“Ta- Ta- Ta- Ta- Ta- TA- TA- TA- TA- TAAA- TAAA- TAAA- TAAA- TAAA-“
Those were the rhythms that echoed throughout the Recital Hall at the recent drums workshop with Mr. Chanutr Techatana-nan (Hong), drummer of the Teriver Cheung Trio who were at UCSI University during their 3-day residency.
In this particular exotic drum workshop, Mr. Hong worked with us on various complex rhythm exercises to improve our rhythms. This is because, as he mentioned, rhythms are important not to just drummers, but also the instrument players.
Throughout the workshop, he focused on complicated rhythms that we don’t really use much in common tunes, like 2 beats against 3, and 4 against 3. But, if you think that was easy, utilizing this polyrhythm in a 4/4 timing proved to be quite confusing for many of the student participants. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, he started to swing within the polyrhythm itself, while still going on in a quadruple time. As expected from the Best Drummer in the Open League Category, all these complex actions came easy for him…but not after countless hours of practice!
After that, we worked on 6 beats against 4, which was simple at first, it wasn’t a breather for us at all when he started to work on alternations between 4 beats against 3, and 6 beats against 4 in 4/4 time signature. Even though I am usually confident of my own rhythms, doing this rhythm felt like I was taking advance aural courses!
Aside from that, he also demonstrated how he played the drums with varying rhythmic patterns on the ride cymbal. However, I think the most important lesson here (aside from the polyrhythms), and a lot people could benefit from, was:
“Listen, and not to overplay.”
While it is important to help them to build their solos, but one should not overpower and gain attention from the crowds by displaying wild techniques that one has. I find this really important because based on personal observation, I have heard a lot of players (not only drummers) that always seemed to play a lot of technical stuffs, or too loud, and overshadow other people’s playing. Mr. Hong’s advice had certainly struck reminder to all musicians present at the workshop.
As a musician, I believe that the polyrhythms benefits not only the drummers, but also to other instrumentalists to incorporate them in their solos. It’s very beneficial for composers and arrangers as well if they were to try something new and exotic. It was a great evening to have learned so much from this awesome and experienced drummer.
This article was written by Yenni Chiang, 3rd year student of the Bachelor in Contemporary Music program.