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How to Play an Open Tone Sound on Djembe

Learn how to play an open tone sound on djembe from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.


Speaker 1: Now we are going to learn how to play the tone on the Djembe drum. The tone sound is your middle pitch. Your base is low, and then your slap is high. The tone, really helps define the melody between the two, or three, or four, different Djembe parts. And the way I was taught, by Imbimba, was to put your fingers together, so you want to have your fingers together and you want to make sure that your thumb does not hit the Djembe, the thumb should stay out. And everyone's hand is different, so what I do is, I gently pull my thumb down. And then I put my hand, on the edge of the Djembe, and I make sure that my pinky knuckle is lined up with the rim of the drum. But as you see, when Bimba plays or I play, we're a little different because everyone's technique is different. And what I do is I come off the Djembe, all fingers together, same time, like that, watch again, I come off the drum. But Bimba, he's a little different, so you've got to watch it close.

Speaker 2: So, the technique, what I had, my technique is very different. This is allowed because we all play with a different technique. So, my technique, I don't have to be close or my fingers together, I just open but, watch my technique, I do my turn, watch my technique again, watch my technique, see so that's mine.

Speaker 1: Sometimes you can play with two hands. As you see, we are not playing hard, but we are moving our arms. If you don't bring your hand off the drum, you choke the sound.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: The Djembe outside, so you want the drum to resonate, so we always lift our hands off the drum. Even if you watch Bimba, he may not lift his arm as much, but notice how his fingers come off the drum.

Speaker 2: It, you don't have to be strong to play the Djembe, to make the sound, no. The technique, it is coming from you because each Djembe player it's not because you are strong, you've got a (?) no, you see happy, see my technique is very simple, simple watch, so I am going to do the tone again and I don't have to lift my arms all down, just see one beat, you see? To make the sounds coming out, see it's coming out again. So, if I use both, it still would be the same, like a left, right. You see they are the same, see, so that is my technique.

Speaker 1: And that is how you make the tone sound on the Djembe.

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