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Djembe Notes
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Compose, play and share West African drum rhythms on your iPhone® and iPad®

All sounds used in Djembe Notes were played and recorded by Bongo Sidibe.

Simple notation from a Djembe Master

Master Drummer Mamady Keïta introduced this notation in his book “A Life for the Djembe - Traditional Rhythms of the Malinke” and used it in his iBook “Nankama”. It represents West African drum rhythms in an intuitive and easily editable form.

Include parts for djembe, kenkeni, sangban, dununba and three different bells. While editing, tap a note in a part to get the blue cursor and show the part keyboard. Use the white keys to enter notes at the cursor. Use the gray keys to perform other part changes.

editing on djembe notes
Djembe Keyboard Note Keys
Bass, or *muffled bass
Tone, or *muffled tone
Slap, or *muffled slap
Bass-slap flam
Bass-tone flam
Tone flam
Tone-slap flam
Slap flam
*A long press gets a muffled note
Bell Keyboards Note Key
Bell strike
Dunun Keyboards Note Keys
Muffled strike
Gray Keys on All Keyboards
On/off repeat brackets
On/off start note
Delete line
Insert line
On/off split note
On/off triplet
Change beam timing
Hide keyboard

Compile a rhythm library

Djembe Notes includes these 8 traditional West African drum rhythms, each with djembe, bell and dunun parts. Easily add new rhythms as you discover them, whether from teacher, book, drum circle, YouTube video or web site.

Additional rhythm sources:

“A Life for the Djembe: Traditional Rhythms of the Malinke” by Mamady Keïta

“Nankama” iBook by Mamady Keïta

“Shadowing the Lion” by Bill Mathews

The Djembefola Forum

West African Percussion Pages

Server Hosted African Rhythm Exchange

West African Drum Rhythms

Share rhythms

Rhythms can be shared via email, airdrop and other supporting apps. In the rhythm player shown here, the "three dot" button at top right displays the menu shown below. There are two file types that can be shared, Note files and PDF files.

Shared Note files use a Djembe Notes rhythm format that can be played and edited in Djembe Notes.

Shared PDF files contain rhythm notation, which can be viewed and printed from any PDF reader and in just about any operating system.