Monday, July 9, 2012

Question Everything: Bachi, pt. 2

What are bachi?  Bachi are drumsticks.  Depending on your point of view, that could either be the best or the worst answer to give.

- I’ve heard different ways to think about what the bachi are:
  • Pieces of wood.
  • Instruments (like the taiko).
  • A connection between player and the drum.
  • A connection between the heavens, the player, and the drum.
  • A way to interact/communicate with the drum.
- I’ve seen taiko players do things with bachi like:
  • Put them on the floor.
  • Put them in their shoes. 
  • Toss them to another player. 
  • Flip them in the air. 
  • Twirl them in their hands/fingers. 
  • Drop them on the ground (by accident). 
  • Cradle them in their arms before bowing (to the drum). 
  • Poke other players for play. 
  • Poke other players to adjust kata. 
  • Hit their own sore muscles. 
  • Use them to assist stretching.
  • Decorate them (shiny tape, etc.) 
  • Put grip tape on them. 
  • Have people sign them.
- I’ve seen people treat them as:
  • Tools, as a means to strike the taiko. 
  • Extensions of the body, as a means to express sound and motion. 
  • Weapons, by over-hitting the taiko. 
  • Props, by not playing taiko with them but instead performing with them in other ways.
What’s the right way to use bachi?  What’s inappropriate to you?  What if someone you respect does something with bachi that you think is inappropriate?  What status do you impart to your bachi?  Are there things you do with them in your group that you wouldn't do in mixed company?  Why?  Can you tell how a performer views their bachi when they're playing?

The next time you're at practice, take notice of what your habits are with your bachi, but also try to observe what other people around you do.  You probably won't come away with any epiphanies, but more awareness means more knowledge!

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