Hand Drumming Block Notation


(4/4) Bombo First Bass-Touch technique as taught by Gary Greenberg, from his book Conga Drumming.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | R L R L R L R L | R L R L R L R L | 
con: | B T T B B T T B | B T T B B T T B | 

(4/4) A new exciting alternating hand touch exercise: Jeff Porter

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | R L R L R L R L | R L R L R L R L | 
con: | S T S T O O T S | T S T O T O O T | 

(4/4) Using the same alternating hand technique, this is the Okonkolo Floreo transcribed for Conga: Jeff Porter

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | R L R L R L R L | R L R L R L R L | 
con: | T T S T T O T T | T T S T T O T T | 
alt: | T T S T T O T O | T T S T T O T O | 

(4/4) Learning tresillo hocket by playing the tresillo with light touches, and the tones accented. This is the path to enlightenment with Rumba quinto!

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | L R L R L R L R | L R L R L R L R | 
con: | T O O T O O T O | T O O T O O T O | 

This is a percussion studio file, which played with Henry Kellner’s Percussion Studio, displays the how the notation below sounds. And there’s also the opposite, equally valid Tresillo hocket (shown with alternating slap & tone segments):

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | L R L R L R L R | L R L R L R L R | 
con: | T S T O O T S S | T O T S S T O O | 

(4/4) “Green Acres” Quinto Ride – Realized by Dave L, and notated by me.

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
hands: | R - L - R L - R | - - R - L - - - | 
quint: | S - O - O S - O | - - S - S - - - | 
quint: | O - S - S O - S | - - O - O - - - | 
hands: | R - L - R L - R | - R L - R L - R | 
quint: | O - O - S S - O | - S S - O O - S | 
hands: | - R L - R L - R | - - R - L - - - | 
quint: | - O O - S S - O | - - S - S - - - | 

(6/8) A left and right hand palm – touch exercise (as taught by Michael Spiro).

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
hnd: | R R L R R L | R R L R L R | 
con: | B T T B T T | B T T B T T | 
hnd: | L L R L L R | L L R L R L | 
con: | B T T B T T | B T T B T T | 

(4/4) Another palm – touch hand switching oriented exercise (brainstormed by my friend Jim).

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | R L L R L L R R | L R R L R R L L | 
con: | S B T O B T O O | S B T O B T O O | 

I made a small change, making the first tone on the “a” change to a muffled tone so you get to work technique on all of the conga sounds.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
hnd: | R L L R L L R R | L R R L R R L L | 
con: | S B T M B T O O | S B T M B T O O | 

(4/4) Standard Guaguanco Basic Havana style minus the timing filler strokes

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
quint: | - S S B - S - S | - - S - - S - S || 
conga: | - - - - - - - - | O - - O - - - - || 
tumba: | - - - - - - O - | - - - - - - O - || 

(4/4) Standard quinto ride (Los Monequitos de Matanzas as taught to my teacher) minus the timing filler strokes

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
quint: | - S - - - - - O | - - - S - - - - | 
quint: | - O - - - - - S | - - - O - - - - | 

(4/4) Tumbao for Guaguanco de Matanzas played on the Tumba
The bass-touches are with the left hand, and the bass-basses/muff-basses are the right then left, tones are with the right.

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
tumba: | B T - B B - O - | B T - M B - O - || 

This is an 8 pulse 6-8 bell practice as taught by Gary Greenberg.

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a | 5 & a 6 & a | 7 & a 8 & a | 
LH : | X - - X - - | X - - X - - | X - - X - - | X - - X - - |
RH : | X - - - X - | - - X - X - | - - X - - - | X - - - X - | 
 

(6/8) Bembe on 4 drums. (Large drum on the right – or dominant hand, quinto in middle)

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
hnd: | 2 R L R 2 L | R R L R 2 L || 
Qui: | O S - O S - | O S - O S - | 
Seg: | - - - - O O | - - - - O O | 
Tum: | - - S - - - | - - O - - - | 
SupT:| O - - - - - | - - - - - - | 

(6/8) Bembe on 4 drums. (Large drum on the left – or non-dominant hand)

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
hnd: | L - R L R R | L - R L R R || 
Qui: | - - - S - - | O - - S - - | 
Seg: | - - - - O O | - - S - O O | 
Tum: | - - O - - - | - - - - - - | 
SupT:| O - - - - - | - - - - - - | 

(6/8) 3 drum Bembe (Large drum on the left, quinto in the middle)

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
hnd: | L - R L R R | L L R L R R || 
Qui: | - - - - O O | - - S - O O | 
Seg: | - - O - - - | - - - - - - | 
Tum: | O - - B - - | B T - T - - | 

(6/8) A three drum Abakua for single player:

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
Cla: | X - X - - X | - X - X - - | 
Qui: | O M M - - T | O O - - - T | 
Seg: | - - - - - - | - - O O - - | 
Tum: | - - - - O - | - - - - O - | 

(6/8) Rumba Tonada (multiple player format) – as taught by Eric. Lead drum is the Segundo (not shown here) which plays upbeat patterns, and the high drum is downbeats, which are really 16th notes, and not 8ths.

