The mambo is a Cuban genre of music and dance that combines traditional Cuban music with the highly Americanized forms of swing and big band.
It's a very syncopated type of music, a style that finds its footing in rhythm as opposed to melody (though melody, of course, plays its role). Mambo is always played in 4/4 time and uses an amalgamation of American big band instruments and those found in traditional Latin styles; mambo bands will typically have a horn section in a addition to the very percussive bongos, timbales and congas.
Though mambo is a decidedly Cuban style, it's roots are far more European than Latin. The very first mambo was based heavily on English and French ballroom dancing music, and it was rarely intended for dancing. Though it certainly carried an inherent dance ability, early mambo was music for the sake of music; no dance had been assigned to it, nor did it seem like one would be.
The early mambo thrived as a piece of music alone until the 1940s when Damaso Perez Prado, a Cuban bandleader, began specializing in the form. His version of the mambo brought people to their feet and led to the famous mambo dance's creation. Prado is also credited with bringing mambo music and it's accompanying dance to the United States, though the form sustained a bit of a shift as a result of the cultural change. Prado altered the mambo to make it slightly more commercial, more ready for 1950s American consumption, and watched the form become an almost instant craze. Prado's role in composing and popularizing the form earned him the title "Mambo King."
Typical instruments used in mambo music are the conga drum, the bongo, timbales, claves, and a mixture of band instruments including the trumpet, trombone, saxaphone, bass (usually upright bass, but sometimes an electric bass) and the piano. It is this mixture of Cuban rhythmic instruments and instruments used in big band jazz that gives the mambo it's distinctive sound.
Some typical mambo songs include "Papa Loves Mambo", "I Saw Mommy Do The Mambo", "Mambo Italiano" and "They Were Doin' The Mambo".
Rhythmically it is similar to, but not identical to, other Latin-American rhythms such as the samba, tango, bossa nova, beguine, and others, but is unique enough to be instantly identifiable as a mambo.
But like most instant crazes, mambo faded out of American popularity nearly as quickly as it arrived. Though the form is still heard and danced today, it morphed into a variety of different styles, including the pachanga, a mambo-like dance that also faded quickly. Mambo recently saw a resurgence of popularity in the late 1990s with a rock and roll based mambo revival, but that too was extremely short-lived.
There is really nothing in the world like music. There have been studies to show the amazing effect that is has on the human brain, such as the link between music and spatial intelligence. The only thing that can compare with listening to music is the ability to make our own music.
Not everyone is as gifted as the rest when it comes to playing music. Not all of us have the time, or want to invest the time in learning to play a complicated instrument such as the piano. That does not mean that we don't all want to be able to play an instrument. There are easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. Here are eight:
1. Drums. If you have a pretty good sense of rhythm, drums are a fairly easy musical instrument that you can learn to play quickly. You won't be great, but you can sure have fun. There are many kinds of drums, from the congo drum to the high hat to the bass drum to the snare drum. Drums, along with the tambourine, belong to the percussion family. Which means the hitting of one body against another; the drum is also played with the hands or a person can use one to two sticks. It is just a matter of counting beats as you play, either mechanically or by feeling the beat.
2. Tambourines. This easy musical instrument is made up of a shallow hand held drum, usually made from a circular piece of wood and calf skin or plastic that is stretched across the top. You play it with your hands, stroking or shaking the jingle or rubbing, shaking or striking the drum head with your knuckles. Play what feels good.
3. Bongos. Another percussion instrument that is easy to learn to play are the bongos. Bongos are a type of drum made up of two sections, one of which is larger then the other. The drums are attached to one another. Played by placing the bongos between the knees, they produce a high pitched sound. When the bongos are placed between the knees correctly, the larger drum will be to the right. Traditionally, they are played by striking the tops with your fingers and palms. There are times when the bongos are played with sticks and brushes. It is possible to alter the sound from the bongos by placing one hand on the top of the drum and then beat it with the other hand.
4. Comb buzzer. We can look at a couple wind instruments that are also easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. One of my favorites would be the comb buzzer. This instrument is truly one anyone that can breathe can play. It is not only easy; you can make it at home. You take a pocket comb and tissue paper. Hold the tissue paper against the comb and hum through the tissue paper. This produces a buzzing sound and it tickles the lips.
5. Kazoo. If you are having fun with the comb buzzer, then try the kazoo. The kazoo is also a fun instrument that is played by humming. The kazoo adds a humming noise. People play the kazoo by closing your lips around the kazoo and singing into it. Most people that try to hum into the kazoo are not very successful. But if you sing into it, for example, repeating the word do, do, do, do in to the kazoo you get that wonderful humming sound.
