A rhythm section by definition is the part of a pop or jazz group supplying the rhythm, generally regarded as consisting of bass and drums and sometimes piano or guitar.
In Trinidad and Tobago, a rhythm section is part of a steel pan band group supplying the rhythm or a group on its' own, generally regarded as consisting of drums, congas, bongos, various types of cowbells, sometimes steel pans as well as other unorthodox percussion styled instruments.
A few other instruments that can be found in a rhythm section are:
1. Bottle and Spoon: A glass bottle (preferably) and a spoon whether it be a dessert spoon or dinner spoon, whatever suits your fancy.
2. Iron: A piece or chunk of shaped iron, usually from a car tyre.
3. Scratcher: A relative of the guiro which is made by punching hundreds of nail holes in a sheet of aluminium. The pattern and density of nail holes can also vary, which can have an effect on the sound of the instrument.
4. Du Dup's & Djin Djins: DIY drums made from old oil drum barrels.
These instruments are then rhythmically and contrastingly played together, usually at a high or fast tempo. The music created is very rhythmic and compels people to move; to dance.
A rhythm section within a steel pan band is referred to as the engine room because it acts almost like the heartbeat of the band. The steel pan players rely heavily on the rhythm section to keep the beat and timing of the song and to carry the tune as well. On its own, a rhythm section is both compelling for both the eyes and ears.
The rhythm section is an important part of Carnival. Music can be heard blasting from these bands in a steel pan band, at parties, on the streets alongside the masqueraders and just casually within neighborhoods. Friends get together and "jam" and professional rhythm section players do the same. Once a rhythm section starts playing, that's when Trinbagonians would say "De party now start!".
After exploring different elements of Carnival, we wanted to end our Carnival theme with something special and vibrant. Something fun and exciting. Something musical and instrument based and so because of this we chose the rhythm section as our focal point for this arts & crafts project.
Using simple tools we made a few of the aforementioned instruments which make up a rhythm section and the entire project didn't take that long to be completed.
Take a look!
So, if you are looking an instrument based arts & crafts project that is both educational and cultural then all you have to do is watch our video. You will see the simple tools we used to make these instruments and how simple it is for you to make some new and exciting instruments for your classes.
De Party Now Start,
Tiva & Randa