Brief History of ChoomBoonk

Borrowing an idea from India, the author of ChoomBoonk invented a language (ChoomBoonk) which provides a phonetic association for each of the 15 possible combinations of four limbs.  Through this verbal notation system, four completely independent but simultaneous rhythm parts can be expressed as a single line of spoken words

This is not really a new idea.  First of all, other cultures, notably those of India and Africa have been using phonetic notation for centuries, and perhaps it is no coincidence that their musicians usually are able to handle extremely complicated rhythms.  Actually, we are able to handle extremely complicated rhythms in our speech patterns, but we are so accustomed to the sound of speech we are unaware of how exotic our everyday speech music is.  Also in our own culture, we use the solfege system (do-re-mi) as a dependable means of teaching the tempered scale.

An accomplished pianist or organist has been trained to be equally expert in reading both horizontally and vertically.  Keyboard artists learn to read a number of separate melody lines at the same time (horizontally) or to read music as a series of chords and passing-tones (vertically).  Such musicians know that between horizontal and vertical reading, the study of one greatly aids the study of the other.  So it is that ChoomBoonk is a vertical approach to horizontal problems.  This is not a contradiction.  We may see three or four rhythmic parts represented horizontally on conventionally notated music, however vertical relationships are there as well as coordination problems caused by these overlooked vertical relationships.  ChoomBoonk can be effective for someone learning to play several rhythms at the same time because it aims to prevent the frustrations which often result from failing to recognize and master vertical coordination problems.

Some time ago, the author was impressed by how efficiently beginning tabla students in their very first few weeks of study learn to play complex rhythmic relationships between their two hands and combinations of fingers.  It appears that they are able to do so by being more or less unaware of how complex the horizontal counterplay is between the rhythms of their two hands.  In other words, they play horizontally sounding music by thinking of it as a series of vertical problems.  The tabla player can achieve about a dozen different sounds by utilizing that many different combinations of hand and finger coordinations.  There is a spoken syllable to represent each one.  These syllables are strung together to form words and sentences of a mysterious "meaningless" language which communicates nearly all of the data needed for another tabla player to perform the same composition.  Furthermore, the "nonsense" words, phrases and sentences are quite catchy, making it relatively easy to memorize a small piece with 60 to 80 "notes" by thinking of it as a little poem having about 16 bouncy words.

How Does ChoomBoonk Work?
Why This New System?
Does It Replace Other Instruction Books or Standard Notation?
Who Can Use ChoomBoonk?
Is ChoomBoonk Indian?
What Is ChoomBoonk?
What books are available?