6. Recorder. The next step up from the kazoo, is the recorder. It is a fun and easy to learn instrument that you can learn to play quickly. To play the recorder, you hold it outward from your lips, unlike the traditional flute that is held sideways. You then blow or breath, really, into the recorder, and the pitch or note that is played varies by the open finger holes. You can use all parts of your mouth to manipulate the sound from the recorder. In particular, use the tongue and the diaphragm to help control air flow, hence lengthening the time a note is held and how many different notes are played on a breath. Quality recorders come in many sizes and are made of wood. There are also plastic recorders, used widely in schools, and sometimes also known as a "tonette". Tin whistles and ocarinas are similar types of recorders.
7. Xylophone. Often used in the orchestra as a serious instrument, the xylophone is a like a piano keyboard that you strike with mallets. With the larger, lower-sounding bars on the left, the notes of the xylophone are laid out much like a piano keyboard. Striking the bars with hard mallets produces a bright, sharp sound. Xylophones made of wood can be very expensive, but for fun and quick learning, a small xylophone made of metal or metal and plastic is ideal, and are used in many schools.
8. Autoharp. The autoharp is a musical instrument having a series of chord bars attached to dampers which, when depressed, mute all the strings other than those that form the chord you want to play. The autoharp is not really a harp at all, but in reality is a zither.
As you can see, just because you are limited on time or possibly ability does not mean that you can not play an instrument for your own enjoyment. There are easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. Percussion instruments and wind instruments make for easy learning and quick fun. Enjoy the benefits of making music and find a new talent or at least a new hobby.
Learning how to make a drum set is easier than riding a bike. And believe me.. once you know HOW to ride that bike, you'll never get off.
Grasping the simple art of drum making is easy... it doesn't matter how much drum building experience you have or how good of a drummer you are, YOU can learn to make a drum set with barely any tools and build it practically anywhere. One of our clients that saw our Guerrilla Drum Making DVD built an entire drum kit in his apartment in Japan, another one is about 10 years old.
Here's my 5 key reasons why YOU should take the DIY drums route and learn how to make a drum set.
#1. Make a Drum Set and Save Money: Saving money is a byproduct of knowing how to make a drum set; it's like a mechanic working on his own car. Ofcorse he's gonna save money, he's not paying for labor!
And here's a little secret that people hate to hear: both custom drum builders and major drum companies use drum supplies that YOU can get your hands on. Woops... it slipped. The cats out of the bag.
In fact, you could save up to 70% of your money by getting supplies to make a drum set rather than ordering a customized drum set from a notable drum company. I've seen company price quotes as high as $5,000... and you can make a drum set exactly like it for $1700 or less. In fact, if you have $5k, you can make a drum set, and then make another drum set, and then make another drum set. Not bad... 3 drum sets for the price of 1.
#2. Don't Settle! Make A Drum Set Thats Perfect For You: Don't settle on something when you can make a drum set that fits you like a glove. Nobody sees your dream better than you do, so take control and believe that you can make a kit that lives up to your dreams.
And you have the ability to hunt down all the products you want in order to make a drum set of the highest quality. Whether your aiming to make a kit for the studio, the rehearsal room or a kit that's going to get the beating of life on tour, you can easily make a drum set to fit the drumming lifestyle you live.
#3. Make a drum set and Save a Ton of Time: How long would it take YOU to make a drum set? Great question. I've made a drum set in one day after getting the products a week after ordering them. Not bad. The first custom drum set I ordered from DW drums took about 8 months to get to me. Not Good. 240 Days for an ordered kit versus 8 days to make a drum set? I'll take the latter... thanks.
#4. Drum Making is a Blast: Most do-it-yourself projects aren't that fun. We've all helped a family member tile his own bathroom and it sucked. But make a drum set and challenge yourself... put some passion into the kit you'll be sitting behind night after night.
In my opinion, the entire process to make a drum set is a blast...from seeing your vision to bringing it to life.
#5. Make a Drum Set Once... and Have Drums For Life: Once you find out how easy it is to make a drum set, you're a drum maker for the long haul. You'll retain the methods and know-how for the rest of your life. You can always hop right in and make a drum set or custom snare drum if you have the budget.
You'll have the ability to add to your drum set whenever an extra drum needs to be used, build a snare drum for your upcoming studio recording, make a drum set for your colleagues, and more. And as I say in the title of this article, once you know how to make a drum set... You'll never look back.
Whether you are a beginning drummer or an old pro you may be thinking about replacing your old drum set. But, have you decided on a specific brand?
