Afro-Cuban percussion contributes essential characteristics to the richness of Latin American musical folklore, and its rhythmic systems hold a complexity and sophistication that deserve greater study among both learned and popular musical spheres.
In Conga Drums in Space and Time, author Jorge Pardo presents an exploration of the surprising ways rhythms can create three-dimensional space when properly structured, considering Afro-Cuban percussion in particular. He charts the emotional excitement felt by listeners when exposed to syncopated rhythms using a thought-provoking theory of time positions. These ideas then carry over into Pardo’s own system of hand drum notation (HDN), a simple and straightforward iconography that allows percussionists of any level to sight-read two hand patterns and play authentic Conga rhythms in a short time. Through a combination of theory and practical exercises, Pardo takes musicians on an unusual rhythmic journey of discovery.
Intriguing and challenging, this bilingual study explores the unexpected relationship between music and three-dimensional space and provides a simple and accessible system for percussion notation.