Monday, October 14, 2013

Afro 6/8 with a backbeat

In my day we didn't have fancy drum blogs giving us near-daily pages of nicely formatted, well-thought-out drum exercises free of charge. Our teachers just scribbled something in the margin of our tattered copy of Syncopation, and we liked it! We loved it! Life was a carnival.

That's today's groove— a funk-style Afro 6/8— as presented to me by Tim Stodd, my teacher back in 1983, along with my own primitive scribbling. The right hand was to be played on the hihat, and the circled notes had bass drum with them; I was left to make my own variations, and turn it into a fully-realized thing on my own. Here's how we do things now:

Start by learning the hands part alone, observing the dynamics— the notes in parentheses are played very softly; also play the right hand part in isolation. The groove is felt in 2 or in 1— two beats per measure of 6/8, or one. Once the hands are together, the bass drum parts should come pretty quickly.

The first four lines give the normal bass drum parts associated with this style. Lines five and six give more of a sixtuplet funk feel, and the last two lines are given as coordination exercises.

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