Learn to Play > Lesson 13:
The Main Fast Off-beat

Striking on the 2 and the 3

The basis of the fast beats is the simple hand motion played on the dayan (small end). As you know, it consists of four simple notes "tiri ti ta" with a slight pause before the second ti. We write it like this:

tiri *Ti ta

And you know now that "*Ti" means a loud Ti with an almost pause before it.

Now, these four notes can also be numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. You say it like this, “one-two ...THREE four” with the emphasis on the THREE, and the “one-two” said close together.

To say them with numbers you have to say "1-2" really fast, then add "3 - 4" just like in the recording you just listened to.

For now, let's use the number system for this beat. It's simple that way. What we want to do is hit a soft ge on the 2 and a loud Ge on the 3, and that's the Main Fast Off-beat in a nutshell. You only hit the big end of the drum twice – on the “two” and the “THREE.” How much simpler could it be? Just like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Nothing to it.

If we were to write it out as a mrdanga mantra, it would look like this:

tidha *Duk ta

Note the *Duk means there is an almost pause before the Duk, and that the Ge of the Duk is really loud because we have written it with an uppercase "D."

The best way to practice this is by adding one ge at a time. For example, practice this:

tidha *Ti ta (putting a ge on the 2 – remember, we're not saying “tidha *Ti ta”... we're saying “one-two *THREE four.”)

When you have that down, then practice this:

tiri *Duk ta (“one-two *THREE four.” - putting a ge on the 3)

And when you have that down, then put it together, and get this:

tidha *Duk ta (“one-two *THREE four.” - Putting a soft ge on the 2 and a loud Ge on the 3)

And that, friend, is the Main Fast Off-beat. Easy as apple pie and as sweet as maple syrup.

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