Since there are many different drum manufacturers on the market, choosing a new drum set can be a little challenging. Here's a little background and history on
some of the most popular drum brands on the market today...
Yamaha first manufactured drums in 1968. Early Yamaha drum equipment borrowed concepts from from Ludwig drum set models. But Yamaha soon acquired a place among the top drum manufacturers and led the industry with innovative shell construction and finish techniques.
In 1993 Yamaha came out with the Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System, known as YESS, for mounting drums. YESS hardware minimizes shell to mount contact, allowing maximum drum resonance.
Additionally, the mounting hardware is attached to the shell at its nodal points where the shell's vibrations are of the lowest amplitude. In 1995 the RC 9000 Yamaha drums were reintroduced, enhanced with the YESS.
In addition to making acoustic drum kits and hardware, Yamaha is also a major manufacturer of best selling electronic drums. Popular Yamaha electronic drums, in order of increasing cost, are the Yamaha DTXpress, Yamaha DTXpress Special, and Yamaha DTXreme.
Tama manufacture first focused on drum hardware, whose demand was increasing due to the rise of rock music, which required sturdy equipment for loud playing.
Tama led the industry with rugged double braced 36 inch tripods, and introduced the first boom cymbal stand in production. Tama also made the first multi-clamp hardware, letting drummers easily extend their drumsets.
In the late 70s Tama was further solidified as a brand name by the introduction of the Octobans. The Octobans are sets of six inch diameter tubes with tunable drum-heads that can produce an octave range pich.
Octobans were extensively used by Stewart Copeland, drummer of the Police, within his Tama Imperial Star drumset during the late 70s and early 80s.
Drum Workshop, or DW for short, is the leading new American drum company and offers a large variety of snare drum shell materials including aluminum, copper, steel, brass, brass/maple combination, a great selection of lacquered finishes, and various types of rims.
In 1980, DW patented the chain and sprocket bass drum pedal drive system, which is the industry standard today.
The first chain and sprocket model was the 5000CX, which was followed by the addition of a stabilizing footboard on the 5000T Turbo model, and an offset sprocket for quicker action on the 5000A Accelerator. During the 1980s Drum Workshop also led the industry in manufacturing of double bass pedals based on their 5000 series.
Drum Workshop followed their accomplishment in pedal making with great success in their drum manufacturing effort. Today, DW is a leading custom drum manufacturer.
The Ludwig company was established in America by two German-born brothers, the older William F. and the younger Theobald Ludwig.
Working as a vaudeville drummer in Chicago in 1908, William Ludwig became dissatisfied with the clumsy foot pedals of the day. He began designing pedals capable of fast tempos and high power, and had them made out of wood by a cabinet maker. The Ludwig & Ludwig company started out by mass producing durable metal version's of William's pedals.
Ludwig drums were selling strong throughout the 1920s, but the invention of the talking movie, which decreased demand for live percussion, and the US market crash in 1929 severely curtailed Ludwig sales. William Ludwig then sold his company in 1929 to the GC Conn Manufacturing Co. of Elkhart, Indiana, which by now also owns Leedy drums.
Ludwig continued working under GC Conn until 1937, when he became dissatisfied and left to start a new drum manufacturing operation with his son, William F. Jr. They name their new company William F. Ludwig Drum Company.
In February of 1964, Ringo Starr appeared on the Ed Sullivan show playing a Ludwig drum set that he picked out at a central London location of the Drum City store. The words "The Beatles" were centered on the bass drum, with the Ludwig logo printed above.
This exposure gave Ludwig instant recognition and it became the number one drum manufacturer in the world until Japanese manufacturers started making major headway in the early 70s.
Pearl drums, manufactured by the Pearl Instrument Company, are the most widely used drum kits today. Katsumi Yanagisawa, the founder of Pearl, started his company in 1946 in Tokyo Japan. He did not start out by making Pearl drums and drum kits, but music stands.
In 1966 Pearl introduced the first professional drum kit under the Pearl name, the Pearl President. Until then Pearl drums were sold under their distributors labels.
Pearl then became the first Japanese drum brand to penetrate the United States and UK. The boom in Japanese manufacturing increased the cost of production in Japan, and in 1973, Pearl moved a great deal of its manufacturing operations to Taiwan.
Today pearl drums are manufactured in the United States, Taiwan, and Japan, with a corporate headquarters in Chiba, Japan. Pearl drums are also among the most widely copied models among drum manufacturers.
These are just a few of the most popular drum brands on the market. There are also many others such as Gretsch, Slingerland, Sonor, and more.
