Friday, May 08, 2015

Half-time feel funk: the “Syncopation” section — 01

Here's a new chapter to our recent half-time feel funk series, using Progressive Steps To Syncopation, by Ted Reed. Here we're going to get into the “Syncopation” section of the book— pp. 32-44 in the old edition, the part of the book where we start seeing jazz style notation, with ties and quarter notes written on the & of the beat.

Keep in mind through all of this, we're focusing this much on half time feel because it's the best way of deriving funk-type rhythms from this book— which I like using because everyone owns it and is familiar with it. Everything we're practicing with this series is portable directly into normal playing in 4/4.

The first thing we'll do is just make an inventory of some possible orchestrations based on those pages of Reed. With the last series entries we were using the written rhythm to make a hand part, to which we added some stock bass drum parts; this time, we'll use the written rhythm to make our snare drum bass drum parts, and add a basic cymbal part to that. As in normal funk/pop/rock style, play the ride cymbal or hihat with your right hand, and the snare with your left— we won't be doing the right hand move between snare and hihat which we were doing before.

For the examples, we'll reinterpret the top part of this very familiar line from Reed— we will ignore the stems-down part written in the book. If anything is unclear, there's another set of examples in the pdf.

1. First, play the snare drum on 3, and the bass drum on everything else. When there's a rest on 3, play the closest note to 3 on the snare. You can use any cymbal part you want, but a good one to start with is quarter notes, which I've written here:

2. Play the first half of the measure on the bass drum, and the second half on the snare:

3. Then alternate between the snare and bass, starting with the bass:

4. Alternate again, but start every measure with the bass:

Now we'll divide up the parts based on short notes and long notes. Short notes are 8th notes. Long notes are everything else: quarter notes, dotted quarter notes, and tied 8th notes— those are the only values that appear in this section of Syncopation.

6. First play the short notes on the snare drum, and the long notes on the bass drum:

7. Then play the short notes on the bass drum and the long notes on the snare drum:

8. Then start each measure with the bass drum, which will determine which drum plays the long and short notes. If the first note is a short note, than the bass drum plays the short notes on that measure; if the first note is a long note, the bass plays the long notes on that measure.

Playing through the exercises, you will find plenty that sounds pretty cool, and plenty that doesn't, but don't worry about that; just play through pp. 32-44 with each of the orchestrations, and familiarize yourself with this way of reading the rhythms. There's more interesting/hipper stuff to come.

Get the pdf [PDF is fixed!]

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