Friday, December 27, 2013

Page o' coordination: across the barline in 5/4

This is a classic situation when you start improvising in 5/4: you get a little cocky about your ability to just vibe the meter and come out OK, and in a few moments you observe that you have blasted past the downbeat several beats ago-- who can say how many?-- and you are lost, totally screwed, and destined to spend the next eight-plus measures playing very dumb stuff, trying to find beat 1 again. Anything you practice in 5 should help with that, but this POC should acquaint you with one possible landing point in the middle of the measure, and make it easier to stay oriented when you land there accidentally. Just avoiding looking stupid is a pretty low purpose, so hopefully this will turn into a musical expression thing quickly...

Treat the hihat note on beat 4 as optional, according to your taste; personally, I don't like playing two quarter notes in a row on the hihats in any jazz feel, but here I wanted the extra little coordination challenge. You should add your own accents with the left hand— really, with any jazz comping/independence exercises— don't just play all the LH notes at an even volume. And don't forget the to do the tom moves— they really multiply the value of the exercises: they make you do more repetitions, they make you concentrate more, they make your movements around the drums more automatic, and they generate some interesting melodies and cross rhythms of their own.

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