What are you doing?
And what is "rhythmatism"?
I was once asked by a friend, are you a percussionist? My immediate answer was, "No, I am a rhythmatist." I had never heard the word before. But I thought it was important to clarify to my friend that just playing drums was not my end goal. Though I have studied taiko, tabla, sabar and djembe, my passion and intellectual pursuit is rhythm itself. This has led me to collect rhythms, compose rhythms and to study the effect of rhythm on the mind.
My passion has led me around the world in a chase for the most mystifying percussive patterns. My mother recounts stories of her deliberate musical indoctrination of me in-uetero and later in the bassonette. She would barrage me with Bach in an attempt to befuddle and bemuse my infantile neurons and make me hardwired for music in my later life.

This website was born from the inspiration of a chance occurrence. While working for an internet company in Tokyo, one of my colleagues came up and handed me a Japanese scroll with the Chinese characters "Koshu" written on them. Koshu (drum-hand) is a word referring to the drummer who plays the tension drum tsutsumi in the classical Noh theater of Japan. It essentially means "drummer." In a blink I realized an irony. I had traveled the world, collected over a hundred drums and days-worth of recordings of drummers from around the world, and yet I had made no outward product of my efforts to share my studies and my booty with the rest of the world. I investigated the possibility of establishing a drum cafe where I could share my drums and my passion for rhythm. Then I realized that the internet was the best medium for sharing information with people around the world. I created rhythmuseum.com as a virtual museum, hosted by Yahoo! Web Hosting, to bring together those who are enthusiastic about types of percussion that many tend to overlook. There is plenty of information on the web about western style drumming. But the traditional folk drumming styles of the world are often little researched and seldom published on the web.

Rhythmatism means "the study of rhythm." I have heard "rhythmatist" used to describe a person who uses objects other than drums to make percussive sound (ie, the body). Stewart Copeland of The Police titled his record of African drumming samples "The Rhythmatist." And I have also read it used in a derogatory fashion to describe music that focuses excessively on rhythm (what a loss!) at the expense of other musical elements.

In the center of this site I feature my own theories on rhythm, research on the topic of rhythm, articles I have written about rhythm, and the latest in my quest for a rhythm-comprehending computer. Around the periphery of my site I have links that introduce specific drumming styles from around the globe with pictures I have taken of performances or the drums themselves. If you are interested in perusing my drumstore, you may see my collection of drums from around the world, all of which I am willing to sell because I plan to return to these places quite often.

Thank you for your patronage and please feel free to write me with any questions or comments.

Email Christopher

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