Today I wrote “Bongos and Congas” a study, you guessed it, for Bongos and Congas. I wrote this study in 7/4 because I wanted to push beyond my comfort zone. I went with the ethic that if I have a longer bar I can have much longer and more complex phrasing. The only other piece I know in 7/4 is John Miles’ “Music” but I guess that says more about my lack of awareness of most other experimental/contemporary music.
As the study begins the congas accompany the bongos. They are only used to highlight the pitch changes in the bongo line. However, I then turned this around on the 5th beat of bar 2. This is where the conga then repeats the phrase highlighted in the bongo line written in beat 4 of bar 2 note for note. As the congas reach the end of the phrase I reduce the rhythm in the 4th beat of bar 3 as the congas return to accompany the bongos.
As we get to beat 7 of bar 3, the conga has returned to lead the study. This is where the original rhythm is inverted and then slightly altered as I introduce more semiquavers in beats 1 and 2 of bar 4. The bongos then accompany the congas with the same inverted version of the original rhythm, in beats 4-7 of bar 3.
In bar 5, I further develop the original rhythm by incorporating the further use of semi-quaver triplets (as seen in beats 2 and 3 of bar 5.) The conga then repeats the new rhythmic phrase in beat 3 of bar 5. Both lines then conclude the phrase with the same cadence in both bars 5 and 6.
When we get to bar 6 beat 2 we are back to the original rhythm, played by the conga. Once we get to beat 3, the bongos carry on playing the further developed inversion of the original rhythm. In bar 8 the further developed rhythm on the bongo line has finished by beat 2. It waits for the conga to finish its rhythm before they both conclude the study in unison.