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Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music Paperback – July 31, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; Includes two DVDs edition (July 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819568716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819568717
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 10.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A street-wise beginner's guide to one of the world's great drumming traditions. Nelson communicates his enthusiasm and knowledge in a step-by-step manual that anyone-novice, student, trained musician, ethnomusicologist-can work through." (David B. Reck, author of Music of the Whole Earth)

About the Author

DAVID P. NELSON is an artist-in-residence for South Indian music in the Department of Music at Wesleyan University.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Mackenzie on November 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you have ever heard Carnatic rhythm, you recognize an intricate and profound music. (If you have not yet heard, I recommend Vidwan by Ramnad Krishnan featuring the rhythmic accompaniment of T. Ranganathan, the author's teacher). If your curiosity is piqued and you decide you want to learn in the resplendent, centuries-old oral tradition of South Indian Classical Percussion, where do you begin? Say you are fortunate enough to find a teacher, you will likely need to travel to India and devote yourself to learning the manual technique of Mrdangam, Kanjira, Ghatam, or Thavil. Don't let me discourage you: I did it, and can testify it's a very fulfilling pursuit. It also requires years of dedication. If that's what you are looking for: GO! But let me suggest you maximize your potential and master the principles David Nelson sets forth here first.

And if travel is not in your cards and you are a musician, or aspiring musician, who wants to awaken and further rhythmic sensibility, I urge you to digest this book/video. Solkattu Manual will challenge and reward you with perhaps the most complex, intricate and colorful rhythmic tradition alive. All you need here is your hands to count, your mouth to speak, and you are ready to embark on a rhythmic odyssey that will sharpen your timing; integrate pulse, cycle and phrasing; and lead you to states of sublime beauty.

Though it can be applied to any instrument, Solkattu does not require one. So with Solkattu in your repertoire, your music is portable. You'll never again get bored if you find yourself waiting somewhere in line. Your mind will be singing...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve Goldstein on October 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Solkattu Manual is the perfect textbook for anyone who wants to perfect their rhythmic abilities and agility and strengthen their inner sense of groove. In a sense, Solkattu Manual could be a beat boxers bible as Professor Nelson clearly and succinctly gives the learner/participant in a step by step manner a way to approach rhythmic education that is rarely touched upon in Western music courses. While many musicians have heard the adage - "If you can sing it, you can play it." - few practical examples of teaching this are available. With Solkattu Manual, David Nelson has helped fill in the void. By using mnemonic syllables instead of counting one starts thinking more musically and one's sense of rhythmic design and phrasing becomes more intricate and interesting. Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Scott S. Davidson on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for this book for 30 years. Everything is so clear and understandable. The book and DVD are excellent. This is the best book available on the subject. -Scott Davidson
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain W. Rodriguez on May 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Magnificent lecture for those looking for new approach to critical thoughts and analysis. Demanding, direct, think tank. A must in any personal library for those "open minded".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
David P. Nelson has done us all a huge favor. Whether you are a seasoned musician, fascinated by the intricacy and aesthetic beauty of South Indian music, a listener who seeks to learn more in order to better appreciate great artists, or a neophyte drummer who is just coming across these concepts for the first time, Solkattu Manual can offer you so much in the way of understanding and performance.

I am a percussionist performing many different styles of music with different groups. I've studied bebop and traditional jazz drumming, I study North Indian tabla and khayal music, I've played in many groups playing Afro-Cuban and Brasilian rhythms. In short, I have a strong foundation in rhythm from around the world. STILL, the rhythmic concepts of the South Indian masters seemed on a completely different level than what I had previously studied. It's very difficult to find solid information about this, let alone a text of this nature. Solkattu manual is clear, concise, and contains wonderfully simple and effective notation in 2 forms for all those visual learners.

The DVDs that came with my book initially wouldn't play in my computer, but I simply took a cloth and some windex to them and now they play perfectly!

Solkattu manual will open up your mind, give you strong new concepts with which your drumming can expand in directions you probably hadn't imagined before, and if you practice this stuff your sense of timing will become so strong. Don't forget, it's so important to keep the time with the hand gestures (kriyas) as you recite. This is crucial to the development of your rhythmic independence. As Professor Nelson states in the book, practice everything only as quickly as you can do it perfectly. Perfect practice makes perfect.
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