Monday, January 20, 2014

Question everything: Taiko solos

We just had a workshop with Stanford Taiko, part of which we had them doing solos with a lot of movement and very little striking.

We had six drums set up, one per person, and eventually got people moving all over the place: around the drum, facing away from the drum, moving far away from the drum, etc.  Very few notes were played even amongst the group of six.

So it got me thinking, if it's your turn to solo and all you do is it still a taiko solo?  Does it matter if there are notes played or not?  Does a player need to still address the drum?  Is a solo without notes still a taiko solo as long as there are notes played in the rest of the song?  Does having bachi while soloing automatically mean it's a taiko solo?  What about bachi but no taiko?

If it's easy to say "no notes = not a taiko solo", then what if they play only a few notes?  How many notes per solo is then a taiko solo?  It's a slippery slope!

This also touches on the question of "what is taiko".  What if a taiko player solos on a timpani?  Or a tire?  Is it a taiko solo?  Is it a solo if the other instruments are taiko but not the one they are soloing on?

There's not going to be a right or wrong answer, I just want people to think about how they define certain things that they might take for granted.  More awareness often leads to more understanding!

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