Teaching a Mind-Bogglingly Complex Rhythm System

Fremont professor moves to beat of ancient drum
By Chris De Benedetti The Argus
Posted:   09/06/2014 02:33:50 PM PDT0 Comments

Rohan Krishnamurthy, Ohlone College’s newest music professor, is an acclaimed performer who specializes in mridangam, an ancient and still-popular Indian percussion instrument.

His fascination with mridangam (mree-DAHNG-guhm) grew with age. The drum is usually made from a hollowed piece of wood whose two ends are covered with a goatskin. Percussionists tap both ends of the conga-like instrument with specific fingers to create several layers of sounds.

“It’s an incredibly versatile instrument where you get a drum set’s worth of sounds from one drum,” he said. “Its rhythm system is mind-bogglingly complex.”

Late last month he began teaching music theory courses at Ohlone’s Fremont campus, where he also offers a percussion ensemble class Thursday nights, giving students a chance to jam with him and classmates.

[S]aid Alex Quick, a Fremont percussionist in the ensemble class. “If I’m able play mridangam and bring it over to a regular drum set, then I can play a style that most Fremont drummers can’t, and I can make more money.”

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