Musicians' Diary

A curious rhythm notation…

Last week as I was in Istanbul for a little concert, I was taught this by Richard Laniepce from Kolektif Istanbul :


This is the notation widely used in Bulgarian music to write down their complicated rhythms, he learned this from the Gaida player Siyka Katzeva. To better understand how it sounds like, you can count this way : 123-12-12-123-12-12-12-12-12-12-123-12-12, which makes of this a 29/8 rythm ! Some more examples below :


Interesting isn’t it ? Then I thought about my own not very optimal system to write some complex rhythms we may have in Breton music, and my conclusion is that my system is fully obsolete ! 😉

So I started to write our rhythms using this very efficient notation, this what it looks like for our song 1932 from our first album.


With the following structure : AABA.

The rhythm from our song “Erwanig Skolan” from our last digital album “Within the Circle“:

5-8, which is very commonly used in Balkans and Turkey. To finish off, let’s see then what I am working on for the next album :


If I get lost, the closest Bulgarian border is only 80km away :))


One Comment

Comments are closed.