In How to Play Djembe Lesson 4, we look at the tone note.
The tone is played on the edge of the drum with only the fingers. Line up your hand on the edge of the drum, with your knuckles just outside the rim of the drum. Keep your hand flat and fingers closed.
Keeping your wrists and elbows flexible, raise your hand around 6 inches and strike the edge of the drum with your fingers. Let your hand bounce back to its initial position. Repeat with the other hand.
On the charts, a tone note is represented by a black ring, like this:
The words used are either ‘go’ (pronounced like the start of ‘Gordon’) or ‘do’ (like the start of ‘door’) depending on which hand it is played with.
‘Go’ is played with the 1st hand, ‘do’ is played with the 2nd hand. See below.
Tone Note Exercises
Count slowly and evenly from 1 to 4 and play a tone with one hand on count 1 only. Rest for counts 2, 3 and 4 (don’t play anything) and then go back to the beginning, making sure to keep even time between counts 4 and 1 (It’s as if you’re going on to 5).
Play a tone with one hand on count 1, rest on count 2, a tone with the other hand on count 3 and then rest on count 4.
Now alternate between each hand on each count.
Play 2 tones with one hand and 2 with the other.
Play 3 tones with one hand and 1 with the other.
Same as above, but with opposite hands.
Play one tone with one hand, rest for one, then three tones on successive beats with alternating hands, starting with the black hand.
Great stuff! Now move on to How to Play Djembe – Lesson 5 – The Slap