Reseacher devises ‘rhythm for success’ during FIFA World Cup

May 29th, 2010 - 4:48 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 29 (IANS) A song promoting a “rhythm for success”, to inspire footballers to score more goals during next month’s 2010 FIFA World Cup, has been composed by a researcher using a new “language” for African drums.
The track, titled, “Vuma! Unity, harmony, goal!”, is based on a traditional South African rhythm and is designed to help football players and fans get into the spirit of the first World Cup to be held in the African continent.

Soccer fans worldwide will get a chance to sing along with “Vuma” as the song will be played on the terraces during the World Cup.

John Hemmingham, managing director and Leader of ‘The England Band’, said: “The Vuma song and rhythm certainly captures the spirit of the South Africa World Cup 2010.”

“The England Band will be in South Africa creating and experiencing that spirit having now added the Vuma song to our play list,” added Hemmingham.

Peter Okeno Ong’are, a music researcher at the Durham University, has developed a new notation system for drums to overcome a modern-day problem where the family tradition of teaching African drumming is being lost.

The notation method, which has been used for the first time in the composition of “Vuma”, is based upon a series of universal, easy-to-read and easy-to-write symbols.

The song is the first transposed into the notation and local schoolchildren are learning the rhythm, words and music from Peter.

Peter, a Kenyan, said: “Dancing to the Vuma rhythm can help players and fans acclimatise to the pace of life in South Africa. Let’s unite people in the universal language of rhythm!”

“The words for the song mean: ‘We are in agreement as one. We are united and together we’ll succeed.’ It’s a positive message and rhythm to inspire prolific goal scoring, and unity and harmony for all football fans and players during the World Cup.”

Hitting the right beat, on the right part of the drum, and at the right time and in the right way, are crucial elements to the accurate playing and reproduction of hand drum rhythms.

In composing the notation, Peter aimed to develop a system which would allow people across the world to learn and perform African rhythms.

For his research, funded by the Ruth First Educational Trust and St Chad’s College, Durham University, he looked at established notation systems in music and tried different teaching techniques with hand drum students, from different cultures, to see what worked best.

Having tested his ideas, he devised a symbol-based language to show drummers how to play rhythms that may call for specific hand drum techniques, including ‘the rub’ and ‘the damped slap’.

The new notation system enables drummers to record hand drum rhythms in a written format. This can be used to pass on the rhythm to other drummers (anywhere in the world) to learn and perform, without the need for a teacher to be present, said a Durham University release.

It enables people from different cultures to preserve their own unique drum patterns, and for these rhythms to be transposed, passed on and performed anywhere in the world.

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