Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gary Chaffee linear patterns

In the coming days we'll be doing a little extension of a thing found in vol. 3 of Gary Chaffee's Patterns series— an appendix, really— and since that's not an everyday title like Reed or Stone, I need to show you the core of the idea as presented in the book. Patterns is one of the major entries in the literature of drumming to come out of the 1980's. Chaffee was Vinnie Colaiuta's teacher for a time, and seems to have had a big influence on his playing; the books seem very Vinnie, handling a lot of heavy Zappa-esque rhythm. I've been working with them off and on since the later 80's, with periods of years when I'm not able to do much of anything with them.

We'll be working with the linear patterns, found on pp. 40-53; they are three to eight notes long, played with the hands on the drums, and ending in one or two bass drum notes:

The sticking and orchestration on the drums is indeterminate; usually I play them alternating, starting with the right hand, and improvise moving them around the drums. The book presents combinations of these patterns in 16th note and 8th note triplet rhythms in 4/4— for my own practice I've written out the combinations in 3/4 and 5/4, which is what I'll be posting this week.

There's much further exploration of this in the book than I will be doing here, and you will of course want to get these together in 4/4 as well, so it's highly recommended that you buy the book— it really belongs in every serious drummer's library.

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