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
Cla: | X - X - X X | - X - X - - | 
She: | X - - - - - | X - - - - - | 
Qui: | O O - - - - | O O - - - - | 
Tum: | B T S B O O | B T S B - - | 

(6/8) “New” Columbia as taught by Sandy Perez ’07

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
Cla: | X - X - X X | - X - X - X | 
Seg: | B T B B T S | B T O O T S | 
hnd: | L L R L L R | L L R R L R || 
Tum: | B S M M O S | B S T B S T | 
hnd: | L R R L R R | L R L L R L | 
Tum: | B S M M O S | B S T B O S | 
hnd: | L R R L R R | L R L L R R | 

(6/8) This is Agbe, a Guiro alternative to Bembe which I learned at the Explorations in Afro-Cuban Drum/Dance Workshop from Chris Walker – aka Flaco. This only includes the Caja (low drum) part and bell. The other three percussive parts, not shown here, are played with tuned Guiros (Chekere).
Agbe Movie

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
bell | - X X - X X | - X - X - X | 
Caj: | b t B b S t | b t b b - S | 
hnd: | L L R L R L | L L R L - R | 

This is Afrakete from Arara origin. The deity is supposed to be female like a combination of Ochun & Yemaya. Taught to me by Dave L who translated from Lazaro Ros – Asoyin.

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
cla: | X - X - X X | - X - X - X | 
bell | - X X - X X | - X - X - X | 
caj: | B O - O O - | B - - - - - | 
mid: | O - - - - - | - - O - - - | 
high | - - S B - S | B S - O - O | 

Here’s another Arara piece that comes from Lazaro Ros via Dave L. It’s called Awueji. Awueji is supposedly like the Obatala deity.

cnt: | 1 & a 2 & a | 3 & a 4 & a || 
cla: | X - X - X X | - X - X - X | 
bell | X - - - - X | X - - - - X | 
caj: | B - O - T M | M - O - T B | 
high | B T M O O - | B M T O - B | 

(4/4) Dan’s three drum mambo. Lots of room to improv. The first half measure is shown repeated in the second half, but you’d probably just use the first half and change the second.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| L R L R R L R R | L R L R R L R R | 
clav | X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - - - | 
Qui: | - S S - - - O O | - S S - - - O O | 
Seg: | O - - - - B - - | O - - - - B - - | 
Tum: | - - - O O - - - | - - - O O - - - | 

Switching the Tumbao (4/4) Three Drum Mambo brought to me by friend Scott. Good for ergonomics by switching of handing. Note, left hand bass gets left hand double tones, right hand bass gets right hand double tones.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| R R L R R L R R | L L R L L R L L | 
clav | X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - - - | 
Qui: | B T S - - B O O | B T S - - S O O | 
Seg: | - - - - - - - - | - - - O O - - - | 
Tum: | - - - O O - - - | - - - - - - - - | 

(4/4) Downbeat Mambo taught by friend Jim.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| R - R L L R - R | - R L R R L R L | 
clav | X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - - - | 
Qui: | O - S - - S - O | - S S - - S O O | 
Seg: | - - - O O - - - | - - - - - - - - | 
Tum: | - - - - - - - - | - - - O O - - - | 

Dan’s three drum tumbau-mambo-calypso invention with the low drum right in the bombo spot! (second hit of clave).
The Tumba needs to be set up on the left hand side, and the Segundo (conga) on the right, quinto in the middle. Dan has completely gone nuts with this and believes it to be the conguero’s holy grail! You should see him play it! He slips into songo, calypso, mambo, and guaguanco all in just a few measures,,, while you stand there with your jaw dropped,, asking… “how did you do that again?”
Definitely try this one!

