Monday, March 31, 2014

Todd's methods: Reed with RB and BR

Playing Latin styles, you end up using a lot of sticking combinations of RB and BR— B meaning both hands together— so here's a basic way of using Ted Reed's Syncopation to work on that. This will help not only with Latin, but with linear funk and fusion, broken jazz time, “ECM” feel, whatever. Mainly we're playing the melody line from Reed (pp. 33-44, old edition) with your right hand on the ride cymbal or hihat, and adding a left, on the snare drum, to the first or second note of any double— that's any 8th note followed by another note. 

Adding the left to the second note of the double, using the RB sticking, the first line of p. 37 would be played like this:

Going into the last measure, there are three fast notes in a row; in that case I add the snare to the end— RRB. But you could play those three note groupings as RBR if you wanted to. 

Line 8 of that same exercise: 

And line 1 of the second long syncopation exercise, page 38: 

Continued after the break: 

With the BR sticking, with the added left on the first note of the double, those same lines would be played like this: 

On the RBs, you could add a bass drum to the first note of each RB:

Since that can get a little dense, you might thin it out by putting the bass drum on the first note of any multiple strings of RBs:

On the BRs, add the bass drum to the second note of each BR: 

Thin out any dense spots by putting the bass drum only at the end of the strings of BRs: 

Since some of the lines will be a little sparse (not that that's necessarily a bad thing) you can give some continuity to the texture by adding snare or bass to any isolated long notes as you see fit. I might tend to add the snare to any 2s and 4s, possibly 3s, and add bass drum to any 1s and 3s, possibly 2s. Do whatever you want with any isolated &s, as in the second measure below:  

Play these in cut time, straight 8ths or swing. A good first state for these exercises would be to work them up to a range of half note = 60-116. It's not guaranteed that everything you play with these methods is going to sound like the hippest thing in the world— though you should certainly always try to make whatever you play sound like music, no matter how dumb the pattern is— the idea is to become very fluent with some basic constructions of modern playing, to learn to improvise with them, add variety where needed, and make music out of them.

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