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Conga Notation


We will be using what has become more or less a standard "tablature" notation for hand-drums. A measure or two of the rhythmic pattern is divided into boxes where each box represents an eighth note. (Where a single "measure" is counted "one and two and three and four and"...)

Here our boxes will be two measures long or eight quarter notes. You would count these two measure phrases by counting to four twice.

Within each box a letter will be used indicating the particular "note" to be played according to the key:

B = Bass Note

O = Open Tone

M = Muff Note

S = Closed Conga Slap Note

$ = Muted Slap

L = Slap Flam

N = Tone Flam

H = "Heel" of a heel-toe-move

T = "Toe" of a heel-toe move or a "Touch" when the note is alone or starts the heel-toe move.

X = Stick on the side of the drum shell

G = Ghost Note

Some box notations make a distinction between a "touch" [T] where the fingers do not force the heel of the hand up off the drum and a "fingers" [F] which we have called "toe" where the heel of the hand is forced up. We have simply lumped these together allowing the player to determine the height of the heel in any given move.

An empty box means that the beat is not played with any note. It is what in music terminology is called a "rest".

Your strong hand is indicated by bold type in the box.

Bold can be interpreted as "R" for right hand for right-handed players. Left-handed persons interpret the bold as an "L".

Boxes without bold type are played with the weak hand. The advantage of the box notation despite its limitations is that the player is not required to read standard music notation.

Example Conga

< < T


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