Tactus 2003

Tactus is based on a tongue twister of Tanzania (Chim-pwa-pwa Chim-pwi-te) from the Nyimboza wadodo (songs and games) repertoire of Wagogo children in Tanzania. 

Its palindromic structure revolves around the figure 5, from which the piece develops as a «theme with variations». It shows the rhythmic, sonic and expressive possibilities that congas offer depending on how they are used: brushed, rubbed, struck, torn, struck … with hands, fingers, nails, and wooden or rubber-headed drumsticks. The palindromes as well as the mirror and the symmetry are the basis of this construction, which are reminiscent of his travels through Africa.

The six drums are tuned following the range of hexatone scales, always in ascending order from low to high. The tuning must be as warm as possible trying to achieve a natural watery, round and clear sound. Drumsticks should have one end made of wood and the other end covered with a rubber-like material.

The tempi indicated by the author are indicative and therefore flexible. Rigor in freedom expresses the author. Tactus is characterized by the compositional resource of the mirror, strongly influenced by traditional African music and polymetric presence.

Recording date I  11.05.2018
Place I Auditorio Eduardo del Pueyo I Zaragoza-Spain

Music I Tactus 2006
Autor I Polo Vallejo
Catalogue I Setup I Advanced percussion

Production I Cátedra de Percusiones CSMA
Realization I Luis Azcona Delgado
Recording Edition I Luis Azcona Delgado-Gonzalo Soler Mico
Direction I Luis Azcona Delgado

Cátedra de Percusión I Percusiones del CSMA
Percussion Chair I César Peris I Lucía Carro I Francisco Inglés

Performed by I Luis Azcona Delgado

Polo Vallejo

Ethnomusicologist, pedagogue and composer from Madrid born in 1959. Doctor of Music Sciences. Internationally recognized in the field of experimental ethnomusicology for his research carried out in Africa since 1988, among which the detailed study of the vocal polyphonies of the Wagogo of Tanzania stands out. Scientific and artistic advisor to the Carl Orff Foundation (Munich, Germany) and the National Folklore Center of Tbilisi (Georgia), he teaches specialized music courses on five continents.

Visiting professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (Finland), the Mozarteum University in Salzburg (Austria), the McGill University in Montreal (Canada) and Princeton University (USA), among others. He is also professor of Musical Pedagogy in the Master of Interpretation of the Reina Sofía School of Music (Madrid).

Currently, and since 2006, he has been conducting research in Georgia (Caucasus) on secular polyphonies. Responsible for projects that link research, creation and musical education, in 2019 he has published a CD-book «Kédougou: Bedik, Bassari and Malinké children’s repertoires of Senegal» and prepares the publication of educational materials developed during 30 years of teaching experiences throughout the world.

Presenter of educational concerts and collaborator-trainer in socio-musical projects that interrelate creation, education and research, Polo Vallejo is co-founder of the Swanu Books publishing house, with which he received the Award for Best Book Edited in 2017 («Art Books» category) , Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, for the book «It ends when I arrive» (Cuadernos de campo, Tanzania 1995-2015). He is currently preparing a DVD devoted to his work for percussion together with the Drumming Grupo de Percussâo from Oporto (Portugal).