What is it? It is a rhythm solfeggio system called Konokkol from Southern India - Carnatic in origin - used by both musicians and dancers. It is also, by far, the most effective way to learn and organise rhythm. And it's a delight to use.

What is it used for? It is used for learning and internalising rhythmic motifs before we play them on our instrument. This means that we practice the heck out of them and perform them as syllables. Then, when the rhythm is completely in our system, we apply it to our instrument. To hear clearly is to play clearly.

Why do we need it? The question of timing in music is critical. It is one of the prime factors that separate good music from exceptional music. The Konokkol system lets us find and stabilise our sense of pulse. The result is a strong and relaxed relation to the music we play - any kind, any genre. As a result, the music will - quite simply - swing. Also, since you will hear with clarity, it will dramatically improve your articulation. For us guitarists this means that we can adress, say, picking technique issues with a "toolbox" that will help us to tackle - and ultimately, when applied with passion - to solve them. So, without actually being a mechanical system, it will clarify your technique.

This application is about applied Konokkol, not about "getting into Carnatic music". The aim is for the student to apply it to his or her music.

Syllable Basics

The Konokkol system is basically very simple though the application can be intricate at higher levels. Konokkol - as Indian Classical music in general - is an oral tradition taught by a teacher (guru) in an intensive hands-on way to the student. I have used my own way of spelling/pronounciation of the syllables but feel free to use your own once you are on track with the system.

The system consists of syllables used as units:

  • one is TA
  • two is TA-KA
  • three is TA-KI-TA
  • four is TA-KA-DI-MI
  • five is TA-DE-KI-NA-TU or 2+3: TA-KA-TA-KI-TA
  • six is 3+3, 2+4, 5+1 or whatever makes you happy
  • seven is 3+4, 4+3 or whatever makes you a better human bing (no spelling mistake).

A favorite of mine is 2+2+3: TIN-TAN-TAKITA. It makes me feel good to do it in this pattern (4x7 + 1x4 against a 4/4 beat) with a metronome or drum machine. Or inner clock.

The dedicated student will - in time - take this genial system and make it his or her own. The choices made in creating your "rhythm-compositions" should be made on artistic grounds to get real meaning.



How do you work with it?

  • Practise rhythm motif from the Indialesson Bootcamp section (see sample lesson number 9) until you own it. Use metronome or drum machine/looper of your choice
  • Practise accompanying single-strings study ("played", see sample lesson number 10). It's worth it, does wonders for lower-string picking articulation
  • Make up your own melody/riff
  • Apply rhythm motif to your melody/riff
  • Noodle - and possibly discover your next piece of Music :)
  • Share on Facebook - if you feel like it
  • Check out also the Bach triads, see sample lesson number 25
  • Here's an example how I use the Indialesson-app

The lessons - 45 in all - take the student from "India bootcamp" to the western modes, all executed with new-found control.

Download the application:

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Dumble ODS-100 played with Flaxwood Liekki Custom

Since Dumble amps seem to generate a lot of interest, I thought that I might post an audioclip of the tonal possibilities (clean+overdriven, both played with and without preamp boost) available.