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clav:| X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - - - || 
Hand:| L L R L - L R R | L - L R R L R R | 
Qui: | B T S - - - - - | O - S - - S O O | 
Seg: | - - - - - - O O | - - - O O - - - | 
Tum: | - - - O - S - - | - - - - - - - - | 

Two Drum Timba taught to me by Dusty, who got it from Scott. As you can see, the rhythm is written in 2-3 Son clave. Also, it’s spread out into 8th notes.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clav:| - - X - X - - - | X - - X - - X - || 
Hand:| L - L - R - L - | L - R - L - R - | 
qui: | B - S - S - B - | S - - - S - O - | 
seg: | - - - - - - - - | - - O - - - - - | 
Hand:| L - L - R - R - | 2 - L - R - R - | 
qui: | B - S - S - - - | B - S - O - O - | 
seg: | - - - - - - O - | O - - - - - - - | 

(4/4) A Caballo (means; by horse – or on horseback) as taught by Jesus Diaz. It really does sound like a horse galloping!

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clav:| X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - - - || 
Hand:| R L - L R L R L | R L L L R L R - | 
Qui: | - O - B S T O B | S T B T S T - - | 
Seg: | O - - - - - - - | - - - - - - O - | 

A Caballo demonstrated by Jesus D.

(4/4) This is a Songo variant that our friend Dan pointed out as the second double conga possibility that fits with Mozambique.

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| L L R L R L R R | L R L R L L R R | 
Hi : | B T S T O O - - | B O T S B T O O | 
Lo : | - - - - - - O O | - - - - - - - - | 

(4/4) We like it as much or more than the original part, which goes like this:

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| R - L R L - R L | - R - 2 - - R L | 
Hi : | O - S - S - O O | - O - S - - O O | 
Lo : | - - - O - - - - | - - - O - - - - | 

(4/4) Those last two tones sort of start the phrase [and a one] while the quinto player plays another two drum part [one and a] like this:

cnt: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
Hand:| R L R - R L R L | - R L R - L R L | 
Hi : | O O O - S S S S | - S S - - S - S | 
Lo : | - - - - - - - - | - - - O - - O - | 
So, that means a total of four drums are played. The segundo and the lowest go with the songa variant – non quinto player. The quinto and tumba, or next to lowest, goes with the lead player. We like to set them up in a diamond across from one another, so you can look right at the other player. You can start playing the other guy’s drums when you get going and it makes for an entertaining twist. Note: when I made the picture, I had reversed the Tumba and Super T. They should be switched

(4/4) This is Guarapachangueo with three tumba variants.

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
lobox: | t - t t - t b b | B - - - - - - - || 
conga: | - m m m - t b b | b - t o - o - s || 
tumba: | o - t o - t b b | b - t b - t b - || 
tumba: | s - t s - t b b | b - t b - t b - || 
tumba: | s - t s - t b b | b - t s - b - t || 

(4/4) NEW Guarapachangueo/Guaguanco variant taught by Sandy Perez. The Segundo cycles through two claves, hitting tones only every other clave. The handing makes this style only possible for advanced players.

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
segun: | b t t b b t t t | b t t t o t o t | 
hands: | r l r l r l r l | r l r l r l r l | 
segun: | b t t b b t t t | b t t t b t t t || 
hands: | r l r l r l r l | r l r l r l r l || 
tumba: | b t t b b t o - | b - t m b t b b ||
hands: | r r l r l l r - | l - l r l l r l || 

(4/4) 2 drum Guarapachangueo for one player, as taught by friend Eric. Note, that it is a 2 measure rhythm

count: | 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
clave: | X - - X - - - X | - - X - X - - - || 
hand : | R - L R - L R L | R - L R - R - L | 
hand : | - R L R - L R L | R - L R - R - L || 
conga: | - - t - - t b b | b - t o - o - s | 
conga: | - m m m - t b b | b - t o - o - t || 
tumba: | o - - o - - - - | - - - - - - - - | 
tumba: | - - - - - - - - | - - - - - - - - || 

(4/4) Yuka (Makuta) as taught by ET and Ife Ile, via Matanzas. Note, the Xs mean using a stick with the non-dominant hand. The Tumba is the lead drum, and can use a stick or slaps notated as Xs with much more variation possible. The bell can also be played as a regular cinquillo or tresillo pattern.

count:| 1 e & a 2 e & a | 3 e & a 4 e & a || 
bell: | X - - X - - X - | - - X - X - X - || 
cata: | R - L - R L R - | R - L - R L R - || 
hcong:| O X M X O X M X | O X M X O X M X || 
lcong:| O - X - O - X - | O - X O - O X - || 
tumb: | O - - - X - - - | X - - X - - O - ||