Choosing a drum set is really a personal preference, and choosing one can be rather confusing. The main thing is to choose a drum set with a good reputation and one that is pleasing to your ear.
Do you realize if a new drummer has the mindset of never becoming a great drummer, he or she will never be a great drummer? Continuing to think the way you've always thought will keep you right where you are. You will never rise above the way you see yourself.
If you say you can, or if you say you cannot do something, you're absolutely correct either way. Most everything is a state of mind. Just like being able to play double bass is a state of mind, mastering all forty rudiments is also a state of mind. You have to believe you can first do these things before you ever will.
Changing your mindset is absolutely necessary, and very simple. Here are three things you can do, right now....
1. Think in a positive light
This one is obvious, but the most difficult because it has become such a habit. You may not even realize how negative you are! The best way to become more positive is to make yourself accountable to someone you trust. Tell them you want them to let you know the next time you say something negative, or when you say you cannot do something.
2. Change your associations
Remember, I just said make yourself accountable to someone you trust? Do you have someone in your life like that? If not, you definitely need some better friends.
Here's the facts.. In the next five years you will be the sum total of the people you associate with. You have to decide who you have to cut off in order to move ahead with your drumming, and your life in general.
I know that sounds harsh, but you can still love them, but from a distance. Now, find some people who can inspire you. Whether you find them in books or in Internet forums, it doesn't matter.
Just get around some positive. You have to surround yourself with winners to create positive changes in your life.
3. Repeat affirmations to yourself
Think of a list of positive things you can say to yourself everyday. For example:
~ I choose to practice my drums everyday
~ I'm getting better and better everyday
~ I'm on my way to becoming a great drummer
Be careful of saying things like:
~ I'm a master at playing double bass (when you're not)
~ I've mastered all forty rudiments (when you haven't)
~ or anything else you simply cannot believe right now!
You've got to tell yourself things your mind can grab a hold of in the moment!
You cannot change what you don't acknowledge, so think about your current level of drumming and take ownership for it. Once you've owned up to it and have admitted to yourself that no one has held you back more than yourself, you'll experience a type of freedom that will propel you on to becoming the great drummer you're capable of becoming!
How does one become a truly great drummer? Even though drummers are as diverse as anyone else, the truly great ones share some things in common. Here are six common traits that all great people who play drums have...
1. Great drummers know themselves. They understand their talents and strengths, and they know how to use them to their advantage.
2. Great drummers are open to feedback. They learn from the opinions of other who play drums. Even the opinions of less accomplished drummers.
3. Great drummers are eager to learn and improve on the drums. They have a thirst for knowledge and ask questions. As they are lifelong students of the drums who continuously reinvent themselves, they adapt to the ideas they consistently learn. They know by acquiring new information they keeps themselves improving.
4. Great drummers are curious and not afraid to take risks on the drums. They push the envelope, looking for adventure. They explore new options, not fearing mistakes. They know that success depends upon pushing forward toward improvement. They embrace errors because they believe mistakes offer a valuable learning experience.
5. Great drummers learn from criticism. They are students of the drums, and adversity builds their character. Every great drummer can point to a significant critic that affected his or her development.
6. Great drummers serve as a role model or mentor for other people who play drums. They coach others, helping them focus on improvement, teaching, mentoring and empowering them.
Do you see yourself in any of these six points? If not, there is a quick fix... The answer lies in a simple change of attitude. An attitude that says, "I am confident!"
If you noticed, the six characteristics listed above have not even a hint of arrogance in them. Now, there is huge line dividing confidence and arrogance. How to distinguish between the two can be clarified in the following points...
~ A drummer of confidence says that he or she can play something on drums and others also can, whereas a drummer of arrogance says that he alone can do it and nobody else can.
~ A drummer of confidence always tries to encourage and help others in building their confidence on the drums, where as a drummer of arrogance tries to discourage other drummers.
~ A drummer of confidence attracts other drummers who feel confident and elevated in his or her presence and gets inspiration in his or her company, whereas an arrogant drummer creates repulsion in the mind of other drummers who try to avoid him or her because of his or her boastful nature.
~ A drummer of confidence appreciates the success of other people who play drums and shares his or her happiness with them, whereas a drummer of arrogance discourages and tries to humiliate other drummers and feels jealous of their success.
~ There is joy in being around drummers of confidence because they are cheerful and can mix freely with everyone else. In the presence of arrogant drummers, even confident drummers may tend to feel a bit inferior on the drum kit.
Truly great drummers share common traits... traits such as a high degree of confidence, an openness to criticism, a willingness to teach, a great desire to expand their playing skills, and the ability to remain humble.