06 pm

I feel your schmerz, Thomas. I think the nice part is that you get to a point where experience has allowed one to learn to learn a new instrument faster and less clumsily... I encounter very few these days where the motion required is terribly unlike a shaker motion, a conga motion, a frame drum motion, a stick-drum motion, or a pandeiro motion. (This probably doesn't work with tablas, but little will besides sitting with them alone in a room for hours and hours every day for 4-5 years!)

It's interesting, isn't it, refining how you approach those percussive miscellany gigs. I'm almost at the point where I'm willing to admit that pandeiro, as cool and en vogue as it is, is a rather rigid instrument in many ways; hard to play simultaneously with other instruments, and stylistically kind of limited. (Because of its sound, not the ways you can play it.) For a few years now I've been bringing it to every and any gig, and it's light and easy to do that with, but it doesn't mean it's going to add anything. I guess we all have our 'pet' instruments that we like to bring along no matter what the situation, and the trick is figuring how much that's letting our musical identity come through, and how much it's just playing show-and-tell.
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby Thomas Altmann » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:19 am

Apropos limited use of the pandeiro:

I just spoke with our drummer of the gig this weekend, and he said he likes to record a pandeiro instead of a shaker on pop tunes. Anyway, the choice of sound depends on the producer in the end.

I couldn't even do that, because I'm kind of conditioned each time I pick up the pandeiro, to play everything with a Brazilian "balanco" type of swing. It's very hard to me to get it out. In pop recordings, even if it should have a Brazilian touch, producers don't want that in Germany. It sounds too odd and not commercial enough to them. Recently I ended up doing a regular tambourine track on a pop-samba tune: straight sixteenths.

Thomas
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby JAmesS » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:30 pm

ugh... tambourine on pop-samba... that is tough.

Pandeiro-as-shaker is a cool idea-- I have used it in places and just had the engineer take all of the low end out of it. Seems to me that's the role it ends up taking on in big samba sections anyway; you don't hear much besides the jingles.

I've had to steer clear of the opposite problem-- practicing too much straight-8ths on pandeiro only to find that I have to work harder than I want to to get it to 'swing' when it's appropriate.
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Re: pandeiro and left hand

Postby Thomas Altmann » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:16 pm

I don't want to comment on Airto Moreira's pandeiro solo "act". Most probably you have seen him doing it somewhere. But do you know his school "Airto. The Spirit of Percussion", in cooperation with Rick Mattingly and Danny Gottlieb? It was published by 21st Century Music Productions in 1985, and contains pandeiro patterns for "Shuffle" (taken from a Crusaders number he had played on) and some odd meter things, beside traditional rhythms like Xote, Maxixe, and Samba, of course.

I have never practiced the material, but I thought you might be interested in it.

The book would be worth it's money just for the conceptual and spiritual outlook that Airto shares on the text pages.

Thomas
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